Read The World and Other Places by Jeanette Winterson Online


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....

Title : The World and Other Places
Author :
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ISBN : 0099274531
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 230 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The World and Other Places Reviews

  • Nikki
    2018-11-13 20:43

    I'm sure you all know the drill by now: I have difficulty with Jeanette Winterson. I'm pretty resigned to that now, though. I buy her books knowing that I'm going to love the words and have difficulty chasing the meanings; this time in particular I just sat back and let the prose-poetry wash over me, the images sometimes slapping me into paying that bit more attention, getting me with sharp edges by surprise.Jeanette Winterson's collection of short stories is very characteristically her writing, and more so, distilled. If you find it hard to get a grip on her novels, it'll be harder to get a hold on these -- but then you might be able to approach them better as poetry.

  • Krista Baetiong Tungol
    2018-10-26 23:29

    You read a Jeanette Winterson story and immediately grasp its every word, its every angst, its every quirk. At one point you sympathize with a character or see yourself suddenly living in her magically-woven world. You taste intimacy in her prose. You get spellbound by the vividness of her wild imaginings—whether it’s about wanting a dog you will not adopt, a man and a woman on a cruise, a world where sleep is prohibited, an island king who wears a crown made of coal, or a pet tortoise named Psalms that drowns in the sea. You don’t know how you’ve managed to interpret her language; you just do. You can understand her forever, but cannot translate her to others.***My thoughts on this book? Humorous. Insightful. Eccentric. In that order.Three words I can’t even rationalize. But if you love Jeanette Winterson like I do, then perhaps you’ll understand why.

  • Lynda
    2018-10-23 16:26

    An eccentric ragbag of stories, with some gems and some that flew by me. Winterson's work is as always is for me a "thing of threads and patches". My favourites are the simple less embroidered ones like the one about the dog who had to go back because he was too emotionally demanding. She is however a dazzling technician. I particularly like her use of metaphor and simile and classical allusion. She has the ability to entrance

  • jess b
    2018-11-13 21:25

    I keep going back and forth on this collection. Four stars? Three and a half? All of these stories are told at least 75% in metaphor; many of them are nothing but. And when they're good they're very very good: incisive, clarifying, occasionally transcendent. A few stories (The Poetics of Sex, Orion, Psalms) were just like... ugh, god. Astonishing. But when they're bad they're... well. The sort of self-indulgent stream-of-consciousness wankery that comes out when you're free-writing trying to clear writer's block? I don't know, I'm trying to learn to be more receptive to more experimental/"non-traditional" short story structures, but in those cases I need a lot more poetry than what's on offer here. Or maybe I'm just too much of a philistine to get all the nuance. Sorry, Jeanette Winterson. It's not you, it's me.

  • Kirsty
    2018-11-19 00:29

    As I was already a fan of Jeanette Winterson’s novels, I decided to try something a little different of hers: a volume of short stories. The World and Other Places is Winterson’s first collection, and I was incredibly interested to see how the genre suited her writing style.There are a lot of different styles at play here; we have fairytale-esque shorts, those told from the perspective of men, stories set within imagined vistas, and real world slices of life to name but a few. That said, the tales within The World and Other Places are a little too varied; there is no sense of cohesion between them, and reading them feels like rather a jarring process in consequence.Winterson is both an intelligent and perceptive author, but despite this, I was not entirely enamoured with the collection. There was no particular story which really stood out for me, or which I enjoyed, even. Nothing felt quite as strong as I had supposed it would; the characters are flat, and the backdrops are shadowy and not quite realistic. The World and Other Places is neither as interesting nor as engaging as I find her longer fiction. I love the way in which Winterson writes, but I cannot help but think that she is far better suited to longer literary forms in which she is able to fully exercise her prowess. Whilst I still really want to read the rest of her novels, I shall happily hang fire on any other short story collections which she has published to date.

