After reading Lighthousekeeping back in March, I had a feeling I’d come back to this again. Sure enough I was waiting for some things from the library and pulled my copy out — the top spine corner of the paperback is bent in from being shoved into boxes each of the ﬁve hundred times I’ve moved. This is probably one of the few books I’ve had since high school and continued to hold onto through each sifting and purging.
In any case, I have deﬁnitely moved a bit away from Winterson’s style. There’s a lot I still like about this book, certain passages with lovely language and atmosphere. But overall it feels haphazard. The recurring “I’m telling you stories. Trust me.” motif seemed forced and many times out of character for the narrating character’s point of view. I love how she writes about Venice and Napoleon, but the main characters aren’t as interesting. Even the web-footed boatman’s daughter can’t compete.
Despite the cues and markers that this story is taking place in the 1800s, it still feels very modern. It’s historical ﬁction Soﬁa Coppola style. Not necessarily a bad thing.