Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Sexing the Cherry , please sign up. How they add to the story? See all 3 questions about Sexing the Cherry…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Except, it seems, the truth. I don't know how else to put it. After The Passion , I honestly thought I could not be more impressed.
But I think "Sexing The Cherry" may be even better. I suspect that her short novels should be read again as soon as you have added another one to your repertoire, because there are recurring themes and fruity flavours that are definitely part of Winterson's general narrative. It is about the places we really go to and the things we experience in our minds. What is real? What is true?
If I see something in my head, does that mean it has happened, even if I just imagine it? But does it matter if the place cannot be mapped as long as I can still describe it? It is a story about freedom and chains, about making choices and exploring the world outside. It is harsh reality and fantastical imagination. It can be interpreted in many ways and I am sure it speaks to every reader in a different way. I actually happen to know that for a fact, because I had a silent co-reader on the first 31 pages. I bought my copy of the novel second-hand, and in the margins I found comments from the previous owner, and they increasingly drove me up the walls.
I don't mind marking books at all. I do it all the time myself, but in this case I found myself in a noisy conversation, where I tried to listen to the author and the characters, while someone else was telling me basic facts.
Sexing the Cherry
No secret there? Until the comments stopped abruptly after 31 pages, leaving me to guess whether my co-reader gave up or finally got sucked into the story and stopped wondering about the different topics thrown together in a creative mix. What really annoyed me was the comment next to the sentence: "I have seen a banana. And no. One of the amazing things about reading Jeanette Winterson is her magical way of describing reality.
She does not hide homo sexuality, religion, cross-dressing or brutal violence, so I don't see why it needs to be pointed out all the time. On the other hand, she gives her storylines several layers of meaning, so that the complexity of human desire and exploration is in focus, not a banal equation of word and meaning. At some point, the banana incident is explained further: "When I was little, my mother took me to see a great wonder. It was about , I think, and never before had there been a banana in England. The book was written in , and for parts of Europe, the banana became a symbol of free access to the world market.
Reading Eastern European authors of that era, you inevitably stumble upon bananas sooner or later. I just got mad at the one-dimensional interpretation delivered by the person reading MY copy of this beloved book before me. But thanks for dumping it in a thrift store, my book budget is constantly strained! One more thing short of typing up the book in its entirety here, I can't give it appropriate credit! Bananas and pineapples! It took me a while to register that they are sometimes cut in half, and that they tell a tiny story on the side-lines of the main plot if there is such a thing.
This is an art in itself, which I have seen most exquisitely done in Maggot Moon. And just like in "Maggot Moon", the art and the title make sense, but not straight away, and not without thinking for a while. Won't say more about it!
I would say, Winterson is a queen of her art, and a queen of the human heart. I can't imagine there is a simpler way of showing how people express their love than this beautiful scene of a son leaving his tidy, orderly parents to go to the navy: "I eat all my peas first and this annoys them. Enough said! Read it if you like complex stories and many meanings, if you love poetry and truth and to travel between different times and places while staying in your reading chair.
If you look for literal translation of symbolic language, I guarantee you that you will be successful as well, and find at least twenty translations from metaphor to plain meaning until page 31! If you can tell me what purpose it serves I will complete the exercise for the rest of my copy! Sorry, sometimes my sarcasm steals the keyboard! View all 29 comments. Mar 10, Paul Bryant rated it it was ok Shelves: novels.
Date 15 January 23rd January Time — PB : Proof? Det Munch : Anyone can invent an identity and claim to have read like a zillion books and then post up fake reviews. I could pay 15 year olds to do it. PB : Well, so what? Who cares? Det Pembleton : Who cares? Did you hear that John? We care. Let me explain a little. Det Munch : Now you have like 20 million people on this site. Now you get mentions in Fortune magazine.
Sexing the Cherry Background
You know Fortune? Have you heard of rich people? PB : It was years ago. You just have to take my word. Det Munch : As a man of honour? May I direct your attention to these three mug shots. Take your time. Tell us which one is Jeanette Winterson. Det Pembleton : Not in itself. PB stabs blindly at the photo of Ellen Degenares.
Det Pembleton : Did you see that, Detective Munch? The interviewee has indicated the photo of Ellen Degeneres who is an American television personality and not an English novelist. Det Munch : I did see that, Frank. I take that to be … indicative. PB : Anyhow, how did I get here? I seen you in that show. You do realise that your fake reviews get Google hits?
This is not some nerdy game. This is real life. PB : The last thing I remember I was at home — I heard a hissing noise… it was a kind of gas… coming through my front door keyhole…and I woke up here. PB : Yes! Years ago! Det Munch : And what did you think of it? PB : It was weird and phantasmagorical! PB: Yes — no — yes. But similar. They leave The Box and join the Goodreads editorial staff who have been observing the interview through the two way mirror.
