The Daylight Gate, By Jeanette Winterson
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and is currently judging the Aesthetica Magazine new writing prize.
Friday 15 March 2013
The Hammer series has been a hit-or-miss affair but this novella of the Pendle witch-es is a perfect fit for Winterson, with its melange of religious fervour, heresy, embattled love and outcaster women.
Winterson knows what she has taken on: "The trial of the Lancashire Witches, 1612, is the most famous of the English witch trials," she writes, before making the story, terrifyingly, her own.
What is clear amid the poverty and brutality here is that other-worldy evil is far outweighed by the harm that human beings inflict.
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