The Daylight Gate

The Daylight Gate

Book - 2013
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Alice Nutter fights for justice when a group of Pendle women are accused of witchcraft during the reign of England's James I, when being Catholic is considered an act of treason and the Latin High Mass is comparable to the satanic Black Mass.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press, [2013]
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9780802122834
Characteristics: ix, 224 pages ; 19 cm


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Mar 16, 2016

Only Winterson could have woven together such a range of themes, from the disgusting to the sublime! So, what all do we have here? Falconry; magick; the elixir of youth; torture; rape; child abuse; ambisexuality; Shakespearean prose; religious oppression; witchery ........
And from all this dark, gothic hodge-podge she manages to end up with a piece of literature.
Definitely not for the squeamish, but otherwise well worth a short day that it takes to read it.
Some reviewers have clearly missed the point, namely that these people who were hounded by the authorities, tortured, oppressed, lynched, imprisoned and executed were NOT witches but simply poor, mostly uneducated, often severely ill people. Winterson is never "preachy", instead getting her point across about injustice, intolerance, bigotry through storytelling and skillful use of language.

birdsandbones Aug 04, 2014

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. A quick, entertaining read, which as a mother of 2 little ones, was good for me.

Jan 02, 2014

The Daylight Gate felt a little thin. Yes, it is a novella, so it's intended to be a shorter work, but it felt stretched out. The Passion, one of her earlier novellas, which this piece is in some ways reminiscent of being also supernaturally themed, felt more like a larger work bulging against its length. The Daylight Gate feels at times like the opposite, that it should do more, go further.

Winterson has the profound ability to construct beautiful, evocative sentences which she does many times in The Daylight Gate. Rather it is the motivation and character development that felt undercooked. This is particularly pertinent as it is set during witch trials where accusations and motive are key. The novella rockets forwards through a series of tableaux-like chapters. May of these are only a 2-3 pages long so there is little time for the reader to get to grips with the characters before we move on. In fact the more successful chapters are longer, where character and motivation are lead out and where we are afforded the opportunity to form an emotional connection with the protagonist, Alice Nutter.

It's a shame, as the core setting of this book is ripe with possibility: 1612, the north of England under James 1, witches, Papists, heresy... all published under the banner of Hammer Horror. What I was left with was the sense of a missed opportunity.

Dec 20, 2013

This went back right away. I was offended by the act of violence described in such detail in the first chapter, that I have to conclude the writer enjoys this kind of thing. While these things surely happened in the past, judgment is required in how we depict them in our times.

Oct 29, 2013

Hm. A hard book to review. It took me about 2 hours to read, a novella. Well written, a nicely spun story with juicy visual jargon...An historic fiction about some of the most heinous witch burning times in 1600 England, with real characters, assigned new author-took-the-libery details. It was a tenuous time indeed...when fanatical religion cast dangerous eyes on regular folks, doing regular things...only the paranoidal suspicions in most cases lead to horrific unwarranted death. The tasty part of her story is that in several cases the witches ARE witches indeed (kinda fun) and doing very some dark and gruesome things, some driven from hate, or fear, or poverty or honest to goodness despondency. I was amazed this author could do such a rich narrative in so little time, clearly a master of words. It was a good book. I guess I am less than enthusiastic because I have read so much of this type of story and history and I did not find any new eye openers, or surprising storyline to engage me deeper. For this reader, I feel like: 'been there, done that, bought the coloring book.' HOWEVER if you are a witch-burning-story-virgin, she wrote a good one indeed and I recommend it.

lascorpia Oct 28, 2013

There are witches. They have powers. They get caught, are tortured and die. Wish I had the time back that I spent reading it.

Oct 03, 2013

I am always amazed at how much story Jeanette Winterson can put into into a small book! A supernatural take on a superstitious time sees the author take on the true story of the Lancashire witches tried in 1612. Loved it.

Donna_R Oct 22, 2012

By page 16 of this book, there has been a murder, a rape, and a tongue has been bitten out! It is only a slim volume (194 pages) but is packed with action, magick and dark glamour. Absolutely compelling stuff.


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