They all do, eventually. View all 8 comments. Jul 25, Tina rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: anyone. Jeannette Winterson is one of my all-time favorite writers and I'm constantly recommending this slim book. For what it lacks in girth, the book makes up for in substance. I have never more furiously scribbled passages down in my journal for future reference.
The story itself is entertaining enough to merit the book worth a read. The premise is reminiscent of a Brother's Grimm fairy tale - you know, back when fairy tales were sort of dark, creepy, and a little scary, before Disney got its hands on Jeannette Winterson is one of my all-time favorite writers and I'm constantly recommending this slim book.
The premise is reminiscent of a Brother's Grimm fairy tale - you know, back when fairy tales were sort of dark, creepy, and a little scary, before Disney got its hands on them. But it's Winterson's introspection on love and relationships, their possibilities and their limits, conveyed deftly through her inventive fables, that make me love this book. Nov 18, Austen rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved this book.
Sexing The Cherry - Jeanette Winterson
At the level of plot, we read about a gigantic woman who finds a small boy, Jordan, on the banks of the Thames in London in the 17th century. She raises this boy and watches him grow to develop a passion for boats, sailing, and exploring, knowing that she will lose him to his passions, and knowing that he will lose his heart to a woman who will not return his love.
At the core of this novel, though, are metaphysical and philosophical explorations--both for us as readers, and a I loved this book. At the core of this novel, though, are metaphysical and philosophical explorations--both for us as readers, and also for Jordan as an explorer.
Winterson sets out two ideas that guide the metaphysical inquiry of the novel in a brief preface: that all time might exist simultaneously without the traditional divisions of past, present, and future, and that matter is largely empty space and points of light. And so even though Jordan travels the world, he comes to realize that the true journeys are inward, into our own minds and our own hearts. Along with these post-modern ideas that undercut traditional, rationalist notions of the truth of the world, we also explore the bafflingly complex affairs of the heart. Is it possible to find true love in a world where matter and time do not exist as we have previously believed them to?
Was it ever possible to find true love? Does it even matter? Is it possible to find more a more fulfilling life exploring our more solitary desires? According to one of the most well-received portions of this novel according to many of the Goodreads reviews I perused , The Story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, it seems clear that traditional love existing in marital life is largely a fiction. Instead, these women find fulfillment in a lifestyle more fitting to their hearts--and ultimately, living together--than the arranged marriages they lived in briefly as young women.
Sexing the Cherry Summary & Study Guide Description
And their individual stories bear this out. All were slightly touched by magic--elegant dancers because they were born with the capability to fly, and were finally able to find their own joy, rather than live in a world that sought to restrict the natural, magical freedom of their hearts and their bodies.
Yet the characters in this novel still seem to desire love, as I believe we all do. Jordan's mother doesn't seem to have given up believing in it, though she is never able to find a suitable male companion. Jordan, after meeting his love one night, and without even speaking to her at dinner, searches the world to find her again. He does finds her, but like Artemis on her island the myth of she and Orion, slightly re-imagined here by Winterson , needs no man. She has found peace in her own life, and sends Jordan back upon his way with a necklace and a kiss. I feel him, there. He spends the rest of his life exploring the world, and when he lands in London, he has been gone for 13 years.
He reunites with his mother, but it is clear that he still thinks of Fortunata, the object of his heart's longing. In this case, the epic journey narrative is somewhat inverted. And Winterson's characters reflect on this over the course of the novel, as well. Rather than the heroic, man's man fulfilling his hearts desire to explore the world and find adventure while his beautiful wife and loving children send him off tearfully and wait for his return, Jordan is more sensitive--more in touch with his feminine side, if you will.
He only loves one woman, and she does not want him the way he wants her. Further, he considers that for all his traveling, the journeys of the world are not worth more than the explorations of the mind, and that the more he journeys he took, the more of the world there was, and the more mystery crept into his mind. And in this novel, we see three travelers in this novel who seem slightly unsatisfied, who seem always to be searching.
As such, this idea recurs. Jordan postulates that in travel we are really searching for ourselves, and that finally, this can be accomplished living in a muddy hut, and raising dogs in the bank of the Thames. In fact, his gargantuan and endearingly murderous and grotesque mother to whom he returns after his journey , seems to have a much better grasp of who she is than almost anyone I know, and to find peace in it.
Many in her situation would find only depression, but she raises fighting dogs, and lives life as she pleases. She seems to hope for love, and companionship, but also seems to find peace in its absence. This book is fantastically imaginative, and at moments reminds me of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities in fact, strikingly so in Jordan's description of some of the places that he visits. The humor and grittiness of the plot, as well as the insightful explorations of time, space, matter, meaning, love, and life make this short novel as rewarding as it is dense, while still effortless to read.
