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Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson

Sexing the Cherry (1989)

by Jeanette Winterson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (40)  German (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
A sometimes confusing, yet fascinating read, at turns philosophical and fantastical. "The Nature of Time" was my favorite section, particularly for this quote: Thinking about time is like turning the globe round and round, recognizing that all journeys exist simultaneously, that to be in one place is not to deny the existence of another, even though that other place cannot be felt or seen, our usual criteria for belief. 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 lighting along the coil of pure time, that is the circle of the universe and whatever it does or does not contain. (87) ( )
  allriledup | Aug 11, 2018 |
I picked this book up at a yard sale because I thought it looked interesting. It was. It's a hard book to describe - it
explores ideas about time and space brilliantly but it was hard to follow at first because the story jumps around (in time and space of course) before you know the characters. I had to go back and read the beginning when I was halfway through the book to get things straight. It's not a long book. Beautifully written, quite dreamlike and ephemeral. The musings on time and space are thrilling, somewhere between science and spirituality. I would give it 5 stars if it hadn't been so confusing at first.
( )
1 vote Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
Creative, a little all over the place, but I liked it.


Assorted quotes:

Johnson shouted above the din as best he could . . .

We were out at sea. Grey waves with white heads. A thin line in the distance where the sky dropped into the water. There were no birds, no buildings, no people and no boats. (p. 16)

We were all pleased to see the elephant, a huge beast with a wandering nose. (p. 24)

I fell in love at once, if love be that cruelty which takes us straight to the gates of Paradise only to remind us they are closed for ever. (p. 35)

He had eleven brothers and we were all given in marriage, one to each brother, and as it says lived happily ever after. We did, but not with our husbands. (p. 48)

His cheeks were steep and sheer, his mouth a volcano. (p. 50)

Then a stag and five deer came out of the wood and across the fields in front of my eyes. The fields were fenced and the stag jumped over, turning his head to bring the others. Just for a second he remained in the air, but in that second of flight I remembered my past, when I had been free to fly, long ago, before the gracious landing and a houseful of things.
He disappeared into the dark and I turned my back on the house. The last thing I heard was the sound fo the hunt clattering into the courtyard. (p. 53)

I never wanted anyone but her. I wanted to run my finger from the cleft in her chin down to the slope of her breasts and across the level plains of her stomach to where I knew she would be wet. I wanted to turn her over and ski the flats of my hands down the slope of her back. (p. 54)

Jordan was nineteen and stood as tall as my chest, which was impressive for a man not come out of my body. (p. 64)

The earth is round and flat at the same time. This is obvious. That it is round appears indisputable; that it is flat is our common experience, also indisputable. The globe does not supersede the map; the map does not distort the globe.
Maps are magic. In the bottom corner are whales; at the top, cormorants carrying pop-eyed fish. In between is a subjective account of the lie of the land. Rough shapes of countries that may or may not exist, broken red lines marking that are best hazardous, at worst already gone. (p. 81)

Thinking about time is to acknowledge two contradictory certainties: that our outward lives are governed by the seasons and the clock; that our inward ilves are goverend by something much less regular – an imginative 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 pure time, that is, the circle of the universe and whatever it does or does not contain. (pp. 89–90)

I needn’t have gone into pollution research. It’s odious in every way. Big companies hate you and continually set their in-house scientists to discredit your facts. Governments at home and abroad are very slow to notice what you say. Slowness is the best you can hope for, outright hostility and muddling methods are more usual. The earth is being murdered and hardly anyone wants to believe it. (p. 125)

I had sex with a man once: in out in out. A soundtrack of grunts and a big sigh at the end.
He said, ‘Did you come?’
Of course I didn’t come, haven’t you read Master’s and Johnson.
And then he fell asleep and his breathing was in out in out. (p. 127)

The future and the present and the past exist only in our minds, and from a distance the borders of each shrink and fade like the borders of hostile countries seen from a floating city in the sky. The river runs from one country to another without stopping. And even the most solid of things and the most real, the best-loved and the well-known, are only hand-shadows on the wall. Empty space and points of light. (p. 144)
1 vote | csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
This is a tricky book to read and understand. Obviously, Winterson is a leading apologist not only for feminism but also lesbianism so you can expect that to feature to a certain extent, particularly if you come to this from Oranges are the Only Fruit and The Passion. What sets Sexing apart is its style and setting which, with large amounts of 17th century magic realism, is a complete departure from anything she had previously written.

The novel is complex playing as it does with time, theme, character and plot to produce a continually shifting narrative where you really don’t know where you stand or who stands with you. This has to be entirely intentional bearing in mind Winterson’s beliefs that truth is entirely relative and that there are no fixed realities in life.

Pretty much anyone who reads this will find it to some extent disjointed and confusing and therefore uncomfortable. I’m sure she would rather agree that this is because we have bought the lie of our fixed reality rather than concede that the truth actually does exist and we work better when we know it.

The title comes from the grafting process whereby two female cherry trees, grafted together, will themselves produce a female which is hardier than the two parents and which, vitally (if that’s the right word) for Winterson’s mandate, does not require a seed to come into being. Thus, as with Oranges, the message that men are less than equal cohabitants of this planet comes across not only in metaphorical terms but also in their relegation to oppressive or minor roles.

Thus, the book, for me continues where Oranges left off with assumptive thinly veiled bigotry aimed at defeating preconceptions and prejudice. It thus fails to actually engage me in the issues that Winterson is undoubtedly hoping I will consider which, for someone so obviously talented a writer is a shame. Perhaps her later novel, Written on the Body, which I’ve yet to read, will finally get through this thick, male, heterosexual, conservative skull of mine! ( )
  arukiyomi | Oct 29, 2016 |
4.5 stars. I think this is my favorite by her, so far. It reminded me of Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber and a little of Calvino. And what a terrific writing style! ( )
  tstan | Sep 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
''Sexing the Cherry'' fuses history, fairy tale and metafiction into a fruit that's rather crisp, not terribly sweet, but of a memorably startling flavor.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeanette Wintersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kunz, AnitaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lammers, GeertjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leigh, DennisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Hopi, an Indian tribe, have a language as sophisticated as ours, but no tenses for past present and future. The division does not exist. What does this say about time?

Matter, that thing the most solid and the well-known, which you are holding in your hands and which makes up your body, is now known to be mostly empty space. Empty space and points of light. What does this say about the reality of the world?
For Melanie Adams

My thanks are due to Don and Ruth Rendell, whose hospitality gave me the space to work. To all at Bloomsbury, especially Liz Calder and Caroline Michel. And to Pat Kavanagh for her continual support.
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My name is Jordan.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802135781, Paperback)

In a fantastic world that is and is not seventeenth-century England, a baby is found floating in the Thames. The child, Jordan, is rescued by Dog Woman and grows up to travel the world like Gulliver, though he finds that the world’s most curious oddities come from his own mind. Winterson leads the reader from discussions on the nature of time to Jordan’s fascination with journeys concealed within other journeys, all with a dizzying speed that shoots the reader from epiphany to shimmering epiphany.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:09 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An imaginative tour de force exploring history, imagination and the nature of time.

» see all 2 descriptions

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