by Jeanette Winterson.
Not what I’ve expected, still I haven’t expected anything in particular.
I lie. I expected amazement.
From the same author I read The Passion. By comparison, it was a better book than Sexing the cherry. Nevertheless, in a strange way what Winterson does is ART. The art of words and imagery, dim fantasy, game and perceptions cover the realms of her reality. Her characters are mythical, her ways are secret, her tales are obscene through a strange delicacy, her questions are profound, her answers are truth. This truth lies bare, all covered in metaphors somewhere in a timeless time. Like a poem, like a snake, like a mushroom, like a lake…
That night two lovers whispering under the lead canopy of the church were killed by their own passion. Their effusion of words, unable to escape through the Saturnian discipline of lead, so filled the spaces of the loft that the air was all driven away. The lovers suffocated, but when the sacristan opened the tiny door the words tumbled him over in their desire to be free, and were seen flying across the city in the shape of doves.
But my mother, who lived only a while and was so light that she dared not go out in a wind, could swing me on her back and carry me for miles. There was talk of witchcraft but what is stronger than love?
It is a true saying, that what you fear you find.
Men are never never to be trusted with what is closest to your heart, and if it is they who are closest to your heart, do not tell them.
I fell in love once, if love be that cruelty which takes us straight to the gates of Paradise only to remind us they are closed for ever.
The philosopher of the village warned me that love is better ignored than explored, for it is easier to track a barnacle goose than to follow the trajectories of the heart.
You may have heard of Rapunzel.
Against the wishes of her family, who can best be described by their passion for collecting miniature dolls, she went to live in a tower with an older woman.
Her family were so incensed by her refusal to marry the prince next door that they vilified the couple, calling one a witch and the other one a little girl. Not content with their names, they ceaselessly tried to break into the tower, so much so that the happy pair had to seal up any entrance that was not on a level with the sky. The lover got in by climbing Rapunzel’s hair, and Rapunzel got in by nailing a wig to the floor and shinning up the tresses flung out of the window. Both of them could have used a ladder, but they were in love.
One day the prince, who had always liked to borrow his mother’s frocks, dressed up as Rapunzel’s lover and dragged himself into the tower. Once inside he tied her up and waited for the wicked witch to arrive. The moment she leaped through the window, bringing their dinner for the evening, the prince hit her over the head and threw her out again. Then he carried Rapunzel down the rope he had brought with him and forced her to watch while he blinded her broken lover in a field of thorns.
After that they lived happily ever after, of course.
My own husband?
Oh well, the first time I kissed him he turned into a frog.
There he is, just by your foot. His name’s Anton