This book leaves me more peaceful in the face of complexity in the world. I do not think I ascribe to fairytale notions of love or what sort of life I ought to lead, and this book makes me feel better about that. I feel confident that finding ones' self is the true task in life, whether that takes us around the world, or occupies our hours in the same place for a lifetime, and that the attendant chaos is to be welcomed.
And while our passions are worthy indulgences, we should also know that our passions for others are bound to be temporary and somewhat tragic--for that is their nature, and we should only accept it as part of our larger journey to discover self, "unexpectedly, in a garden somewhere or on a mountain watching the rain. Once I stood in a museum looking at a "painting" hanging on the wall. It had all the components of a painting: the canvas, lines and squiggles rendered in pencil, the artist's signature, and some blotches of color here and there.
I read the review on the little plaque next to it which described what it was made of, its post-modern symbolism, it's meaning. I didn't see that at all. Another time I put on a CD to listen to.
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It had all the components of "music": instruments, notes, pauses, a musician Once I stood in a museum looking at a "painting" hanging on the wall. It had all the components of "music": instruments, notes, pauses, a musician behind the scenes who determined how the people playing the instruments were to perform.
I read the review on the back of the CD case which described the musicians, their instruments, its post-modern interpretation and why it was supposed to be musical. I didn't hear that at all. Today I finished reading a "book". It had all the components of a work of fiction: characters, words, sentences, descriptions of places and ideas and things. I read the blurbs on the back of the book, the reviews here at Goodreads and on Amazon, online on blogs and forums, and even what the author herself said about her post-modern piece of literature.
I tried to understand why people liked it, but somehow nobody ever said why, only that they did. Nobody could even tell me what it all meant. They could only describe the component parts. I didn't get it at all. All of these "beautiful" works of art I just mentioned remind me of a "good" wine. People go on and on about the bouquet, the subtleties, the nuances, and the vast depth of flavor, the slight hints of this and that. At the end of the day, what they're describing is rotten grapes. I kind of feel that way about this book. View all 10 comments. A very rewarding reading experience!
I'm not looking for God, only for myself, and that is far more complicated. God has had a great deal written about Him; nothing has been written about me. God is bigger, like my mother, easier to find, even in the dark. I could be anywhere, and since I can't describe myself I can't ask for help. Dec 17, Molly rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Everyone alive. Sometimes I think I would like to write a letter of thanks to Jeanette Winterson. The letter would go something like this, "Thank you, Ms.
Winterson, for being so magical. Thank you for holding on to the play of childhood and mingling it with a breadth of creative intelligence I never knew existed. Thank you for reading as much as you do and for deploying history in new and invigorating ways. Thank you for playing with your narratives, changing your characters into hyperboles of their human selv Sometimes I think I would like to write a letter of thanks to Jeanette Winterson.
Thank you for playing with your narratives, changing your characters into hyperboles of their human selves, and ducking back into reality with the seamlessness of silk. Thank you for writing. Please write more. I'll read every word. View 1 comment. A soundtrack of grunts and a big sigh at the end" This being the third book I've read by Winterson, I've concluded that she is certainly not the average writer.
She's incredibly unique, and there is an oddity in her works. Winterson is an acquired taste, but she's definitely "my taste" This book is set in England, and the story jumps back and forth in time. During this, we meet various characters. I think the dog woman has to be my favourite.
Weaved expert "I had sex with a man once: in and out. Weaved expertly throughout the story, are other known characters from various fairy tales and myths. Doing this definitely worked, and I think it helped support the main story rather well. The narration jumps fairly fast to one character to the next, so therefore to understand what's potentially going on, one must pay close attention.
I found myself confused at various moments in the book. The book is all based around love. It involves characters that cannot express the love that is controlling them, and eventually leading down the path of heartbreak. There is a hilarious scene nearing the end, where the dog woman recalls when she slept with a man. Based on the fact the dog woman is a fairly large woman, the man complains in great vulgarity, that she is just "too big" downstairs to satisfy him.
It's amusing as the dog woman hasn't a clue what he's referring to! Before I finish this, I must say how much I fucking rate the dog woman. She's a force to be reckoned with, she's strong and powerful and doesn't give one singular shit about what society make of her. Isn't that how we all should be? Aug 25, Riff rated it did not like it. Painfully pretentious and drowning in a mess of its failed aspirations, it's always a bad thing when an author becomes too fond of the sound of their own voice. Characters, ideas, feelings, and stories are lost under the weight of what I can only presume is Winterson's creative vanity.
While arguably intelligent she lacks the poetic ability required to pull off a style like this, using language which distracts and detracts from the world she is struggling to present. A wonderful imagination is c Painfully pretentious and drowning in a mess of its failed aspirations, it's always a bad thing when an author becomes too fond of the sound of their own voice. A wonderful imagination is compromised by trying far too hard to be lyrically interesting, leaving its subjects as crude and sloppy afterthoughts to the writer's aspirations.