  • Kate
    2018-11-05 17:54

    "It was a solo experience even when there were two ofyou," observes the narrator of the title story inJeanette Winterson's collection, "The World and OtherPlaces." The narrator is a lifelong model-planebuilder who eventually joins the Air Force, and the"solo experience" he describes is a training flightwhen he realizes that pursuing the frontiers of hisfantasies isolates him from other people. It's adiscovery made by many characters in the collection's17 stories: the lonely department-store clerk whosewish for blond hair is granted by a fairy ("O'Brien'sFirst Christmas"), the village "screwball" who readsthe underside of leaves ("Newton"), a professionaldreamer in a society that has banned sleeping("Disappearance I"). There is plenty of humor in thelandscape of the "other places" Winterson evokes asalternatives to the world we know (for example, theyoung Bible scholar in "Psalms" is transfixed by thevision of a demonic rabbit named Ezra). If Winterson'sfantastical brushstrokes trace the arc of a wry,raised eyebrow, then her characters trace the arc of ashut eyelid, sealed and dreaming. They are vulnerableto the world without being fully part of it; they arekeenly exposed to the reader while ensconced in theillusion of solitude.There are three clear standouts in "The World andOther Places”: "The Poetics of Sex," "The Green Man,"and "A Green Square." In these stories Winterson usesplain emotions as the bridge between her characters'worldly surroundings and the strange terrain of theirminds. In "A Green Square," a suburban father'sdespair about his undifferentiated days is our passageto understanding the single memory that holds meaningfor him: a boat in clear water in which he rode as achild on "the day when I had been happy." It's thecontrast between the father's reality (stopped-upsewer pipes) and his fantasy--"a diving lake I neverdived in because I could never get there through themind's accumulations"--that wraps him in disaffectionwhile coaxing empathy from the reader. The contrast,and therefore the empathy, is missing from storieslike "Turn of the World," in which allegorical islandsare described in the emotionless language of a tourguide: "Deeper into the island, where the cable carsstop and where the nimble ponies are left far behind,the only way for anyone to travel is by story. Somestories go farther than others." In this collection,the stories that go furthest are the ones in which theislands we explore are the archipelago of imaginationin a worldly consciousness. The stories that gofurthest are the ones in which the solo flight offantasy nevertheless invites the reader to travelalong in empathy.

  • Jim
    2018-11-18 23:32

    In much the same way as Kate Bush can get away with singing about the number Pi, Jeanette Winterson can write about pretty much anything and you know it will be well done, professionally. The question is: How interesting would it be? It’s why I don’t buy every new book by an author I’ve enjoyed in the past. I do not doubt their ability to write, it’s simply that the subject matter might not be to my taste. The stories in The World and Other Places are variable, not in quality, but in style. In "O`Brien`s First Christmas" a woman is visited by a fairy for Christmas and is given new blond hair which bolsters her confidence. That reminded me of a play I saw many years ago where a prostitute is visited by the real Santa Claus. “Newton” describes a Stepford-Wives-esque town from the point of view of a “screwball”, Tom. “Psalms” narrates the brief life of a tortoise with an unusual name and would have worked as a subplot to Oranges are Not the Only Fruit. All these worked for me.The ones I struggled with were “Turn of the World” with its quasi-mythological descriptions of four islands, “Orion”, again a tale rooted in mythology and “The Poetics of Sex” which meandered a bit too much for my tastes. What some people won’t like is how little background she provides, characters are barely described, if at all; Dickens it certainly is not. Personally I prefer that and I’m not dependent on plot to enjoy a story either; none of these stories has much of one.What did bother me was the realisation that I had read it before and virtually none of it had stuck; I was a bit sad about that as all her novels have been quite memorable.

  • Evan
    2018-10-27 18:33

    The short stories at the beginning were brilliant. The last third of the book the stories were just okay for me. I was having trouble concentrating in general and maybe should have saved them for another time. The last short story was really well done. I think that this book would be a good way to introduce someone to J.W.'s work. It was full of good ideas and interesting commentary on society, make believe, future, present.

  • jessica
    2018-10-20 17:40

    rhythmic. no solid beginning or endings.felt dangerous somehow.

