Tuesday, 10 August 2010
What to look for in winter
As she assembled tales like these, McWilliam found the humour, the shafts of light, that must have lightened her darkest moods. Then, after an article about her physical blindness was published in The Times in 2008, she was recommended to a surgeon who had developed a treatment for blepharospasm. Within a matter of weeks, she began the painful, invasive surgery which literally pulled her eyes open for ever more. At the end of What to Look for In Winter the light is pouring in.
McWilliam, still just 55, has led a life of extraordinary richness, that for all her self-destructiveness, remains full of love. The final page of the book movingly acknowledges those people who have been closest and cared for her most. It concludes with a line from Milton, blind and mourning his dead wife: “I wak’d, she fled, and day brought back my night.” For a sardonic introvert, this counts as a happy ending.