A great shame, because there would otherwise be a lot here to like; curious and observant visions wrapped in a fantasy motif. Sadly, it is a book that systematically fails on just about every level. View all 3 comments. Aug 10, Lea rated it really liked it Shelves: books-i-own , read , acquired , reviews. I may come back later and bump this up to 5 stars -- I really enjoyed the story and Winterson's gorgeous writing.
Well, describing this one is going to take some doing.
Set in England, the story jumps back and forth between the s and the s or thereabouts. We see moments in the lives of various characters: the Dog Woman, a coarse giant of a woman who is continually reforming her murderous ways; Jordan, her son, who she found floating in the Thames; Nicholas Jordan, a naval cadet; as I may come back later and bump this up to 5 stars -- I really enjoyed the story and Winterson's gorgeous writing.
We see moments in the lives of various characters: the Dog Woman, a coarse giant of a woman who is continually reforming her murderous ways; Jordan, her son, who she found floating in the Thames; Nicholas Jordan, a naval cadet; as well as various characters from myths and fairy tales. The story is structured so that it moves back and forth through time, sometimes with the characters meeting and interacting in ways that would be impossible in reality.
The narrative skips from one person to the next, and the reader needs to pay close attention in order to tell which character is narrating. The main themes seem to be time and love -- there is a lot of heartbreak in this book, people who are unable to express the love they feel, as well as people who turn their backs on the love they've been given. For a time I felt only sadness, and then, for no reason, I was filled with hope.
The future lies ahead like a glittering city, but like the cities of the desert disappears when approached. In certain lights it is easy to see the towers and the domes, even the people going to and fro. We speak of it with longing and with love. The future. But the city is a fake. The future and the present and the past exist only in our minds, and from a distance the borders of each shrink and fade like the borders of hostile countries seen from a floating city in the sky. The river runs from one country to another without stopping. And even the most solid of things and the most real, the best-loved and the well-known, are only hand-shadows on the wall.
Empty space and points of light. My favorite character -- not just here, but in all of the recent books I've read -- is the Dog Woman. She is so authentically herself, even though she is completely aware of being unlike anyone else.
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She isn't ashamed of her massive size -- she views herself as strong and powerful. There is a funny scene towards the end of the book where she relates the only time she slept with a man -- it's vulgar and hysterical, especially because she finds herself bemused by the man's assertion that she is just too LARGE; to her, she is exactly the right size and she has absolutely no idea what he's talking about.
Highly recommend! Jun 03, Jenny rated it it was ok. The juxtaposition of the stories of the giant woman living on the banks of the Thames with her dogs and her adopted son who is drawn to exploring the world in the mid s was interesting. The incorporation of the stories of women who although kept by men for their pleasure are still able to lead lives of their own and escape were interesting asides as was the story of the 12 dancing princesses. The drawings of the banana and the pineapple at the top of the paragraph when the narrator changed w The juxtaposition of the stories of the giant woman living on the banks of the Thames with her dogs and her adopted son who is drawn to exploring the world in the mid s was interesting.
The drawings of the banana and the pineapple at the top of the paragraph when the narrator changed was overly cute but OK. However, the book fell apart for me when the giantess moved on into violence against the Puritans and a modern story about a young man who goes to sea and a female chemist who is testing water for contamination. What exactly is it that I did not like? Too much for too short a book. An attempt at fantasy and fabulism that is not quite good enough to measure up to the work of someone like Angela Carter or an attempt to show as the narrative of the book falls apart that so is our world, something done more skillfully by John Barth.
I can't quite put my finger on it, but overall not a particularly satisfying book. Aug 01, Tim rated it it was amazing. I want jeanette winterson to read me a bedtime story every night. I didn't know how much I could worship an author before I read this. Dog-Woman has the definition of a grotesque body; she is exaggerated and has the female body of excess, making her a big monstrous woman. She ends up telling us, the readers, the amount she has gained, eyeballs and teeth There is also the matter of her father, he attempts to steal his daughter and sell her to a circus, much like the carnival freak shows.
She is so grotesque that her father believes he is able to profit from it, I am not sure whether he did it for just the money or that he just could not stand having a child like her. Dog-Woman kills her father and forgets it,.
I have forgotten my childhood, not just because of my father but because it was a bleak and unnecessary time. It seems that Dog-Woman knows that she has had a hard time due to her appearance, especially when she is older; she takes it in her stride and makes the most of it. She becomes a strong feminine character; she addresses a number of gender and sexuality problems, although they may not have been looked at closely at the time. Dog-Woman gives her opinion on men,.