  • Rob McMonigal
    2018-11-18 17:36

    I think I have a new author to add to my favorites after reading this, my second Winterson book. (Weight was the other, you can see my review here. While I did not love Weight, there were things Winterson did with language that I enjoyed immensely. With this set of short stories, she takes that use of language and gives life to a variety of subjects, from insecure pet parents to cheating husbands to the life of a lesbian. In addition, she handles the change of protagonist so very well that one could easily think this was a book written by several people rather than one talented author. Her use of phrasing is amazing and shows up all over the place, stringing together analogies in a way that reminds me quite a bit of Margaret Atwood, though I don't want to draw a direct comparison, which is not fair to either of them. A few examples, taken completely out of context:"I made him walk on a lead and he jumped for joy, the way creatures do, and children do, and adults don't do, and spend their lives wondering where the leap went.""It takes some time for the [dead] body to stop playing house.""Luggage. Heaven or Hell in the hereafter will be luggage or the lack of it. The ones who recognized that love is enough and that possessions are borrowed pastimes, will float free through the exit sign, their arms ready to hug their friends, their toothbrush in their pocket. The ones who stayed up late, gathering and gathering like demented bees, will find that you can take it with you. The joke is that you have to carry it yourself.""The Grim Reaper came to call. He took her husband from the bed but left the weekend chicken on the shelf."I could fill a whole review with nothing but a few pull quotes and still have many more in the book that I think are examples of her find writing style. It is not rolling, sprawling prose like others who play with words. You can see that by these examples. Rather, it is the usage of common terms, put together in a way that makes them jump out of the page and into your brain, that I find engaging. I think that most readers will find that, too.The stories themselves are all very short--I don't think any one of them goes on for more than twenty pages, if that--so if there is a particular story you don't care for, you've not lost a lot of time in the reading. There is also a frequent theme of having some sort of speculative element, which surprised me. Not science fiction, let's all go in a spaceship style spec fiction, but things that one could not call natural. I guess if you don't start out writing spec fiction, it's okay to dabble in it from time to time.I liked all of them, with the exception of Holy Matrimony, about a world where the symbols of marriage are ruined, which I thought was only okay. My favorites:"The 24 Hour Dog", which opens the anthology, features and owner that can't stand the innocence of a pet, and the knowledge burns his/her soul. The first quote I pulled came from this one."The Poetics of Sex", about a pair of lesbians who life a stylized life, set in an interview where the interviewer asks all the most inane questions of a gay person but the interviewee ignores them, and tells the story she wishes to tell. "The Three Friends" which is an adult fairy tale, as well as "Orion" where Winterson tells the story of Orion and Artemis from a modern perspective, and does the job very well."Newton" is one of the spec stories, told about a town that takes Cartesian reductionism to an extreme, leaving the narrator to be befuddled and confused as he tries to react normally and read his Camus in peace."Psalms" closes the anthology with the story of a girl raised by a fundie Christian mother, who makes her buy a turtle and name it Psalms, so that she will be reminded all the time to be more religious. Sadly, like any prophet, Psalms' life is cut short in its prime.Again, there are lots of good stories in here, and it was hard to choose the ones I liked best. If I were to do this review again tomorrow, Atlantic Crossing, a story of failing to take a chance at love, might make the list. Or perhaps the story of a man who is the only one left allowed to dream. This is a great book of short stories that I think deserves a nice winter afternoon with a hot cup of tea. (Library, 12/07)

  • Jenny
    2018-11-19 19:27

    My muse, Jeanette Winterson, writing good stuff. These stories are philosophical, interior, magical. The collection does not, in my opinion, outshine Cherries or The Passion, but it does exemplify her obsessions as a writer, artist, and human being. The stories are always on the outside, peering in, presenting the multitudes of possibilities we ignore in favor of the arbitrary status quo. Yearning, yearning, yearning, never feeling right in the normal, and incapable of escaping any way other than the mind. Can't find a writer who can write so magically about dogs and fairies, giving them the same weight. Everything that is light is heavy, everything heavy is light. I'm so glad I got to shake her hand that one time.

  • Sub_zero
    2018-10-30 19:38

    Historias cortas con buena forma, pero muy poco fondo. Por lo que he podido comprobar a lo largo de los diecisiete relatos que componen esta colección, Jeanette Winterson es una autora que tiene la capacidad de intercalar una gran variedad de facetas: desde el realismo más visceral e íntimo hasta la mitología clásica, pasando por escenarios de corte futurista y cuentos eróticos que destilan una pasión desenfrenada. Sin embargo, apenas hay cuatro o cinco relatos que me hayan dejado un poso significativo; la mayoría de historias me han parecido banales e inconsecuentes, un simple ejercicio de buen estilo salpicado de alguna que otra frase contundente.

