This is a Winterson tale as well as a Shakespearean one, full of betrayal and fluid sexuality and lyricism and forgiveness. Most of all, it's preoccupied with time--its conflations and losses and redemptions. Time can be redeemed, both authors insist. "And what is memory but a rope slung across time?"
Winterson has craftily adapted Shakespeare's somewhat ambiguous Winter's Tale into a believable modern day story. She explores on one hand our human tendency toward self-destruction and on the other hand the possibility of forgiveness -- all of it done with her own unique and glorious wordplay. The book is full of little gems: "It takes so little time to change a lifetime and it takes a lifetime to understand the change". And her re-telling of the Oedipus story in the scatological vernacular of Autolucus is an absolute hoot! Time and again, I found myself flipping back and re-reading sections that are so stunningly written. In fact, I will probably go back and re-read the entire book before long. The most enjoyable thing I've read so far this year.
I'm really liking this idea of remixing Shakespeare plays and I'm glad that they picked one of the less obvious ones to start with. "The Winter's Tale" is not one that many people remember aside from probably the best stage direction ever (Exit pursued by a bear) but I really liked this take on it.
There's fantastic diversity, great parallels, and it does a great job of making you care about a play that you don't really think about it. The author says this is an important play for her and you can tell as you read it - even without the author taking the time at the end to tell you why she loves this play so much.
We have lost children, mistaken identities, feuding families, all things that have been done before with Shakespeare. Leo is convinced his pregnant wife MiMi is cheating on him and that the child is actually their friend Xeno's. The child is raised by another family, she falls in love with someone who could be her brother, it's all been done before but like I say, it really makes you care.
"The Winter's Tale" is fortunately not a tragedy thus this is not either but that wonderful sense of things tying together stands like the play does in its original form. I'm not a huge fan of Shakespeare's comedies but I do like that aspect of them.
This is a fascinating re-telling of Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. Winterson's language is dreamlike in some places, angry and vindictive in others depending on the character who is speaking. This is a fine modernization of one of Shakespeare's last plays and is all about forgiveness.
I would like to start off by saying this rendition of Shakespeare’s “The Winter Tale” was by far the bravest thing ever written. Jeanette Winterson managed to take a timeless classic and smoother it in modern times, characters and situations. There’s also a very subtle nods to “Back to the Future” here as well. The book opens with the original “The Winter Tale” so the readers can become familiar with at least the basic backbone of the story and jumps right into what I believe to be a strangled and doomed relationship from the start between to childhood friends, Leo and Xeno and how that are in fact both in love with the same woman, MiMi.
The jealousy between these 2 men nearly kills MiMi, results in the death of Leo and MiMi’s son, Milo and separates Leo and MiMi from each other and their Daughter Perdita for nearly 18 years. Perdita was taken away by a trusted friend of Leo to be taken to what he assumed was her father, by unfortunately was murdered along the way. Baby Perdita was placed in a baby hatch on the island of New Bohemia, in America. Two men witnessed the murder and are overwhelmed with grief by this, so they decide to take her to safety.
“Up ahead there’s a Black BMW 6 Series smashed full frontal into the wall. The doors are open both sides. Some small junky car is rammed into the back. Two hoods are beating a guy into the ground…I realize without realizing that I’ve got the tyre lever in my hand. I move without moving to pries open the hatch. It is easy. I lift out the baby and she’s as light as a star” [Chapter 1: Watery Star]
Fast Forward 17 years and the story really begins to pick up. Perdita is all grown up, Leo and Xeno are still business partners but rarely speak to each other and Leo and MiMi have been separated for quite a while. Perdita realized early on that she was adopted what with her father and brother being Black and she is very much White. Everything moving forward in this story takes a drastic turn at this point.
Over all, this story was very entertaining, albeit a little strange in the beginning, it was never difficult to follow and very difficult to put down
I love Jeanette Winterson's writing, and her enthusiasm for language - and Shakespeare - make this a lovely read. Highly recommended.
Part of the Hogarth series of modern writers chosen to provide novelizations of Shakespeare's plays. Jeanette Winterson has accomplished an imaginative, masterful, playful, and engaging adaptation of THE WINTERS TALE. This is the first in the series and she has set the bar high for the authors who follow. My only caveat: although the novel stands on its own, your pleasure will be increased in proportion to your familiarity with the play. This made me hungry for the rest of the series.
I went out of my way to read Shakespeare's A WINTER'S TALE before I read this and I am very glad I did. The thing I enjoyed the most about Winterson's book was seeing what she did with the characters of the play and how she adapted the storyline. I would have missed all that if I hadn't read A Winter's Tale.
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