Review: The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

25776011*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Title: The Gap of Time

Author: Jeanette Winterson

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Publication Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780345809179

The Gap of Time: The Winter's Tale Retold (Hogarth Shakespeare)

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “late plays”. It tells the story of Leontes, King of Sicily, whose insane jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter, Perdita, from the kingdom and then the death of his beautiful wife, Hermione. Perdita is brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of miraculous events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited. In Jeanette Winterson’s retelling we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crash, to a storm-ravaged city in the US called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, video games and the elliptical nature of time. It tells in a hyper-modern way, full of energy and beauty, of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and love, redemption and a lost child on the other.

—–

Winterson’s The Passion solidified me as an avid fan of her works, but after reading The Gap of Time I’ve become a lifer. I’m incredibly excited about this novel and I’m so happy to have the chance to review it for you. For any Shakespeare fans out there, The Gap of Time is a modern adaptation of The Winter’s Tale. This is a story that I was familiar with, but just in case you aren’t, Winterson provides a quick synopsis of the play to get you going.

This story is metafictive in that it knows it’s a fictional adaptation of a play. It acknowledges the original and moves forward to retell the story from there. The novel flows from a recap of the play, to the retelling, to an analysis and a brief history at the end. Her explanation at the end is as much a part of the novel as the fictional stories. It’s an identifying factor of metafiction to include interruptions from the speaker/writer, including footnotes or endnotes, or in this case, a discussion at the end. I am a huge fan of metafiction, but even more so when it’s accessible to a large audience. If you’ve never encountered metafiction before, this is a great place to start. The Winter’s Tale is a familiar story that’s easy to pick up and Winterson structures it in a fun and engaging way where the novel itself acknowledges its fictitiousness. It’s modern and edgy, and yet again shows how Shakespeare is a masterful writer whose stories are classics that apply in any age.  Some people may not find it relatable, but it’s a genre of writing that I’ve come to love.

I loved the characters and Winterson’s adaption of them. She brought Shakespeares creation into a modern setting. Set in our reality they are so extreme. They are violent and passionate in a way that makes the reader uncomfortable, but also connects us to the story. Leo is a loose cannon, blinded by fear of infidelity and a lack of trust, Mimi loses everything and loses her agency to the men around her, Perdita is full of life and love and is a unifying force.

I really enjoyed reading the latest from Winterson. I hope you do too! 🙂

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