Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

( 27 )

Overview

Jeanette is a bright and rebellious orphan who is adopted into an evangelical household in the dour, industrial North of England and finds herself embroidering grim religious mottoes and shaking her little tambourine for Jesus. But as this budding missionary comes of age, and comes to terms with her unorthodox sexuality, the peculiar balance of her God-fearing household dissolves. Jeanette's insistence on listening to the truths of her own heart and mind - and on reporting them with wit and passion - makes for an...
See more details below
Paperback
$11.98
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$14.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (62) from $1.99   
  • New (20) from $5.34   
  • Used (42) from $1.99   
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 26%)$14.95 List Price

Overview

Jeanette is a bright and rebellious orphan who is adopted into an evangelical household in the dour, industrial North of England and finds herself embroidering grim religious mottoes and shaking her little tambourine for Jesus. But as this budding missionary comes of age, and comes to terms with her unorthodox sexuality, the peculiar balance of her God-fearing household dissolves. Jeanette's insistence on listening to the truths of her own heart and mind - and on reporting them with wit and passion - makes for an unforgettable chronicle of an eccentric, moving passage into adulthood.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
A daring, unconventional comic novel...by employing quirky anecdotes, which are told with romping humor, and by splicing various parables into the narrative, Winterson allows herself the dangerous luxury of writing a novel that refuses to rely on rousing plot devices....A fascinating debut...A penetrating novel.
Ms.
If Flannery O'Connor and Rita Mae Brown had collaborated on the coming-out story of a young British girl in the 1960s, maybe they would have approached the quirky and subtle hilarity of Jeanette Winterson's autobiographical first novel....Winterson's voice, with its idiosyncratic wit and sensitivity, is one you've never heard before.
Washington Post
Winterson has the ability to fuse seamlessly the historical and the imaginary. Her lyrical prose penetrates to the heart of things without apparent effort. She knows how to speak plain truth and at the same time satisfy our longing for the fabulous.
Library Journal
Raised by an oppressively evangelical mother, Jeanette grows up a good little Christian soldier, even going so far as to stitch samplers whose apocalyptic themes terrify her classmates. As she dryly notes, without self-pity or smugness, ``This tendency towards the exotic has brought me many problems, just as it did for William Blake.'' Jeanette would have remained in the fold but for her unconventional desires; though she can reconcile her love of women with her love of God, the church cannot. It could have been a grim tale, but this first novelwinner of England's Whitbread Prizeis in fact a wry and tender telling of a young girl's triumphantly coming into her own. Highly recommended. Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''
The Washington Post
Winterson has the ability to fuse seamlessly the historical and the imaginary. Her lyrical prose penetrates to the heart of things without apparent effort. She knows how to speak plain truth and at the same time satisfy our longing for the fabulous.
From the Publisher
• "She is a master of her material, a writer in whom great talent abides." —Vanity Fair

• "Many consider her to be the best living writer in this language... In her hands, words are fluid, radiant, humming." —Evening Standard

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802135162
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/20/1997
  • Series: Fiction Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 149,863
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanette Winterson

JEANETTE WINTERSON OBE is the author of ten novels, including Oranges are not the Only Fruit, The Passion and Sexing the Cherry; a book of short stories, The World and Other Places; a collection of essays, Art Objects as well as many other works, including children's books, screenplays and journalism. Her writing has won the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel, the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, the E. M. Forster Award and the Prix d'argent at Cannes Film Festival.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Like most people I lived for a long time with my mother and father. My father liked to watch the wrestling, my mother liked to wrestle; it didn't mater what. She was in the white corner and that was that.

She hung out the largest sheets on the windiest days. She wanted the Mormons to knock on the door. At election time in a Labour mill town she put a picture of the Conservative candidate in the window.

She had never heard of mixed feelings. There were friends and there were enemies.

Enemies were:
The Devil (in his many forms)
Next Door
Sex (in its many forms)
Slugs

Friends were:
God
Our dog
Auntie Madge
The Novels of Charlotte Brontë
Slug pellets

and me, at first, I had been brought in to join her in a tag match against the Rest of the World. She had a mysterious attitude towards the begetting of children; it wasn't that she couldn't do it, more that she didn't want to do it. She was very bitter about the Virgin Mary getting there first. So she did the next best thing and arranged for a foundling. That was me.

