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Book Title: Kersen kruisen|
The author of the book: Jeanette Winterson
Format files: PDF
ISBN 13: 9789035108608
The size of the: 15.34 MB
Edition: Bart Bakker
Date of issue: 1990
Read full description of the books Kersen kruisen:"People will believe anything. Except, it seems, the truth."
I am in awe of Jeanette Winterson's writing. 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.
"Sexing the Cherry" is all about the strange correlation between past, present and future, and the way human beings navigate time and space, physically and in their imagination. 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?
"And I sing of other times, when I was happy, though I know that these are figments of my mind and nowhere I have ever been. But does it matter if the place cannot be mapped as long as I can still describe it?"
"Sexing the Cherry" is a tale of love, crossing borders of time and space, linking people despite all odds. 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 on 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 all the time.
"Monstrosity!" - Well yeah, it is a giant woman. No secret there?
"Pregnancy!" - Thanks for the clarification, I would never have guessed?
"Gay?" - Do you know ANYTHING about Jeanette Winterson's fiction?
"Cross-dressing!" - A most beautiful reminiscence of Virginia Woolf's "Orlando", another traveller in time and space.
"Religion?" - Well, see note on "Gay?"
And so on. 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."
My reading partner underlined the fruit and wrote: "Penis!" Well, yes. 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. The banana in the story is so much more than: x-2=0, therefore x=2. 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 1633, I think, and never before had there been a banana in England."
So yes, it is a phallic symbol, and Winterson does not hide that at all, but it is also a symbol for discovering things you didn't know before, things that you have access to because the world has opened up. The book was written in 1989, 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!) that literally illustrates the multi-faceted story: there are little drawings at the beginning of each section, indicating who is currently telling the story. 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."
On that last day, however, when the family can't find words to express the love, and loss, and worry, he reflects:
"I tried to leave my peas till last."
Nothing more needs to be said about the effort we put in to show our love, the symbolic little gestures that are only understandable if you are part of that specific unit of love.
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!
Read information about the authorNovelist Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, England in 1959. She was adopted and brought up in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north of England. Her strict Pentecostal Evangelist upbringing provides the background to her acclaimed first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, published in 1985. She graduated from St Catherine's College, Oxford, and moved to London where she worked as an assistant editor at Pandora Press.
One of the most original voices in British fiction to emerge during the 1980s, Jeanette Winterson was named as one of the 20 'Best of Young British Writers' in a promotion run jointly between the literary magazine Granta and the Book Marketing Council.
Her novels include Boating for Beginners (1985), published shortly after Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and described by the author as 'a comic book with pictures'; The Passion (1987), twin narratives following the adventures of the web-footed daughter of a Venetian gondolier and Napoleon's chicken chef; Sexing the Cherry (1989), an invented world set during the English Civil War featuring the fabulous 'Dog Woman' and the orphan she raises; and three books exploring triangular relationships, gender and formal experimentation: Written on the Body (1992), Art and Lies (1994) and Gut Symmetries (1997). She is also the author of a collection of short stories, The World and Other Places (1998), and a book of essays about art and culture, Art Objects, published in 1995. Her novel The. PowerBook (2000) she adapted for the National Theatre in 2002. Jeanette Winterson's work is published in 28 countries. Her latest novel is The Battle of the Sun (2009). She has also edited Midsummer Nights (2009), a collection of stories inspired by opera, by contemporary writers, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Glyndebourne Festival of Opera.
She adapted Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit for BBC television in 1990, and also wrote Great Moments in Aviation, a television screenplay directed by Beeban Kidron for BBC2 in 1994. She is also editor of a series of new editions of novels by Virginia Woolf published in the UK by Vintage. She is a regular contributor of reviews and articles to many newspapers and journals and has a regular column published in The Guardian. Her radio drama includes the play Text Message, broadcast by BBC Radio in November 2001.
The King of Capri (2003) and Tanglewreck (2006) are children's stories. Lighthousekeeping (2004), centres on the orphaned heroine Silver, taken in by the keeper of the Cape Wrath lighthouse, Mr Pew, whose stories of love and loss, passion and longing, are interwoven in the narrative. Her most recent book is The Battle of the Sun (2009).
Jeanette Winterson lives in Gloucestershire and London. In 2006, she was awarded an OBE.
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