  • M
    2018-11-15 17:28

    Jeanette Winterson crafts an eerily soothing set of tales in this volume. Opening with the a woman's decision to adopt - and then return - a puppy over the course of 24 hours, Winterson's tales are filled with a sad kind of hope and longing. A shopgirl's encounter with a fairy in her bedroom leads to the most subtle of wishes, a poetical essay on a lesbian couple mixes sex and wordplay, and the tale of Orion the Hunter is shared from the view of the goddess he raped. Overall, a good read that transports you to those titular "other places" in the world.

  • Teresa
    2018-11-14 17:37

    There are very few books I would markessential even fewer written in this century, which seems to turn out more worthless banter than any century before---did I just say that out loud? But I thought this book was/is brilliant and I want to be done with it so I can read it again and again. Because I'm sure that I missed some of the language while blinking or turning a page.Essential, indeed.

  • WiscJennyAnn
    2018-10-20 17:32

    Every now and again I turn back to "The Green Square" and it props me up.

  • Pari Sagafi
    2018-10-24 00:36

    (Note to self: Re-read "24-Hour Dog")

  • Margaret M.
    2018-11-14 18:41

    I must have read a review of this author's works, so when I finally received this collection of short stories through a library hold request, I had forgotten about it. The stories are odd, but full of imagery, and it is distracting to have to try and understand the point, when there almost isn't one, while reading them. I did like the 24 Hour Dog, the Poetics of Sex, and Orion (a retelling of a Greek myth from the viewpoint of Artemis). The only fiction title I am even remotely familiar with associated with this author is the novel "Sexing the Cherry." Maybe I am too literal of a person to enjoy such abstract thought progression of this author, so I doubt I will read anything else she has written. Just not my cup of tea!

  • RR
    2018-11-07 20:45

    I borrowed this to a friend, expecting to read about a series of stories about aeronautics or aerial adventures. Instead I read about love for an adopted dog, lesbian romance, greek myth and a lot more.The stories were goof. Though some pats are boring and hard to grasp. Maybe it's me. But there are times I want to throw the book because it's boring as hell. I was having a hard time flipping the pages and wondering when will this end. This torture. There are times I want to devour the book because it's that good. But that's only seldom.

  • Amalina Taib
    2018-10-24 16:28

    Magical realism. Not my thing(yet). Also, Winterson's meaning isn't easy to grasp despite her beautifully crafter prose. At the end of most of the short stories, you'd be asking 'What was that piece about?'.

  • Andrea
    2018-10-29 17:49

    This was the first Jeanette Winterson I ever read and I'm not sure I remember a speck of it except that I thought it great at the time.

