sexing the cherry

Title :: Sexing the Cherry
Author :: Jeanette Winterson
Completed :: Feb 28 2008
Challenges :: 1001 Books
Rating :: 4/5

Are we all living like this? Two lives, the ideal outer life and the inner imaginative life where we keep our secrets?

This book while seeming a bit bizarre on the surface is actually a fabulous narrative on life and fantasy. I loved Winterson's historical facts and creative retelling of the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Sure they lived happily ever after but not with their husbands. Ha!

The story has two narratives, the female voice of The Dog Woman, an apparently grotesque woman whose skirt could be used to sail a ship, and poc marks big enough for fleas to live in. Yet she commands the respect of her adopted son as well as some of the locals, who are afraid of her. She doesn't appear to feel any remorse when it comes to murdering those who stand in her way or those who disagree with tradition. The male voice is that of The Dog Woman's adopted son, Jordan. She finds him floating along the river á la Moses and takes him into her care. Jordan eventually takes to sailing and leaves his mother to explore, inspired by the sight of his first ever banana. He also becomes obsessed with finding the location of the 12th Dancing Princess.

Like I said this book is a bit bizarre but it works. I think I liked it because there were a lot of humourous passages. These are just a couple of my favorites :

We file past every Sunday to humble ourselves and stay clean for another week, but I have noticed a bulge here and there where all should be quiet and God-like.

... I discovered from my time in the brothel that men's members, if bitten off or otherwise severed, do not grow again. This seems a great mistake on the part of nature, since men are so careless with their members and will put them anywhere without thinking. I believe they would force them in a hole in the wall if no better could be found.

This last quote sums up how I feel sometimes - I seem to always want to escape from wherever it is I am.

Outwardly nothing is changing for me, but inwardly I am not always here, sitting by a rotting river. I can still escape. Escape from what? The present? Yes, from this foreground that blinds me to whatever may be happening in the distance. If I have a spirit, a soul, any name will do, then it won't be single, it will be multiple. Its dimension will not be one of confinement but one of space. It may inhabit numerous changing decaying bodies in the future and in the past.

I felt this book was a lot different from Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit which I've since learned was actually a biography of Winterson's life. I'm curious to read more of her work. I think I'd like to check out The Passion, Gut Symmetries, The Powerbook, Lighthousekeeing and The Stone Gods.

Other Thoughts ::
: you're next - reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link!

. listening . hey girl . dashboard confessional . a mark, a mission, a brand, a scar .


posted by Ashleigh @ 13:15,


At 20 March 2008 at 14:30, Blogger Danielle said...

I love that last quote as well. I've not read any of Winterson's work yet, though I have several books on hand. I'd like to start with Lighthousekeeping I think.


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    ashleigh (ash'lė) n.
    1: egyptologist; currently living in the uk attempting to obtain a phd in egyptology, hoping in the end there will be a job.
    2: literary; reading to escape reality, to improve conversation, for inspiration.
    3: crafter; crocheting and needlework, creating heirlooms, keeping the world warm.
    4: dreamer; head in the clouds, full of fantasies, wishing to be someone else, somewhere else.
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:: recently finished ::
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: Written on the Body . Jeanette Winterson
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