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The World and Other Places: Stories Paperback – June 20, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (June 20, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375702369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375702365
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Her first short story collection exhibits the multitude of talents that have made English novelist Jeanette Winterson not just admired but beloved by her many fans. There are the surprising, fresh little phrases minted expressly to convey the delicate realities of the made-up world. There's the humor, fierce and sly but always kind. There's the imagination that changes gender and historical epoch at whim, and does so convincingly; and the characters themselves, a sundry bunch of men and women not necessarily successful or commendable but always, somehow, likable. Best of all, by their very diversity, these stories reveal glimpses of the smart and enigmatic woman behind the work.

In "Atlantic Crossing," Winterson becomes a middle-aged businessman of the mid-20th century, accidentally assigned to share his second-class cabin with a young black woman on a transatlantic crossing. In the realm of event, little happens, but in its depth of perception and what it tells of the nuances of regret, the story is as rich as a novel in another writer's hands. A few scant pages later, Winterson becomes a kind of lost female Homer, telling Orion's story from Artemis's point of view: "When she returned she saw this huge rag of a man eating her goat, raw.... His reputation hung about him like bad breath." In "The Poetics of Sex," she creates a lesbian love story that evokes her characters' personalities as explicitly as their erotic pleasures. "The 24-Hour Dog," the story of a woman writer returning a puppy she had thought to adopt, is remorseless as a psychological thriller in the squirmy depths it plumbs: "I had made every preparation, every calculation, except for those two essentials that could not be calculated: his heart and mine." Read The World and Other Places twice, once for instruction, once for joy. --Joyce Thompson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The detached awareness of Winterson's characters, with their biblically informed psyches and receptivity to the paranormal, make the 17 stories of this collection more proverbial than narrative. When in her acknowledgments Winterson (Gut Symmetries) thanks those who have "bought or bludgeoned" them from her, she's quite right: there's nothing fulsome here. Her spare gestures reduce prose to an eerie elemental state. In "The 24-Hour Dog," the narrator's encounter with a two-month-old puppy purchased from a farmer transports her: "The Sistine Chapel is unpainted, no book has been written. There is the moon, the water, the night, one creature's need and another's response. The moment between chaos and shape and I say his name and he hears me." In other stories, such as "O'Brien's First Christmas," the alien intrudes in the form of a midnight visitation by a tutued fairy on a downcast shopgirl. The feminist allegory "Orion" recasts the myth of Artemis and her predatory paramour; "Disappearance I" imagines a futuristic dystopia in which sleep has become as taboo as red light sex. Though the aftertaste of this unflinchingly provocative and stringently witty collection is somewhat bitter, Winterson's stories reveal another facet of a writer much acclaimed for her virtuosity and complexity.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend it as a habit.
meeah
If you love her novels, you'll most likely love her short stories.
CB
I find Winterson's writing and style utterly electrifying.
"blissengine"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading Winterson in a short-story form for a change. Working within the confines of a shorter structure lends unusual economy to her generally spiraling imagery; she's more direct and paints with a somewhat broader stroke. I was delighted to experience a wide range of perspectives on a wide range of topics. "The 24-Hour Dog" works on so many levels I want to teach it in a writing class. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting an introduction to Winterson, because here one finds some almost conventional works among stories of almost surreal bent.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on July 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Jeanette Winterson never fails to amaze me. Her stories -- an assortment of ambiguous genders and historical elements mixed with poetic and philosophical undertones and magical realism -- are true literary masterpieces. Having read The Passion, The Powerbook and Written on the Body, I thought I'd give one of her anthologies a whirl. The World and Other Places transcends Winterson's talents in gigantic proportions. My favorite stories are "Atlantic Crossing," "The Poetics of Sex," and "24-Hour Dog." The aforementioned stories are what Winterson is about. She humanizes situations that are otherwise seen as taboo subjects -- and she does so with wonderful literary offerings. I couldn't recommend this gem enough...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. S. Karshna on September 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Winterson's fiction is compelling because she teaches a little bit about the physical world while at the same time leading the reader on a spectacular emotional journey. She is like a naturalist of the inner life, pointing out highlights along the way. Her writing is so beautiful it may make you cry.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ellen C. Falkenberry on December 31, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read the rest of Winterson's in-print books this year, this volume of short stories proved a lovely, fitting end. Some were reflections found in her other works (Sexing the Cherry, Written on the Body), some were completely new to me. Just beautiful.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "blissengine" on October 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I find Winterson's writing and style utterly electrifying. These various stories, some of which delve into the theme of what one risks reveals what one values, explore a variety of worlds and lives. One or two of the stories didn't resonate with me as much as the others, but overall this collection is marvelous. From the lush "The Poetics of Sex" to the dazzling "Orion" to the delightful "Turn of the World", these stories border on fables, and reminded me of works by Emma Donoghue, Angela Carter, and Ben Marcus, among others. Such an invigorating assortment that is certain to gratify daring readers.
My favorite line is from the story "Orion": "She realised that the only war worth fighting was the one that raged within; the rest were all diversions."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
These stories have re-shaped me with a force equalled only by Salinger's intrusion into my late 60s adolescence. I think. Could be the touching detail and frankness of women courting and loving each other. Could be the tone-poem lyricism, prose style. Could be the spring weather or could be the news. Could be luck, but I'm impressed. Winterson is wide open and she'll likely open you up a bit as well, with love.
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By meeah on April 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
Delicately, as was her habit, the Countess Esmerelda was eviscerating her afternoon mouse. I was nibbling a freshly-baked madeleine. The sun was warm in the west-facing bay window of the cozy Park Slope brownstone where we sat sharing our usual pot of tea. The Countess lapped her cuppa from a bone china saucer decorated in a delicate Elizabeth Grey pattern. I sipped mine from a cup, of course. Life with a cat is a civilized life. We were discussing the short stories of Jeanette Winterson.

