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Sexing the Cherry (Winterson, Jeanette) Paperback – August 10, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Winterson, Jeanette
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reissue edition (August 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802135781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802135780
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 4.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Evoking modern physics and antique metaphysics, Winterson's ambitiously eccentric narrative challenges her readers to rupture the boundaries of conventional perceptions and linear experience of time. Her narrative voices, alternating between a Rabelaisian giantess and her foundling son, collapse at times into one another and the characters plunge vertiginously through time and space. On the one hand reworking fairy tales, and on the other evoking the filth, squalor and exuberant bawdiness of 17th-century England in the throes of civil war, Winterson ( The Passion ) eventually locates her characters in present-day London. Graced with striking similes and poetic cadences, the author's prose is clean and strong, and the disjunctive elements of her narrative are integrated elegantly. But the novel's freakish characters and flights of surreal fancy are insufficient to redeem its overwrought artifice. The work is further limited by its stridently dogmatic feminism, which, contemptuously belittling all men as arrogantly stupid bullies who are vastly women's inferiors in maturity and moral fiber, vitiates its ostensible intent to transcend the narrowness of human perception.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Bizarre images and bawdy laughter galvanize this splendid English farce about a prodigious giantess and her explorer son in 17th-century London. Jordan fetches the first pineapple to the court of Charles II, while his mother, The Dog Woman, wreaks vengeance upon Puritans in a brothel. The plague; the flying princesses who defy laws of the courts and gravity; Jordan's travels to the floating city and the botanical wonders of the New World--the tale nips easily in and out of history and fantasy. The two characters eventually merge into the grievously polluted life of modern London. Metaphors abound with polemics on environmental concerns and politics of past and present. Not for the Jackie Collins set: readers need a background in surrealism to follow this story.
- Maurice Taylor, Brunswick Cty. Lib., Southport, N.C.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Winterson encorporates beautiful analogies in her poetic style of writing.
Rachel Evelyn
There is no plot, the characters are unsympathetic, and it is extremely disjointed.
Amazon Customer
A decade after reading it, Sexing the Cherry remains one of my favorite books.
viking maiden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Megami on July 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
One of the first things that struck me about this book is how it was so similar to Virginia Woolf's 'Orlando'. Both books are based on the premise that time is flexible, rather than a linear progression, and both combine fantastical elements with historical fiction. They even both use the Thames as an allegory for main themes. Whether this similarity will put off other readers, I don't know, but I felt that it did not detract from the merit of 'Sexing the Cherry'.
This is foremostly a grown-ups fairy tale - there are dancing princesses, a giant woman, magic, towns dying of love. Set (mainly) in England at the time of Cromwell, the tale is told in alternating sections by Dog-Woman (the giant woman) and Jordan. Dog Woman, who is a loner living with her many dogs, discovered Jordan as a child on the bank of the Thames. They have some amazing experiences, though this is what you would expect to happen to such an amazing woman. This is a grown-up's fairy tale in that there is a lot of sex and violence (this book is not for the squemish!) Winterson explores some very 'heavy' topics, such as the construction of identity and reality, and the realities of time. However, this doesn't read as a deep book - it is beautifully written in places, and could be enjoyed for the prose alone.
There are modern day characters included in this story, and I didn't feel that this worked as well as the historical characters. However, this is a very good book. It is not particulary long, so even if you don't enjoy it, at least you haven't wasted your time wading through a thick tome! I would definately suggest that anyone interested gives it a go.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
It's been a few months since I read this book, but I want to comment on it and correct a few earlier comments made by others. The setting is neither medieval nor Elizabethan; it is the Cromwellian and Restoration periods of the mid-17th century in England, if indeed it is anywhere concrete at all. The story's hero, Jordan, weaves in and out of time and myth, encountering the wonders of the new world and the Twelve Dancing Princesses of the fairytale (each of whom have the opportunity to describe their failed marriages, some in surprisingly - suspiciously - modern ways). His foster-mother, The Dog Woman, is an astounding creation. Winterson manages to whimsically weave all these threads together; however, this book doesn't *quite* rate a 10. Most readers will be a bit bewildered by the time-travel near then end, and one certainly smells a Woolf in retrospect, but the trip is so much well-crafted and linguistically compelling fun that they shouldn't mind. One does not, after all, ask a magician how they do t
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Chicago Dreamer on September 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Thinking about time is to acknowledge two contradictory certainties: that our outward lives are governed by the seasons and the clock; that our inward lives are governed by something much less regular -- an imaginative impulse cutting through the dictates of daily time, and leaving us free to ignore the boundaries of here and now and pass like lightning along the coil of our time, that is, the circle of the universe and whatever it does or does not contain." -Jane Winterson
This work is an exploration of fantasy and reality -- and of which may be which. Starting out at a certain point in time, veering backwards and forwards from that point, and all along the way, sampling little vignettes about the situation at that point and of how fantasies might come to bear. What a magical journey of discovery there is in this wonderfully written work. What sparkling characters there are inside, with multi-faceted dimensions to each one. What a thought-provoking odyssey this book is, and what a fresh way to present these travels.
This author is exquisitely talented, and is eminently capable of producing wonderfully beautiful prose. Reading her words is a joy in and of itself. Her settings are bold, her characters are compelling, and she does not fill either her pages or her plots with minutia. This work is very much like an opera -- breathtakingly beautiful arias abound, strung together with plot-enhancing threads which glitter and glimmer. Take the journey, and savor it -- and think about the inherent themes and concepts. Highly recommended!
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By N. Wong on May 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Winterson has already stunned the readers with the blend of her power of imagination and lesbian narrative in the first book, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (winner of Whitebread Prize for the best first fiction). In Sexing the Cherry, she extends her talent and keeps giving the readers surprises. The beginning of the novel is set in the early seventeenth century with two major characters: Jordan, a young man in Renaissance England, and the Dog Woman, who is gigantic in size and adopts Jordan in the way Mosses is in Bible. With the author's fantasy, the closure of the novel brings the readers to the late twentieth century. Winterson uses less than two hundred pages of words to tell an amazing story which lasts for over three hundred years.
The book is about different kinds of timeless loves including the passion between a woman and an adopted son, the hidden gay desire between Tradescant and Jordan, the elusive but beautiful heterosexual love between Jordan and Fortunata, and also the lesbianism found in the reconstruction of fairy tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The novel is like a dream told with interruptions. The author alternates the narrative with two different points of views, which exposes the readers to the deeper thoughts of the characters while we are also shifting between different times and spaces. Sexing the Cherry is more ambitious more Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit in representing lesbianism. The reconstruction of The Twelve Dancing Princesses offers a feminist perspective in reading the novel. The dancing princesses are empowered by the author during the process of reconstruction to choose their own fates and rewrite the their predetermined heterosexual endings. Men are no longer the final destination of women's romance.
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