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One of the most original and extraordinary writers of her generation, Jeanette Winterson has created a modern fable about the transformative power of storytelling.
have no one to blame but himself? He had refused life. Well then, he would have to make what he could of this death. The next day he began to write it all down. He kept two journals; the first, a mild and scholarly account of a clergyman's life in Scotland. The second, a wild and torn folder of scattered pages, disordered, unnumbered, punctured where his nib had bitten the paper. He taught himself to wait until he had finished his sermon, and then he took out the leather folder and the stained
him, but she had loved him, which was quite different. She had tried to absorb his anger and his uncertainty. She had used her body as a grounding rod. She had tried to earth him. Instead, she had split him. If she had refused to see him that day, if she had not even spoken his name, if she had seen him and hidden in the crowds, if she had climbed up onto the iron gallery and watched him. If she had never bound up his finger. If she had not lit a fire in a cold room. He was like this lighthouse
Archaeological Society, and tell them about his find. But as he made this plan, he realised that he wanted to keep the seahorse. More than anything, he wanted to keep it, and so to the great surprise of his dog he let himself down the rope again, and gouged out another piece of eloquent rock. They were like the tablets of stone given to Moses in the desert. They were God's history and the world's. They were his inviolable law; the creation of the world, saved in stone. When he got home he felt
clamp of a man. Some days later, as we were eating breakfast in Railings Row - me, toast without butter, Miss Pinch, kippers and tea - Miss Pinch told me to wash and dress quickly and be ready with all my things. 'Am I going home?' 'Of course not - you have no home.' 'But I'm not staying here?' 'No. My house is not suitable for children.' You had to respect Miss Pinch - she never lied. 'Then what is going to happen to me?' 'Mr Pew has put in a proposal. He will apprentice you to
visited the poor. He loathed it; the low houses, mended furniture, women patching clothes and nets with the same needle and the same coarse twine. The houses smelled of herrings and smoke. He did not understand how any person could live in such wretchedness. He would rather have ended his life. His wife sat sympathetically listening to stories of no wood, no eggs, sore gums, dead sheep, sick children, and always she turned to him as he stood brooding out of the window, and said, 'The pastor