Tuesday 4 March 2008

Jeanette Winterson

Read her book Oranges are not the only fruit, which I did not like. I'd bought it at The Ferret together with another one of hers entitled Art and Lies.
I am being stretched, her writing contains so much, both the thinking/feeling underlying it and the style, that I'm left a little breathless, as if I was walking with someone whose legs are longer than mine. She makes no concessions. Writing about the library in Alexandria, she puts in a half-page paragraph quoting Pliny the Younger in Latin. It doesn't feel as if she's showing off.

I haven't understood the shape of that book yet - its' subtitle is A piece for three voices and a Bawd, published by Vintage in 1995. The table of contents reveals that the three voices are Handel, Picasso and Sappho in alternation, but from reading up to page 39, I know that most likely the Handel and Picasso and Sappho are not the well-known ones. The Bawd has already appeared, called Doll. She is taking shape slowly.
All Winterson's prose is a kind of poetry.

I am also reading a translation of Julian Green's The Apprentice Writer, the title was irresistible, and I was in the section of the library that deals with translated literature. All wrong, I should be looking among the English poets. Next time.
In the mean time am enjoying Green who wrote in the 20s in France. I remember people talking about him, I wondered about the English name since he wrote in French. I read him before going to sleep.

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