imageA baby is found in a baby hatch in New Bohemia, America. But she wasn’t abandoned deliberately. She is rescued by Shep, a man grieving over his wife’s death who sees in her the chance to learn how to love again, and taken to live with him and his teenage son. unlike most babies in the night.

Before this, in London, Leo Kaiser is going crazy with jealousy. He’s convinced his best friend and his wife are in love and she is carrying his child.

What becomes of the baby? And can Leo ever find peace after his madness? Jeanette Winterson’s re-working of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale stays true to the structure of the original but it’s emotional resonance is completely different.

Sometimes setting Shakespeare in modern times ruins it but this time I think it’s actually improved it. Winterson masterfully blends cultures and legends together to create something so stupendously beautiful I am lost for words trying to describe it.

There is confusion, jealousy, comedy, tension, fear, love in all its forms and redemption. I chewed the hell out of my lip while I was reading it!

Her characterisation is brilliant, I know she is working with established characters but she exposed so much more of them. The jealousy felt by Leo and the love felt by Xeno are so multi-faceted. Perdita shows characteristics of both her biological and adopted families and Zel embodies the ignored teenager ready to create his own reality.

The supporting characters are excellent too, there was only one note of dissonance for me, which was right at the beginning when Shep’s character was introduced. Somehow the telling of him and his own voice didn’t quite match. But it was a small thing and as I got to know him better it mattered little.

Absolutely without a doubt 5 bites – buy it and read it now!

I was reading before I started school and I have no plans to stop now! I usually have at least two books on the go at once, one non-fiction and one fiction. I like reading books based in reality that flick open the doors to the mysteries of the heart or of the spirit.

2 thoughts on “The Gap of Time; The Winter’s Tale Retold by Jeanette Winterson

  1. Paula Clifford

    I have just finished reading ‘The Gap of Time’ by Jeanette Winterson. I totally agree with Bookeater Gem, this is a powerful and stylish cover version of Shakespeare’s ‘The Winters Tale’. Shakespeare left us with baffling spaces that our own imagination was left to fill. Jeanette tells us that the end of the play was “without explanation or warning” Shakespeare throws all the characters forward into a new life – “the gap of time”. She goes on to tell us that in the play the past depends on the future just as much as the future depends on the past. Jeanette therefore provides her characters with backstories which enrich her novel. I particularly enjoyed Mimi’s entry in Wikipedia. We learn all about her early life, personal life and musical career. Here Jeanette cleverly puts herself in her own novel when we learn that Mimi made her stage debut in an “adaptation of The PowerBook – a novel by the British writer Jeanette Winterson”.
    Having enjoyed this novel so much I am eager to read another in this series ‘Hogarth Shakespeare’. Have any of the BookEaters taken another bite?

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