I would like to say I really enjoy your books. I discovered them recently and then went out and bought every one of them I could find, bit by bit, and read them. I haven’t finished collecting yet, I keep searching specialty local bookstores. Your books make me happy and I am very admiring of your strong characters and inspired by them. They stay in my mind and I often tell stories of them to my girlfriend. I am impressed and very grateful that there are authors like you, who write about women in an empowering way, and that your characters do
not have angst about their choice of partners, they just do it, and that is exciting and liberating.
Your writing is wonderful, you have such strong edges in your words and insights and moments of wonder. My favourite idea from your books was from ‘The Blue Place’ I think, where it mentions riding a green tongue of ice all around the world.
I am very happy to have found your writing, and to be able to share it with people I know.
I have one question, as I follow your blog:
Do you read Jeanette Winterson? I ask because I am reading ‘The Stone Gods’ which strikes me as similar to some of your writing. In it, the character says things like, ‘F is for future’ ‘I is for identity’ in a similar way that Aud rhymes her name. As another coincidence, the main character is a scientist who is sent off to a new planet.
I haven’t finished Jeanette’s book yet but I am also very excited to have found her writing.
I hope you are well and the weather there is lovely – here it is getting cooler but the days are crisp and blue with small white clouds…
I’m delighted you like my work. I hope you’ll read me. May it give you much joy.
I haven’t read anything by Winterson since The.Powerbook. I find that her work and my taste are diverging. In fact, the only book of hers that really moved me (to anything more than exasperation) is Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. It’s strong, clean, clear, and funny. I find her other work by turns brave, sparkling, irritating, sly, self-indulgent, smug, fey, interesting, ill-disciplined, and empty.
The stories of The World & Other Places are quite erratic–I do admire her bravery, though. Written on the Body is beautifully written but pointless. I can’t find a reason for her refusal to reveal the sex of the narrator; it doesn’t add anything to my understanding of the relationship; it doesn’t deepen the story; it doesn’t make me pause and ponder gender performance. (I think Kelley does it better, frankly.) It is of course possible that the point of the book is to irritate the reader so much s/he throws the book at the wall, mulls her/his own irritation, and reaches enlightenment. (Winterson does like to play.) But I found it ultimately unsatisfying. Boating for Beginners…well. It reads like an unfunny comic book written by a precocious teenager. A bizarre piece of work.
I could go on, but life is too short. After The.Powerbook I decided to stop wasting my time. Winterson is following a path I don’t find inviting.
6 thoughts on “Jeannette Winterson”
Actually, I had pretty much the same Jeanette Winterson reading experience…which reminds me, I also seem to have had the same Tamora Pierce reading experience — not particularly liking the Alana books. I did however enjoy the Protector of The Small series — you might (although no gay content, but very good, strong female character and a ongoing discussion of what it takes to lead.) Two of my favorite books are Stir Fry by Emma Donoghue, which is wonderful and Légende by Jeannine Allard.
The Powerbook killed Winterson for me as well. I did read Lighthousekeeping, but I was given a signed copy as a gift and felt that I had to at least put in some effort.
The thing is, at one time I thought that GUT Symmetries was brilliant. Now, not so much. Revisiting books reveals so much about what we once held but have long since let go of without even realizing it.
<>lonelypond<>, I read one Tamora Pierce book a while ago and enjoyed it thoroughly–no quiltbag content (which is no big deal to me, unless I think the author is hiding in some way–e.g. Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series, which seriously swerved early on to avoid the lesbian stuff, and irritated my hugely). I don’t know Jeannine Allard…
<>jennifer from p<>, eh, books are like food. Some of it is age-specific (fish fingers, tinned spaghetti), some of it is good all your life (tea, bread).
I’d like to recommend Jeannette’s’Tanglewreck’ to anyone who might not be giving up on her completely. This novel is unlike all her others. It is filled with love and physics. And it is a wonderful story.
I recently read The Powerbook and it started off with a very interesting piece and then lost me, but I stuck with it, hoping it would all tie together eventually and I never got there. But I’ve heard good things about other works, so I’ll try again.
Actually, I thought Tanglewreck was the best thing I had read by Winterson in a very long time. But apart from that, I sadly agree with, as it seems, everyone else. Authors evolve, so do the rest of us, and not always in the same direction. I used to be an unabashed admirer of Rita Mae Brown; as a teenager I loved Poul Anderson’s stories but as an adult I found him unbearable and, perhaps worse, totally unknowing sexist; I was once able to read Isaac Asimov’s fiction with enjoyment. Oh well. Please keep writing, Nicola.
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