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In this, her first collection of short stories, Winterson reveals all the facets of her extraordinary imagination. In prose that is full of imagery and word-play, she creates physical and psychological worlds that are at once familiar and yet shockingly strange.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099274537
ISBN-10: 0099274531
Format: Paperback
(174mm x 129mm x 14mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 4-Mar-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » It's fair to say that you don't have to be a die-hard Jeanette Winterson fan to read her novels - but it probably helps. Only a fool would underrate her fierce intellectual ability, but it has to be said that her writing can at times be impenetrable and 'difficult'. It seems, however, that the stylistic devices that make Winterson's novels rather too clever for all tastes are perfectly suited to the short story genre - the intensity of her prose is in some way distilled by being compressed into a smaller space. This collection of stories, some written especially for this volume, some dating back as far as 12 years, is rich, dense and beautifully written. The preoccupations are familiar - sex, history, the passage of time - but the protagonists and their histories are fantastic creations: a god; a man who sleeps in a future world where sleeping is outlawed; a silent woman who buys her groceries in four-ounce packets; a passenger on an ocean liner surprised by love. I suspect you will want to return to them again and again. The Life of Thomas More (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Astringently playful stories, written over 12 years, by the Whitbread Award - winning British novelist (Gut Symmetries, 1997, etc.). Though this first collection is brief, its author's talent isn't. Winterson's appetite for social criticism mingles confidently with her lyrical instinct to give us savagely rhythmic portraits of people lost in lives they'd much rather not have to inhabit. "This is the story of Tom," begins the tale "Newton," following Tom through a tight-lipped rant about the pitfalls of dwelling in a suburb whose diabolically conformist code of etiquette impels its non-hero to conceal "my Camus in the fridge." (Of a neighbor who discovers it there: " 'Who is Albert K Mew?' She pronounced it like an enraged cat.") While Winterson attacks righteous insiders, she also batters - persuasively - anomalous Tom and his ilk for the fecklessness of his chosen alienation. In other stories, the balance shifts toward seductive evocation and away from the author's tendency to travesty almost any convention. With "Turn of the World," for instance, Winterson revises the fairy-tale genre by invoking the evolution of four islands. Her closing words are fleetly sensuous, if punctuated by wry observation: "Naturally enough this island is stocked with lions . . . The lions are ruthless as money. The gold is snap-jawed." Although usually acerbically intelligent, her fiction is also capable of giving itself up entirely to sensory lavishness, as in "The Poetics of Sex," a revel whose sections are framed by mischievous subtitles ("Were You Born a Lesbian?"). Winterson's yen for invention can as readily regale us with the details of an Edenic puppyhood ("The 24-Hour Dog") as skewer Yuletide urges ("O'Brien's First Christmas"). Best of all, she seems willing to risk being misunderstood for the sake of taking choice imaginative lunges. Neither "realistic" nor "surrealistic," but work that oddly alchemizes the virtues of both. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson is the author of many novels including Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, The Passion, Sexing the Cherry, Written on the Body, Art and Lies, Gut Symmetries, The World and Other Places, The Powerbook and a collection of essays, Art Objects.

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