The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “late plays.” It tells the story of a king whose jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter and the death of his beautiful wife. His daughter is found and brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of extraordinary events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited.
In The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale, we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crisis, to a storm-ravaged American city called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, technology and the elliptical nature of time. Written with energy and wit, this is a story of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and redemption and the enduring love of a lost child on the other.
Jeanette Winterson OBE has written ten novels, children’s books, non-fiction works, and screenplays, and writes regularly for the Guardian. She was adopted by Pentecostal parents and raised in Manchester to be a missionary, which she wrote about in her first novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, and twenty-seven years later in her bestselling memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?The Winter’s Tale tells the story of Perdita, the abandoned child. “All of us have talismanic texts that we have carried around and that carry us around. I have worked with The Winter’s Tale in many disguises for many years,” Jeanette says of the play. The result is The Gap of Time, her cover version.
The Gap of Time 4.3 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
The Gap of Time is a brilliant contemporary rendition of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. MiMi, a famous singer living in London with her husband and son, is 8 months pregnant. Her husband, Leo, suspects that she is having an affair with his oldest and closest friend, Xeno, and believes that the child MiMi is carrying is not his. Leo has a bit of a psychotic break and tries to kill Xeno after a charity event. That night, MiMi gives birth to a baby girl who she names Perdita, which means little lost one. Leo still believes Perdita is not his child and decides to pay his gardener, Tony, to take Perdita to Xeno where he lives with his son, Zel. During this series of events, the first large tragedy strikes.
Perdita has been raised by Shep and his son Clo in New Bohemia, which used to be a French colony in Lousiana. She knows they found her and chose to raise her because they are black and she is white. They made sure that she grew up knowing she was loved and wanted because that is what Shep’s wife would have done if she was still alive. The story follows Perdita on her journey to find out who her birth parents are, though she repeatedly acknowledges that Shep is her father.
Admittedly, I have never read or seen The Winter’s Tale so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the storyline. I will also admit that I tend to go into reading modern renditions of classic or Shakespearean works with skepticism and high expectations. From beginning to end, Winterson did not disappoint! The characters are well developed and the plot is easy to follow, yet the story lost none of its Shakespearean tragedy and forgiveness.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.
For this review and more, please visit my blog at vicariousbookworm.wordpress.com
More than 1 year ago
Jeanette Winterson’s retelling of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale has the focus of a play with rapidly separated scenes, and the depth of a novel with smoothly drawn characters pondering cruel deceptions. The result is a tale that’s simultaneously distant and absorbing, set in places almost recognizable, and times almost recent, and drawing together thoughts and characters who seem ever almost familiar—especially if you know the play.
The author helpfully summarizes Shakespeare’s plot in the first pages, leaving readers to enjoy the satisfaction of character-spotting as the story progresses. Zel… now who could Zel be? Oh, I remember! But the novel is cool and satisfying not just for its adaptation of Shakespeare, but also for its presentation of big themes writ small in the lives of big people grown small—the irredeemable past redeemed at last.
Romance, of course, is a major theme in this novel, as are thwarted love, self-delusion and betrayal. But forgiveness rules, and balance sets the pace. From high-flying, board-room deception to low-brow, pastoral joy, from fathers unable to talk to their sons, to daughters who build up their fathers, and from no communication to the wordless promise of love, The Gap Of Time tells a powerful story, carries a wonderful sense of Shakespeare, and enthralls with thought-provoking mystery and plot. It’s a cool blend of deep and distant writing, and a really good read.
Disclosure: Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
More than 1 year ago
[This is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Project launched in 2015. My copy was a library book. Warning: this retelling of Shakespeare is adult in themes and language and on a good day, would be rated PG-13] Four Stars
"What's past help should be past grief." " Our habits and our fears make our choices"
Perdita, whose parents are unwilling and/or unable to care for her, while being delivered to another, becomes the child of a simple man and his son until something happens that changes everything.
Some have said a Winter's Tale is very "Seinfeldian" because nothing is at its center. Others say it is karmic: what goes around....". It is a tale worked and reworked whose ideas of relativity smack of Einstein and Orwell. Isak Dinesen embellished the idea in her own "Winter's Tale". Written towards the end of the Bard's life, it drags in the original and the tale is lost in the telling. I once saw it reworked as a courtroom drama where the story is told of how the past was prologue to the present trial.
Ultimately, it is the story of an adandoned little girl who, as she matures realizes that growing up as she did, rather than who she genetically was makes her a much better person. In this case, nurture wins over nature, and we all win in the end.
More than 1 year ago
The Gap of Time, is the story of Leo married to Mimi and best friend of Xeno. Mimi is pregnant with their second child, and Leo becomes obsessed with the notion that he’s been cuckolded by Xeno.
In this rendering of The Winter’s Tale, the story is set in modern day London and New Bohemia and the characters have the same or similar names to Shakespeare’s original. If you’re not a fan of Shakespeare, don’t worry as this is an easily digestible version of one of his later works. The book’s publisher, Hogarth, has launched the Hogarth Shakespeare Project a series of eight books all written by a different contemporary writer reimagining various of the Bard’s works. I studied some Shakespeare in high school, but not this particular play. Some say it’s a comedy, while others call it a romance. I think it’s a romantic tragedy with a happy ending. It’s a story of love and loss, but also hope. Jeanette Winterson has done a fine job with her immensely readable adaptation.
More than 1 year ago
The Gap of Time is Jeanette Winterson's take on the Shakespearean story, The Winter's Tale. I've never been heavy into Shakespeare, but I purchased the Barnes and Noble The Complete Works of William Shakespeare for casual reading. I've thumbed through a page or two from time to time, loving the work till I hit an incomprehensible paragraph or so. Thankfully, that did not stop me from enjoying this book.
The Gap of Time is the story of a powerful, wealthy man, (Leo) and his belief of his wife's (Mimi) infidelity, as well as the illegitimacy of her daughter, Perdita. His jealous rage brings him to send away the daughter, and cause the tumultuous end of his marriage and family.
Predita lives a happy life with Shep, the teller of the story. The POV's change yet doesn't harm the flow of the story at all. You either feel like a good friend is telling you a tale, or you're trapped, riding the tempest of a mad man.
*For more of this review: http://tinyurl.com/ppla996
More than 1 year ago
When I saw that this was a take off from one of Shakespeare's plays, I was so hoping it wasn't written like one of his plays. Then when I started reading it, I was like, oh no, it is. But, thankfully, that was just the first few pages of the book. I would have never got finished with the book if it had of been written like that through the whole book. Geesh!
I loved this book. It was such a good story! And it was a lot like the Shakespeare story except done in modern times. There was definitely a lot of sadness. It started out so lovingly and then bam, jealously sets in and the husband goes cray cray. So sad. He made life miserable for everyone around him.
Huge thanks to Crown Publishing and Net Galley for a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review regarding this very entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable read. I definitely recommend it!
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