We had spent the better part of the last week reading The World and Other Places together. I did most of the reading. The Countess, preferring to save her eyes for her midnight prowls, permitted herself to be read to. And, occasionally, petted. She would curl up in my lap on the couch of an evening, or lie beside me in the four-poster bed, purring at the paragraphs that pleased her, hissing at those that did not.

Other than the reading itself, there is nothing quite so enjoyable as discussing a good book with a literary cat. I highly recommend it as a habit. Like most cats, Countess Esmerelda holds very definite opinions where literature is concerned--well, where almost anything is concerned--but especially on the literary arts. Her taste is impeccable. She is generally fair, if merciless, in her critiques. She'll claw to shreds, literally, a text she finds second-rate. Say what you will, she is, at the very least, as well-informed as your average graduate Ph.D. candidate in Chaucer studies.

***

She'd been an independent bookstore cat in the most recent of her many lives. Like most cats, the Countess seldom looks back to the past, but when she does, she recalls these days in particular most fondly. Mousing between the high-piled, ever-teetering stacks.
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Format: Paperback
The best sentence in this book is: "It is right to kneel and the view is good."

This is followed very closely by: "In my head I had a white rabbit called Ezra who bit people who ignored me."

I read this book when it first came out, then reread it a dozen years later. How lovely it is! Sometimes I am unconvinced by what actually happens in the stories - several dart too quickly to romance for my taste - but then I should admit I don't care very much what happens.

It's the way Winterson uses the form of the story to look around at the world that enchants me. Most of all, I love this book for the strength and surprise of its sentences, many of which are suitable for engraving on stone.

I suspect that, if you fed this book into a computer, the `readability statistics' would claim that it was written on a third grade level. The sentences are short and direct and apparently straightforward. The "simple" sentences make the complex ideas and images contained within them even more startling and effective. I shouldn't pretend I know how this is done - she is a magician.

Every story collection buries the weaker numbers in the second half. It's universal. This is the only collection I have ever read where I liked the later stories -- "Green Man", "Newton", "A Green Square" - even better than those that came before. What a lovely surprise!

How satisfying it is to move from one sturdy sentence to the next and be so often surprised. It is like being carried in a wheelbarrow to look around at wonders: "I stared at them, standing side by side, in an aquarium of content. Whatever they had, I didn't have it, and it wasn't cod."
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