I cannot recall a time when I did not know that I was special. We had no Wise Men because she didn't believe there were any wise men, but we had sheep. One of my earliest memories is me sitting on a sheep at Easter while she told me the story of the Sacrificial Lamb. We had it on Sundays with potato.

Sunday was the Lord's day, the most vigorous days of the whole week; we had a radiogram at home with an imposing mahogany front and a fat Bakelite knob to twiddle for the stations. Usually we listened to the Light Programme, but on Sundays always the World Service, so that my mother could record the progress of our missionaries. Our Missionary map was very fine. On the front were all the countries and on the back a number chart that told you about Tribes and their Peculiarities. My favourite was Number 16, The Buzule of Carpathian. They believed that if a mouse found your hair clippings and built a nest with them you got a headache. If the nest was big enough, you might go mad. As far as I knew no missionary had yet visited them.

My mother got up early on Sundays and allowed no one into the parlour until ten o'clock. It was her place of prayer and meditation. She always prayed standing up, because of her knees, just as Bonaparte always gave orders from his horse, because of his size. I do think that the relationship my mother enjoyed with God had a lot to do with positioning. She was Old Testament through and through. Not for her the meek and paschal Lamb, she was out there, up front with the prophets, and much given to sulking under trees when the appropriate destruction didn't materialise. Quite often it did, her will of the Lord's I can't say.

She always prayed in exactly the same way. First of all she thanked God that she had lived to see another day, and then she thanked God for sparing the world another day. Then she spoke of her enemies, which was the nearest thing she had to a catechism.

As soon as 'Vengeance is mine saith the Lord' boomed through the wall into the kitchen, I put the kettle on. The time it took to boil the water and brew the tea was just about the length of her final item, the sick list. She was very regular. I put the milk in, in she came, and taking a great gulp of tea said one of three things.

'The Lord is good' (steely-eyed into the back yard).

'What sort of tea is this?' (steely-eyed at me).

'Who was the oldest man in the Bible?'

No. 3 of course, had a number of variations, but it was always a Bible quiz question. We had a lot of Bible quizzes at church and my mother liked me to win. If I knew the answer she asked me another, if I didn't she got cross, but luckily not for long, because we had to listen to the World Service. It was always the same; we sat down on either side of the radiogram, she with her tea, me with a pad and pencil; in front of us, the Missionary Map. The faraway voice in the middle of the set gave news of activities, converts and problems. At the end there was an appeal for YOUR PRAYERS. I had to write it all down so that my mother could deliver her church report that night. She was the Missionary Secretary. The Missionary Report was a great trial to me because our mid-day meal depended upon it. If it went well, no deaths and lots of converts, my mother cooked a joint. If the Godless had proved not only stubborn, but murderous, my mother spent the rest of the morning listening to the Jim Reeves Devotional Selection, and we had to have boiled eggs and toast soldiers. Her husband was an easy-going man, but I knew it depressed him. He would have cooked it himself but for my mother's complete conviction that she was the only person in our house who would tell a saucepan from a piano. She was wrong, as far as we were concerned, but right as far as she was concerned, and really, that's what mattered.

Somehow we got through those mornings, and in the afternoon she and I took the dog for a walk, while my father cleaned all the shoes. 'You can tell someone by their shoes.' My mother said. 'Look at Next Door.'

'Drink,' said my mother grimly as we stepped out past the house. 'That's why they buy everything from Maxi Ball's Catalogue Seconds. The Devil himself is a drunk' (sometimes my mother invented theology).

Maxi Ball owned a warehouse, his clothes were cheap but they didn't last, and they smelt of industrial glue. The desperate, the careless, the poorest, vied with one another on a Saturday morning to pick up what they could, and haggle over the price. My mother would rather not eat than be seen at Maxi Ball's. She had filled me with a horror of the place. Since so many people we knew went there, it was hardly fair of her but she never was particularly fair; she loved and she hated, and she hated Maxi Ball. Once, in winter, she had been forced to go there to buy a corset and in the middle of communion, that very Sunday, a piece of whalebone slipped out and stabbed her right in the stomach. There was nothing she could do for an hour. When we got home she tore up the corset and used the whalebone as supports for our geraniums, except for one piece that she gave to me. I still have it, and whenever I'm tempted to cut corners I think about that whalebone and I know better.

