Jeanette Winterson || The Gap of Time

The Gap of Time is a retelling. It’s Winterson’s version of Shakespeare’s A Winter Tale. Winterson continues in a tradition well known in the Bard’s time, she also adds a very personal touch. One of the characters, Perdita, is a foundling, as was Winterson herself. I do not know whether it’s just the personal touch that made The Gap of Time utterly convincing, I do know that I wanted to keep on reading from the start on. Her foundling grows up in a convincing modern world, the main characters have been transported into another time without losing any of their credibility. On the contrary, I suspect that Winterson’s intelligent use of role models makes that we find them convincing in a way I doubt their 16th century counter parts did in their time and age. Leo, the jealous husband, is a mix between Sir Alan Sugar and Tom Jones. His ambition, energy and masculinity we encounter in series, film and video clips. Xeno, the supposed lover, is the prototype metroman turning out to be gay, Perdita’s stepfather Shep can be seen in any film or series about New Orleans, Atlanta and the likes. They appear to have been shaped on the basis of people we could know and thereby need hardly any introduction or character development in order to convince. Leo almost sizzles of the pages, Xeno floats over them and Shep is accompanied by the smell of gumbo and the sound of the blues. In her short novel Winterson manages to make you almost touch energy and ambition, contrasting it time and time again with philosophical lines that border on the poetic. As if a pensive story teller takes over. Only at the end the story teller turns out to be real: Winterson takes over her own tale. The contrast works. I found myself fastmoving through the ‘Leo’ scenes and wanting to return / slowly reread the more philosophical phrases. Winterson did not just retell A Winter’s Tale, she added another level to it. The Gap of Time is a valuable and precious recounting of an older tale. Winterson honours the old master, I suspect he would have greeted this elaboration on his own play with loud applause.

Gap of Time


About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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