Written on the Body is a secret code only visible in certain lights: the accumulation of a lifetime gather there. In places the palimpsest is so heavily worked that the letters feel like braille. I like to keep my body rolled away from prying eyes, never unfold too much, tell the whole story. I didn't know that Louise would have reading hands. She ...
Written on the Body is a secret code only visible in certain lights: the accumulation of a lifetime gather there. In places the palimpsest is so heavily worked that the letters feel like braille. I like to keep my body rolled away from prying eyes, never unfold too much, tell the whole story. I didn't know that Louise would have reading hands. She has translated me into her own book.
This novel examines the relationship between gender, the body, love, and lust. The narrator's gender is unknown, and furthermore, we know the narrator mostly through his/her lovers, and this causes the reader to analyze every action. This novel is exceptionally wonderful in that it causes the reader's concept of gender to be questioned. It's told with a beautiful, violent urgency. Wonderful.
Apr 2, 2007
Although heartbreaking at moments, Jeanette Winterson's book is amazingly beautiful. A master with word play she creates a world that is defined by the human body. The story is told from the point of view of a nameless and genderless narrator and throughout you are searching for clues to both questions. A book about love, lose, and beauty this book will be hard to put down. Her words are beautiful and I find myself rereading it every few months.
Publishers Weekly, 1992-12-07 This fourth effort from British writer Winterson ( Sexing the Cherry ) is a high-concept erotic novelette, a Vox for the postmarital crowd. The narrator, a lifelong philanderer (``I used to think marriage was a plate-glass window just begging for a brick''), has fallen in love with Louise, a pre-Raphaelite beauty. Louise is unhappily married to a workaholic cancer researcher, so the narrator leads her into a sexually combative affair. This scenario seems obvious enough, but Winterson never reveals whether the narrator is male or female. Rather, she teases readers out of their expectations about women and men and romance: Louise calls the narrator ``the most beautiful creature male or female that I have ever seen,'' and the narrator observes, ``I thought difference was rated to be the largest part of sexual attraction but there are so many things about us that are the same.'' When the narrator breaks off the affair after learning that Louise has cancer--only her husband can cure her--the work turns into a eulogy for lost love. Winterson manipulates gender expertly here, but her real achievement is her manipulation of genre : the capacious first-person narration, now addressed to the reader, now to the lover, enfolds aphorisms, meditations on extracts from an anatomy textbook, and essayistic riffs on science, virtual reality and the art of fiction (``I don't want to reproduce, I want to create something entirely new''). ``It's as if Louise never existed,'' the narrator observes, ``like a character in a book. Did I invent her?'' One wonders, as Winterson intends, and then wonders some more. For Louise--and the narrator's love for her--never seems quite real; in this cold-hearted novel love itself, however eloquently expressed, is finally nothing more than a product of the imagination. (Feb.)
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