“The North is the dark place.
“It is not safe to be buried on the north side of the church and the North Door is the way of the Dead.
“The north of England is untamed. It can be subdued but it cannot be tamed. Lancashire is the wild part of the untamed.
“The Forest of Pendle used to be hunting ground, but some say that the hill is the hunter—alive in its black-and-green coat cropped like an animal pelt.”
–The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson
As a ravenous fan of Jeanette Winterson’s poetic prose, I will jump on any book of hers I find. Except with The Daylight Gate I hesitated. Did I really want to read about fictionalized witch trials? That shit was brutal. That shit was inconceivably, impossibly fucked up. Which is probably exactly why Winterson chose to write about it. What better place to explore the depths of human bullshit, the heights of its strength? Where better to slip in a little magic, and some badass women? Here, very much here.
Though The Daylight Gate isn’t as overtly poetic as many of Winterson’s other books, it is a fascinating take on English witch trials, based on a corner of history Winterson dug up for the cause. Not for the queasy, and a gem all the same.
Would you read it based on the opening?