  • Jennifer
    2018-11-08 16:31

    “All of one’s life is a struggle towards that; the narrow path between freedom and belonging. I have sometimes sacrificed freedom in order to belong, but more often I have given up all hope of belonging.” “I live in the space between chaos and shape. I walk the line that continually threatens to lose its tautness under me, dropping me into dark pit where there is no meaning. At other times the line is so wired that it lights up the soles of my feet, gradually my whole body, until I am my own beacon, and I see then the beauty of newly created worlds, a form that is not random. A new beginning. I saw all this in him and it frightened me.” “What is there to say about love? You could sweep up all the wolds and stack them in the gutter and love wouldn’t be any different, wouldn’t feel any different, the hurt in the heart, the headachy desire that hardly submits to language. What we can’t tame we talk about.” “Today we have reached the middle, the point of no return. Today the future is nearer than the past.” “Is compassion possible between a man and woman? When I say (as I have not said), ‘I want to take care of you’, do I mean ‘I want you to take care of me’? “But the truth is other as truth always is. What holds the small space between my legs is not your artistic tongue nor any of the other parts you play at will but the universe beneath the sheets that we make together.” “Come again, she asked? Yes tomorrow, under the sodium street lights, under the tick of the clock. Under my obligations, my history, my fears, this now. This fizzy, giddy all consuming now. I will not let time lie to me. I will not listen to dead voices or unborn pain. ‘What if?’ has no power against ‘What if not?” The not of you is unbearable. I must have you. Let them prate, those scorn-eyed anti-romantics. Love is not the oil and I am not the machine. Love is you and here I am. Now.” “They were quiet then because Sappho hadn’t learned a language. She was still two greedy hands and an open mouth. She throbbed like an outboard motor, she was as sophisticated as a ham sandwich. She had nothing to offer but herself, and Picasso, who thought she had seen it all before, smiled like a child and fell in love.” “What we were we were in equal parts, and twin souls to one another. We like to play roles but we know who we are. You are beauty to me. Not only sensuous beauty that pleases the eye but artistic beauty, magnificently ugly and you frighten me for all the right reasons.” “The future is still intact, still unredeemed, but the past is irredeemable. She is not who she thought she was. Every action and decision led her here. The moment had been waiting, they way the top step of the stairs waits for the sleep walker. She had fallen and now she is awake.” “No safety without risk and what you risk revels what you value.” “When the can hardly see we are most likely to fall in love…” “There are times, when I am on my own, fixing a drink, walking upstairs, when I see the door waiting for me. I have to stop myself pulling the bolt and turning the handle. Why? On the other side of the door is a mirror, and I will have to see myself. I’m not afraid of what I am. I’m afraid I will see what I am not.” “In my city of dreams the roads lead nowhere; that is, they lead off the edge of the world into infinite space. Under my feet the road itself that carried me forward, until there is nothing under my feet but air. Where to now, without tarmac and map? What direction do I take now that all directions can be taken? “Only here, only now, what is between us is true. You and I, this honesty we make.” “The planets are bodies in the solar system and so are we. You and I in elliptical orbs circling life. It is life we want, but we daren’t come too close for fear it might burn us away, this life in its intensity. ..When I hold you in this night-soaked bed it is courage for the day I seek. Courage that when the light comes I will turn towards it. It couldn’t be simpler. It couldn’t be harder.”In this little night covered world with you I hope to find what I long for; a clue, a map, a bird flying south, and when the light comes we will get dressed together and go.” “What I fear I avoid. What I fear I pretend does not exist. What I fear is quietly killing me. Would there were a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me, what is lost in me. Let the light in before it is too late.” ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?” I ask myself in the mirror most days." ‘Myself. I want to be myself.’ “I no longer knew which way I wanted to go. Pursuit or retreat. In life, ordinary lifetime life, it is so easy to march down the road until your legs finally give way and everyone crows round the coffin and declare you did your best. You didn’t though did you? The road was marked and you took it. Never mind that it was a ring road circling the heart.”

  • Lexidreams
    2018-11-03 22:42

    A review in quotes:"This morning I noticed there was one room missing.""My ID card says civil servant and I try to dream as politely as possible.""How many of us want any of us to see us as we really are?" "...a house playing hide and seek with itself.""We like to eat together and share a bottle of wine. My wife buys it from the Family Wine Club. We usually get the Mystery Mix and it's always the same." "We have to cope don't we? Get on with life, pull ourselves together, be positive, look ahead. Therapy or drugs will be freely offered. I can get help. We live in a very caring society. It cares very much that we should all seem to cope.""Never has so much been recorded by so many; the documented, identified, archival, tagged and saved world. The British library has a copy of nearly every book written since 1840. Weather records began in 1854. Births, deaths, marriages, all there. Planning consents and blood groups. Tax returns, passports, dietary habits and driving licenses. Where to find me, what I'm worth, watch I watch, what I wear, my goings out and my comings in, for my security on surveillance camera. All you need to know except what I need to know: Who am I?""Why doesn't every mother believe her child can change the world? The child can. This is the joke. Here we are still looking for a saviour and hundreds are being born every second. Look at it, this tiny capsule of new life, indifferent to your prejudices, your miseries, unmindful of the world already made. Make it again? They could if we let them, but we make sure they grow up just like us, fearful like us. We don't let them know the potential that they are. We don't let them hear the grass singing.""The big day. The best day of your life. The day I was born, my birthday. Graduation Day. Pay Day. The day we met, the day we no longer met. When I take out the pocket calender of my life I want someone to tell me where the days have gone. There are none in January. Where are my Januarys? Forty-one years of thirty-one days and I cannot remember any of them. Is there such a thing as January? You say,'Such and such happened.'Did it? It didn't happen to me. ...Is it so unreasonable to want to play the main part in your own life? When January was showing I was asleep...And February? March? April? May?""[All I wanted was to dive] into the obliging water and kick the stars off the surface.""...throw myself across chance for you.""If I were able to speak the truth..." --------------------------------------------------The World and Other Places deals in part with the shortness of life, consumerism, loss of history, loss of identity, conformity, homophobia etc. All the stories have deeper meanings and they are (sometimes frutratingly) not explained for you. Like when I am reading poetry I do not understand everything but I still carry on, finding the words I am reading beautiful. Quick ratings-The 24-Hour Dog ***Atlantic Crossing * (stereotypes bothered me a bit but I liked the ending of her having the sun inside her, dream filled, while his sun was millions of miles away.)The Poetics of Sex **** (Little too crass for me but great, great imagery. The entire story is a river of nonstop images and senses.)The Three Friends (I have my rating down as ?)Orion **Lives of Saints ***O'Brien's First Christmas (2.5*)The World and Other Places (3.5*)Disappearance I (4.5* Sleep is illegal and the character is a professional dreamer, my favorite )Disappearance II **The Green Man **Turn of the World (2.5*)Newton (3.5*)Holy Matrimony (2.5*)

