Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review: The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

Title: The Gap of Time
Author: Jeanette Winterson
Goodreads Rating: 3.9
Format:  Finished Copy from Blogging For Books
The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “late plays.” It tells the story of a king whose jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter and the death of his beautiful wife. His daughter is found and brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of extraordinary events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited. In The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale, we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crisis, to a storm-ravaged American city called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, technology and the elliptical nature of time. Written with energy and wit, this is a story of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and redemption and the enduring love of a lost child on the other.

I honestly do not know where to start. This book was incredible, just as I knew it would be. Jeanette Winterson is an amazing story-teller and has reached perfection again with this retelling. 

Written as a cover, this book is a reworking of The Winter's Tale by Shakespeare, a later play that touches upon the themes he was known for--identity, forgiveness, jealously. I wouldn't call it a departure for him but it is a different play in that it starts off with tragedy and ends on a fulfilled happier note. Many know this play for it's famous stage direction, "Exit, pursued by bear." Told in multiple point of views, this story is of Leo (Leontes in the original) and his deeper fall from grace and later redemption. Leo suspects that his best-friend and once lover Xeno and his beautiful and pregnant wife are having an affair. He also suspects that the baby is not his. This enrages him, causing him to alienate everyone and make some drastic, tragic mistakes that lead to the death of two people and the disappearance of three. The "life they ruined" one of the characters later says. 
It's incredible because this book is so short yet I feel as if I've known all the characters for such a long time. Jeanette Winterson has such a way of including the reader in the story that you weep when the character's weep, you laugh when they laugh and you get justifiably angry at the misdeeds and assumptions of one man. 

I wish I could share this book with everyone but as I have only one copy, I'll settle for sending it around. It's truly incredible. The writing is amazing, the story adds so much to the original and yet I don't know if you have to revisit the original (there's a helpful rundown at the beginning that sums everything up nicely). I burst with happiness throughout the book and made a note of all the most amazing lines, one being: 'I discover that grief means living with someone who is not there." 

I love how Jeanette Winterson also introduces the characters and their own archetypes and then sticks with them, trusting the reader to follow and pick up on the shared history, inside jokes and motifs of the character. 

I could probably go on and on about how much I love this book but I would only be taking away from anyone reading the review and not reading this book. Go read it now!  It's sublime. Amazing. Beautiful. 

So thank you for Jeanette Winterson for this book and thank you for Blogging For Books for the copy. I cannot wait to talk this up at the library, send it to all my friends and revisit it again and again.


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