Gut Symmetries

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Aboard the QE2 and under the stars, three lives converge. Two physicists - Jove, a married man, and Alice, a single woman - meet and commence an affair, only for Alice to fall in love with Jove's wife, Stella, a poet. Winterson captures all three sides of this triangle of desire - and the rich history that has brought them together - with her prodigious passion and intellect. Encompassing ideas that reach from the Greeks to the Grand Unified Theories GUTs of modern physics, Winterson incorporates the entire ...
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Gut Symmetries

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Overview

Aboard the QE2 and under the stars, three lives converge. Two physicists - Jove, a married man, and Alice, a single woman - meet and commence an affair, only for Alice to fall in love with Jove's wife, Stella, a poet. Winterson captures all three sides of this triangle of desire - and the rich history that has brought them together - with her prodigious passion and intellect. Encompassing ideas that reach from the Greeks to the Grand Unified Theories GUTs of modern physics, Winterson incorporates the entire universe from Liverpool to New York, from quarks to cosmos - in a novel of sex and the spirit, the real and the fantastic, male and female, science and religion, and love in all its frailty and excess.

Hailed in The Washington Post as 'one of our most important writers in English,' Jeanette Winterson has firmly established her reputation as an extraordinarily daring and original novelist. In Gut Symmetries, lives and universes run parallel in a complex contemporary love story set in New York and Liverpool, and aboard the QE2.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Alchemy and astrology, their philosophical similarities to quantum physics and hyperspace and a love triangle turned ménage-à-trois entwine in Winterson's acutely fascinating yet strained seventh novel Art Objects, etc.. Though Winterson sets up the tale with a gorgeous, elusive promise a "sister universe, contemplative, concealed, waits in our future... Can anyone deny that we are haunted?", the basic plot is straightforward, even predictable. While giving lectures on the 15th-century alchemist Paracelsus aboard a cruise on the QE2, Alice, a bright young physicist, meets Jove, a married man and more established physicist also on the lecture-circuit whose crowd-pleasing specialty is time travel. The two fall breathlessly in love and begin an affair. Back in Manhattan, Jove's wife of 24 years, Stella, is heartbroken to learn of the liaison in a letter from Alice. She agrees to meet Alice at the Algonquin, however. There, after a self-conscious, elliptical conversation, the two women fall in love. They soon include Jove in their relationship. The finale involves Jove and Stella getting lost at sea on a solitary yacht trip. Winterson's characters are more often mouthpieces for ideas than believable people. When Jove warns Alice,"I need time," Alice ponders Einstein's theory of time. Winterson's great talent and intellectual reach and originality are in evidence. but her crystalline prose is too icy for the passionate subject matter. Awash in beautiful intellectual lights, like phosphorescence atop night waters, this love story drifts too far from the loamy shores of the heart and the gut.
Library Journal
"Forgive me if I digress," says one character in this latest effort from the author of brilliant works like Written on the Body) but you can't. The premise is so promising, the QE2 is sailing from Southampton to New York, and with the narrator lecturing on board about Paracelsus and the new physics, the reader naturally expects the sort of time-bending episodes and cool cultural assessment at which Winterson excels that her failure to launch her own Ship of Fools is especially disappointing. A typically sharp-tongued and ambiguous Winterson character, the narrator conducts affairs with a husband and wife simultaneously (the husband, in fact, is a lecturer on time travel) but remains irksome and dull in the numerous platidinous observations that litter the page. Heavy-handed, humorless, and structurally fragmented, this is a grave disappointment from the talented Winterson. Buy only where her works are popular. Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
From the Publisher
"Brilliant ... [Gut Symmetries] scintillates with a language live enough to carry a wild musing on the largest issues of our existence." - The Globe and Mail

"Beyond comparison.... Few writers can contend with Jeanette Winterson.... She writes like a demon drunk with love, and if there's a sentence in Gut Symmetries that doesn't startle readers with its bravery and wit, then they're not reading hard enough." - The Chronicle-Journal

"Fascinating, provocative.... Jeanette Winterson proves she is as literarily nimble as she is intellectually stimulating." - The Montreal Gazette

"Riveting ... [Winterson] expresses the range of the human soul with startling ingenuity." - The Vancouver Sun

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679454755
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/25/1997
  • Pages: 223
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 7.83 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanette Winterson

A novelist whose honours include England’s Whitbread Prize, and the American Academy’s E. M. Forster Award, as well as the Prix d’argent at the Cannes Film Festival, JEANETTE WINTERSON burst onto the literary scene as a very young woman in 1985 with Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Her subsequent novels, including Sexing the Cherry, The Passion, Written on the Body, and The PowerBook, have also gone on to receive great international acclaim. She lives in London and the Cotswolds.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    Kizuna

    "This place doesn't have too many people..."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2013

    Base Drop

    You sick ba<_>stard

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Maka

    "So?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2013

    8471

    ?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    Masterful

    If you enjoy the texture, cadence and infinite possibilities of the English language, and have no qualms about setting your imagination free in unchartered territory, this book is for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2000

    A Lesson in Love

    This book changed my life, literally. There are so many instances where that phrase is misused, but this is not one. Winterson combines physics, emotion, kabbalistic mysticism and blind faith to create a love story unlike any other. Not only is it a love story, but it is a tragic one. All english majors know that nothing hits home like a tragedy, and this one is exceptionaly well done. The main characters each take turns explaining their particular origins and endear themselves to the reader through this. In the way which each relates their lives, even the most mundane subjects come to life with vivid imagery and lively metaphors. This takes the burnden of causing the inevitable tragedy off the shoulders of anyone human--leaving it in the arms of the universe. Winterson's writing style contributes greatly to the effect of her novel. Short, pithy sentences pepper the longer, philosophic and physics-related topics. Her mode of relating coversations is also especially effective. It corresponds well with the way people actually remember real conversations, lending a real dimension to this tale of magical-realism. As far as changing lives, the world contained within the pages of GUT SYMMETRIES opened up a part of my own mind that believed everything she had to say about the structure of the world. While not immediately believable, it made sense, in the way that love makes sense--it is there, you can sense it, but you can never prove it. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever even mused that there is a true connection between love, literature, mysticism and science...because there is and no one has yet described it better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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