  • Pauli
    2018-10-31 18:47


  • Alessia Simoni
    2018-11-09 00:41

    In questa raccolta di racconti brevi, la Winterson mostra tutta la sua abilità nel costruire, anche in poche pagine, storie che stanno in piedi; scrivere novelle è sempre difficile e non è detto che tutti ci riescano.La Winterson c'è riuscita. Si passa dalle atmosfere di un amore nato durante un viaggio, su una nave, a quelle fantasiose di un mondo fatto di isole, di elementi, di persone che si fissano negli occhi e vedono tutto ciò che è stato; si passa da un mondo in cui non si dorme e in cui il protagonista lavora dormendo per sognare ciò che agli altri non è permesso al mondo incantato della novella del titolo, "Il mondo e altri luoghi", in cui vediamo un pilota d'aereo alle prese con i suoi sogni di volare dove nessuno è mai stato, sogni accarezzati fin da bambino nei giochi con la sua famiglia. Vediamo poi un uomo che al luna park ha un'avventura con una zingara; e poi un ricco signore la cui casa ha stanza che si perdono, porte che vengono chiuse e poi spariscono; una rivisitazione del mito di Orione e poi la meravigliosa novella d'apertura, ideale per gli amanti degli animali, che descrive il rapporto di una persona con un cucciolo di cane che la sconvolge più di quanto avrebbe pensato.E poi, come non parlare di "The poetics of Sex"? In una novella nata dalle domande che i giornalisti le hanno rivolto riguardo alla sua omosessualità, o comunque dai luoghi comuni che riguardano le donne omosessuali, l'autrice ricostruisce la perfetta naturalità di un amore che da altri viene concepito come "diverso", "sbagliato", "manchevole": il sesso descritto in maniera esplicita ed implicita, le emozioni e i sentimenti, la capacità di questo amore di dare come solo l'amore può fare, come è normale che un amore faccia, qualunque esso sia. In una azzeccatissima metafora con la pittura (l'amante viene definita "Picasso"), vediamo questo rapporto dipingere sulla voce narrante dei nuovi orizzonti, e scopriamo che sono gli stessi orizzonti che sono stati dipinti su di noi dai nostri amori; vediamo come l'amore non ha sesso (concetto descritto anche in "Scritto sul corpo", considerato il romanzo capolavoro della Winterson), è semplicemente amore. Commovente e toccante.E tutto, come sempre nella Winterson, ci viene descritto come se fosse perfettamente naturale, con uno stile impeccabile che si adatta a meraviglia ai contesti raccontati, sempre delicato e mai volgare.Una citazione, tanto per invogliare alla lettura? "Love is not the oil and I am not the machine. Love is you and here I am. Now."

