- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Grove Press (August 20, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802135161
- ISBN-13: 978-0802135162
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Paperback – August 20, 1997
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"A striking, quirky, delicate, and intricate work . . . Winterson has mastered both comedy and tragedy in this rich little novel. . . . Winterson's great gift is evident." The Washington Post Book World
"A daring, unconventional comic novel . . . by employing quirky anecdotes, which are told with romping humor, and by splicing various parables into the narrative, Winterson allows herself the dangerous luxury of writing a novel that refuses to rely on rousing plot devices. . . . A fascinating debut . . . A penetrating novel." Chicago Tribune
"If Flannery O'Connor and Rita Mae Brown had collaborated on the coming-out story of a young British girl in the 1960s, maybe they would have approached the quirky and subtle hilarity of Jeanette Winterson's autobiographical first novel. . . . Winterson's voice, with its idiosyncratic wit and sensitivity, is one you've never heard before." Ms.
"The overwhelming impression of her work is one of remarkable self-confidence, and she evidently thrives on risk . As good as Poe: it dares you to laugh and stares you down." The New York Review of Books
"An explosively imaginative writer." The London Free Press
"She is a master of her material, a writer [of] great talent." Muriel Spark
"Many consider her to be the best living writer in this language." Evening Standard
"The most interesting writer I have read in twenty years." Gore Vidal
About the Author
JEANETTE WINTERSON OBE was born in Manchester. Adopted by Pentecostal parents she was raised to be a missionary. This did and didn't work out. Discovering early the power of books she left home at 16 to live in a Mini and get on with her education. After graduating from Oxford University she worked for a while in the theatre and published her first novel at 25. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is based on her own upbringing but using herself as a fictional character. She scripted the novel into a BAFTA-winning BBC drama. 27 years later she re-visited that material in the bestselling memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? She has written 10 novels for adults, as well as children's books, non-fiction and screenplays. She writes regularly for the Guardian. She lives in the Cotswolds in a wood and in Spitalfields, London. She believes that art is for everyone and it is her mission to prove it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a YA book, but only for young teens if they are able to read thick, deep material.
setting was early industrialized England and deeply religious- Pentecostal. No cursing or overt violence, though there was a constant feel of certain reality complete w difficult, complex and at times oppressive situations. No graphic but descriptions of nudity or sex beyond kissing. the book does coitus it certainly made the implication. It happened. Once w a much older women and a young teen. Yikes.
The good first / but it comes w the bad
Fantastic setting. Wonderfully researched and presented historically w a main character that is very well developed and engaging. The book had flashes of brilliance and was compelling on a deep level but interspersed in the story are added in stories which I assume are meant to add color and texture to the main story but that I found far too thick and did not care for. It disrupted flow and nearly made me set the book aside. The ending was not the usual fare, but I liked it alright and it fit w the book as this is not the usual story.
If I could do less than whole stars 3.75.
Flashes of brilliance. Historically and religiously compelling / and so very well described and written. All of this broken up w extra story segments of distracting frustration. I liked the book. Liked the original and reasistic feel. Did not love it but I'm still glad I bought and read it
Jeanette Winterson had a truly strange childhood and emerged as a truly talented writer with an original and authentic voice that is heard on every page of this poetic and compelling memoir.
Winterson was adopted by a working class couple living in a poor town in northern England. Her father was a quiet, self-effacing man and is practically a non-presence in this book. Her mother dominates every page. A fundamentalist Christian and neglectful and sometimes cruel mother, she devoted herself wholly to her weird strain of Christianity. Winterson expected to follow in her path and became an enthusiastic evangelizer and preacher in her own right -- but her sexuality got in the way. Neither her mother nor her church could accept her lesbian identity and Jeanette was ultimately forced to leave the safety of the cult and find her own way.
There is a dogged but subtle working class humor in this book but it is always tinged with sadness. Winterson never quite rejects her upbringing -- in some ways she seems to long for it in all its nuttiness. But she cannot go against who she is, nor can she regard herself as evil.
Mixed into the narrative, full of colorful characters masterfully evoked, are poetic reworkings on fairy tales and legends that cast a light and a shadow on the story. Winterson has a real ear for dialogue which brings her northern folk to life.
Much of my reading consists unfortunately of cookie-cutter books that are put together either well or not so well but ultimately nearly all turn out to be forgettable. This one is unforgettable.
It would be unfair to label "Oranges" as a coming out novel because it is far more delicate and thoughtful than that. Better to think of it as a autobiographical bildingsroman like "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." If you're looking for lurid sex scenes, this is not the book for you. Instead it is an often hilarious account of religious zealots living in a slum in northwest England. Winterson writes reflectively about about her alter-ego's growing awareness of who she is and what will be her relationship to her religion, her family (mostly her mother), and her community.
Winterson starts interspersing fables into the narrative as her character becomes more aware of her difference. I found these unnecessary and distracting. To me they felt like filler for what is a fairly short novel. I would have been happier with the narrative without them and would probably have given the novel an extra star if she'd left them out. But the through story is a good read.
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The true stories are always the best.