Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson

This was one of those books that had no plot or point to speak of and to be honest really wasn't even very cohesive, yet evoked an emotional response of an immeasurable depth. Jeanette Winterson never fails when it comes to unusual imagery and provocative analogies, that's for sure.

The book is set in England during the time of Oliver Cromwell, and that's probably some sort of social metaphor far beyond the capacities of my perfunctory skimming during my flight to North Carolina, but there you have it. It's alternating narrators, one a giantess whose stature has given her unusual insight into the human condition, the other her son, an explorer who brings the banana and the pineapple to English soil for the first time much to the consternation of the pale-faces. That's about as plot-heavy as it gets--most of the book is filled with queered retellings of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and Artemis, etc. It's so fantastical and atmospheric it was just a pleasure to read. There are a lot of ideas embedded here--mob mentality the "frontier," the gender construct...but again, they're more loosely strung together than wound into one cohesive thesis. In short, this book is a perfect subway read because you can stop and start whenever and it doesn't matter much.

Rating: =)

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