  • Steven
    2018-11-08 00:38

    For me, this first collection of short stories by Jeanette Winterson should be divided into two halves. The first eight stories are witty and sarcastic tales that comment on modern society with a biting edge. “The 24-Hour Dog” is great re-shaping of Keats’ “Ode on Grecian Urn,” where the promise and excitement of owning a new puppy can never be fulfilled by the day-to-day monotony of caring for the needy pet, symbolizing the modern tension between “chaos and shape” (16), our constant need for newness and our impatience with longevity. “The Poetics of Sex” answers the litany of common questions that lesbians are asked when they come out (“Were You Born a Lesbian?” or “Don’t You Find There’s Something Missing?”) with passionately poetic passages about two women in love that celebrate the internal longing birthed by their relationship. Then, the style shifts in the last nine stories and the reader is flung into fantastically over-the-top fables that exaggerate the pitfalls of modernity. In this second half, the pressures of capitalism make sleep illegal and bored office workers escape life through fire walking. I found this second half too obvious in its criticisms and not as subtly subversive as the first half. Even though these “other places” are incredibly inventive, the themes behind them are often trite and predictable. Winterson is much better when she stays in this “world” and twists the details of it through her sardonic writer’s lens.

  • Isabel
    2018-10-30 16:33

    'Too early', she said. 'You can't depend on nature. I don't like leaves falling. They don't fall where they should. If you don't regulate nature, why, she'll just go ahead and do what she likes. We have to regulate her. If we don't, it's volcanoes and forest fires and floods and death and bodies scattered everywhere, just like leaves.'Like leaves. Just like leaves. Don't you like them just a little where they fall? Don't you turn them over to see what is written on the other side? I like that. I like the simple text that can be read or not, that lies beneath your feet and mine, read or not. That falls, rain or wind, though nobody scoops it up to take it home. Life fell at your feet and you kicked her away and she bled on your shoes and when you came home, your mother said, 'Look at you, covered in leaves.'You were covered in leaves. You peeled them off one by one, exposing the raw skin beneath. All those leavings. And what had to fall was fallen, you picked it up and read what was written on the other side. It made no sense to you. You screwed it up in your pocket where it burned like a live coal. Tell me why they left you, the ones you loved? Didn't they like you? Didn't they, like you, need a heart that was a book with no last page? Turn the leaves.'The leaves are turning,' said Tom.-from the story 'Newton'

  • Yasmeen
    2018-10-22 18:45

    Sighs. I love Jeanette Winterson. As uneven as her stuff is, I've never finished anything she's written without feeling like I've gained something-- even if it's just one spectacularly beautiful line. This collection isn't an exception. Some parts are exquisitely beautiful (a couple of lines from "24-Hour Dog for example), some of the stories are solid ("Orion" is pretty great especially if like me Artemis happens to be your favourite Olympian, "A Green Square" I found hit nicely despite probably not being the best in the collection, along with several others), some of them spiral out of control in the best way, but I found a good chunk of them just... meh. But I mean. I'm trying to find examples of said "meh" stories. And every time I pick one, I find myself thinking "no but that one had a cool/beautiful/interesting concept/sentence/struucture." So I clearly didn't not enjoy it. But I guess I have high expectations-- I have zero doubts that a collection of Winterson stories could feel like 50 punches in the gut coated with stardust. And these were not that.

  • Emily
    2018-11-04 20:54

    The past couple Jeanette Winterson books I've read have not been my favorite...I feel like I read her most popular and well written novels first and now I'm starting to see why these others aren't as well loved. This collection of short stories wasn't awful, it was just that they weren't consistent. Some of them were awesome and then others were just ok. I still love how she writes, how she can turn a phrase and it cuts you down while you're reading it. No one else can do that to me the way she can.

  • Sheela Rahman
    2018-10-20 17:35

    The stories reveal the magical way Jeanette Winterson writes, weaving myths, literature and her mystery with time into flights of fantasy and reflection. The collection may be the derivatives of her other works. "Adventure of a Lifetime" includes a line, "What you risk reveals what you value", which she includes in her latest book, "Gape of Time", a re-telling of Shakespeare's "The Winter Tale". While some stories have a progression, those that necessarily don't keeps the reader's attention rapt, pausing to absorb the implications of a passage, but eager to move to what she has to say next.

  • Marsha
    2018-11-07 21:24

    By turns filled with strange twists and turns of phrases and then pragmatic, matter-of-fact storytelling, Ms. Winterson’s collection of stories places human beings at cruxes in their lives. The lyrical eroticism of a woman in “The Poetics of Sex” takes a dark turn in “Disappearance II” as a man ruminates on a woman he captures. Love breaks or makes people, re-forming them in new and sometimes terrifying ways. Even the love of a dog isn’t necessarily a simple matter. Ms. Winterson isn’t for everybody. But this book of stories shows why her works remain fascinating reading.