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Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

Written on the Body (original 1992; edition 1994)

by Jeanette Winterson (Author)

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3,337462,297 (3.99)103
Title:Written on the Body
Authors:Jeanette Winterson (Author)
Info:Vintage (1994), 192 pages
Collections:Your library

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Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson (1992)


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English (44)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
I love so many things about this book. In some ways it is a charmingly old fashioned love story, full of overwhelming passion and idealisation of the lover. The entire relationship just feels inevitable. It is also a sort of post-gender deconstruction of the power structures of romantic entanglements and highlights the problematic aspects of this idealisation. Beyond that Winterson is a beautiful writer- and a beautiful writer of sex without ever letting it feel tawdry or cheap, despite the situations the narrator finds his or herself in. ( )
  uemmak | Aug 9, 2018 |
Jeanette Winterson is definitely a prime example of why I continue to read books from the list of 1,001 books to read before you die. She is an author I probably wouldn't have found otherwise, yet I thoroughly enjoy everything I read by her. "Written on the Body" is no exception -- and may be one of my favorites by her to date.

Our unnamed narrator, which (given Winterson's own story -- told in memior form in "Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal? and in fictionalized form in "Oranges Aren't The Only Fruit,)appears to be a fictionalized version of Winterson herself, is more interested in the opening passion of relationships than buying in to a long lasting love. Until she meets Louise -- who is married, and dying. Our narrator believes she chooses love this time -- or at least the pining for it.

There is beautiful imagery in this book, which is about the ache and longing from someone who really isn't able to commit. At times it gets to a level of sap that is a tad overwhelming, but I generally enjoyed the places this book went. ( )
  amerynth | May 11, 2018 |
One of my favourite authors and this book is a departure in style from some of the others I have read. A book about feelings in relationships, with the main focus on love and the joy and pain it can bring. Rather than a fixed story, there are meandering threads which highlight emotions, I enjoyed this. I loved the fact that the narrator was ambiguous in gender, this kept me rethinking my reactions to what they did. It is a short book, but I deliberately put it down to savour it and give myself time to think about it. ( )
  soffitta1 | Jun 13, 2017 |
This novel is a treatise on love, lust, loss and grief. Mostly on love, though. That precise emotion that terrifies. Winterson's writing is also a precise emotion, by turns caustic, funny and beautiful. I loved almost everything. Only the ending let the book down. ( )
  missizicks | Oct 10, 2016 |
Winterson's use of the language is peerless and, if that were all I needed to enjoy a book, I would certainly have enjoyed this one. Really, though, I like a plot somewhere in my novels and there was none to be found here. This one just wasn't quite my thing. ( )
  turtlesleap | Jul 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
In the end, the narrator appears more touching than revolutionary. But that is no complaint. The novel finds its subversiveness in its central theme -- that love by its nature must make its own rules: "It will not stay still, stay silent, be good, be modest, be seen and not heard, no. It will break out in tongues of praise, the high note that smashes the glass and spills the liquid."
added by Nickelini | editNew York Times, J Shepard (Feb 14, 1993)
This fourth effort from British writer Winterson ( Sexing the Cherry ) is a high-concept erotic novelette, a Vox for the postmarital crowd. The narrator, a lifelong philanderer (``I used to think marriage was a plate-glass window just begging for a brick''), has fallen in love with Louise, a pre-Raphaelite beauty. ... One wonders, as Winterson intends, and then wonders some more. For Louise--and the narrator's love for her--never seems quite real; in this cold-hearted novel love itself, however eloquently expressed, is finally nothing more than a product of the imagination.
added by Lemeritus | editPublishers Weekly (Feb 1, 1993)
Like The Passion, Winterson's clever, prize- winning novel, Written on the Body seeks to dazzle the reader with self-conscious brilliance but cannot conceal its cruelty, the bloody chamber behind its opulent facade.
added by Nickelini | editthe Independent, Joan Smith (Sep 13, 1992)

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Jeanette Wintersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blaauw, Gerrit deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Peggy Reynolds with love
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Why is the measure of love loss?
What I wanted to do was to fasten my index finger and thumb at the bolts of your collar bone, push out, spread the web of my hand until it caught against your throat. You asked me if I wanted to strangle you. No, I wanted to fit you, not just in the obvious ways but in so many indentations.
Cheating is easy. There's no swank to infidelity. To borrow against the trust someone has placed in you costs nothing at first. You get away with it, you take a little more and a little more until there is no more to draw on. Oddly, your hands should be full with all that taking but when you open them there's nothing there.

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Book description
The most beguilingly seductive novel to date from the author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. Winterson chronicles the consuming affair between the narrator, who is given neither name nor gender, and the beloved, a complex and confused married woman. "At once a love story and a philosophical meditation
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679744479, Paperback)

The most beguilingly seductive novel to date from the author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. Winterson chronicles the consuming affair between the narrator, who is given neither name nor gender, and the beloved, a complex and confused married woman. "At once a love story and a philosophical meditation."--New York Times Book Review.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:02 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Written on the body is a secret code only visible in certain lights, the accumulations of a lifetime gather there. In places the palimpsest is so heavily worked that the letters feel like braille.

(summary from another edition)

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