Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Jeanette Winterson

I just finished Jeanette Winterson's Lighthousekeeping, my plane reading to Florida (where I am until Friday at which point I fly to ABQ).

Maybe a little light on plot, per se, but I liked it very much. The Passion remains my favorite book of hers, but this one I like better than some of the intervening--Written on the Body, Art and Lies...

Here's a great passage:

Some people say the best stories have no words. They weren't brought up to Lighthousekeeping. It is true that words drop away, and that the important things are often left unsaid. The important things are learned in faces, in gestures, not in our locked tongues. The true things are too big or too small, or in any case always the wrong size to fit the template called language.

I know that. But I know something else too, because I was brought up to Lighthousekeeping. Turn down the daily noise and at first there is the relief of silence. And then, very quietly as light, meaning returns. Words are the part of silence that can be spoken.
And another:

In the morning I was woken early by the chromatic bell of the Orthodox Church.

I unlatched the shutters. The light was as intense as a love affair. I was blinded, delighted, not just because it was warm and wonderful, but because nature measures nothing. Nobody needs this much sunlight. Nobody needs droughts, volcanoes, monsoons, tornadoes either, but we get them, because our world is as extravagant as a world can be. We are the ones obsessed by measurement. The world just pours it out.
And this:

Tell me a story, Pew.

What kind of story, child?
A story with a happy ending.
There's no such thing in all the world.
As a happy ending?
As an ending.
Anyway, if you like Jeanette Winterson, you'll like it. I've now moved on to Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. We'll see. I never read Fight Club, though I liked the movie quite a lot. I just started Choke and I'm a little worried the narrative voice might be too annoying for me. I already find myself thinking if this were someone I really knew, I'd be telling him to get over himself. There's some potential though--any book that features a character who cruises for action in sexual addiction 12-step groups can't be all bad.

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