A 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!