My mother and I walked on towards the hill that stood at the top of our street. We lived in a town stolen from the valleys, a huddled place full of chimneys and little shops and back-to-back houses with no gardens, The hills surrounded us, and out own swept out into the Pennines, broken now and again with a farm or a relic from the war. There used to be a lot of old tanks but the council took them away. The town was a fat blot and the streets spread back from it into the green, steadily upwards. Our house was almost at the top of a long, stretchy street. A flagged street with a cobbly road. When you climb to the top of the hill and look down you can see everything, just like Jesus on the pinnacle except it's not very tempting. Over to the right was the viaduct and behind the viaduct Ellison's tenement, where we had the fair once a year. I was allowed to go there on condition I brought back a tub of black peas for my mother. Black peas look like rabbit droppings and they come in a thin gravy made of stock and gypsy mush. They taste wonderful. The gypsies made a mess and stayed up all night and my mother called them fornicators but on the whole we got on very well. They turned a blind eye to toffee apples going missing, and sometimes, if it was quiet and you didn't have enough money, they still let you have a ride on the dodgems. We used to have fights round the caravans, the ones like me, from the street, against the posh ones from the Avenue. The posh ones went to Brownies and didn't stay for school dinners.

Once, when I was collecting the black peas, about to go home, the old woman got hold of my hand. I thought she was going to bite me. She looked at my palm and laughed a bit. 'You'll never marry,' she said, 'not you, and you'll never be still.' She didn't take any money for the peas, and she told me to run home fast. I ran and ran, trying to understand what she meant. I hadn't thought about getting married anyway. There were two women I knew who didn't have any husbands at all; they were old though, as old as my mother. They ran the paper shop and sometimes, on a Wednesday, they gave me a banana bar with my comic. I liked them a lot, and talked about them a lot to my mother. One day they asked me if I'd like to go to the seaside with them. I ran home, gabbled it out, and was busy emptying my money box to buy a new spade, when my mother said firmly and forever, no. I couldn't understand why not, and she wouldn't explain. She didn't even let me go back to say I couldn't. Then she cancelled my comic and told me to collect it from another shop, further away. I was sorry about that. I never got a banana bar form Grimsby's. A couple of weeks later I heard her telling Mrs White about it. She said they dealt in unnatural passions. I thought she meant they put chemicals in their sweets.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2002

    'Oranges' Lacks That Certain Tang

    I think that it's going a bit far to call it a 'lesbian classic', since, to my way of thinking, the coming-out aspect of things is purely coincidental. I think much of the problem lies with the character of Melanie. If you're to be put through all that, exorcisms and ghastly mother and more or less be exiled, your lover should at least be worthwhile. The only thing I can remember about her (and even this might not be right) is that she had grey eyes. So much for the Muse! Not a lot happened, and I admit to being rather disappointed.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2003

    Good for a first novel

    It is easy to quickly summarize this book. We all know the drill. What is the place of homosexuals in the Christian Church? We all have heard the question because it is as poinant today as when Winterson wrote the novel (1985). It is a greatly intersting book for a hetrosexual like myself. Winterson wit and light touch make the book a quick read. We don't get bogged down in dogma or symatics. The book just poses the question, Can a girl love a girl and continue to love God?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2000

    brilliant first novel

    This first novel by Jeanette Winterson is a brilliant piece of prose that aches with the emotions of the characters. The humour is probably not for everyone. The struggle with sexuality in the novel is one that any gay person and many straight people could probably relate to as well. Winterson is a writer who in one sentence can make you laugh out loud and the next sentence can make you cry. Interesting use of fairy tales in this novel and their relation to common place, modern situations. She is a moderm day master of literature and I think it is well worth meeting her work through this novel and reading them in chronological order. I have read them all and there is a progressive feeling to them. The prose is gorgeous and all you need do is suspend a completely pragmatic mindset and allow her writing to take you on a philosophical journey.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    Wonderful

    This is an amazingly wonferful book. I love the story and the way it is written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    oddly written

    This book has no sense of time with random fairy tales thrown in. Very confusing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2001

    spoke as a true Englishwoman

    Although the book was not what I had hoped it to be, I don't think I wasted time reading it. I can't find any other novel I would be able to compare J. Winterson's style of writting to. I think that you can either love that author and her books or simply hate her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)