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The Passion: Jeanette Winterson (Vintage Blue, 13)

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To survive zero winter and that war we made a pyre of our hearts and put them aside forever. There’s no pawnshop for the heart. You can’t take it in and leave it awhile in a clean cloth and redeem it in better times.’ A blind pedlar… never spilt his stew or missed his mouth the way I did. ‘I can see,’ he said, ‘but I don’t use my eyes.’”

Passion will not be commanded. It is no genie to grant us three wishes when we let it loose. It commands us and very rarely in the way we would choose.” A historical novel quite different from any other . . . it is written with a living passion, an eyewitness immediacy . . . Winterson is a master of her material, a writer in whom great talent deeply abides.”— Vanity Fair He was in love with himself and France joined in. It was a romance. Perhaps all romance is like that; not a contract between equal parties but an explosion of dreams and desires that can find no outlet in everyday life.” Absolutely stunning! I am in awe at this brilliantly written piece of literature. Part magical realism, part historical fiction, part romance, with two wonderfully original and endearing characters. Written in such beautiful, poetic prose. I was completely drawn into the world the author creates so vividly. An absorbing adventure, with characters taken to the extreme. A mystical complex story of pain, suffering and passion! The tying together of the two story threads was so well done. An absolute masterpiece. Kate Kellaway (25 June 2006). "If I Was a Dog, I'd Be a Terrier". The Observer. London. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014 . Retrieved 6 December 2008.Villanelle has been visiting Henri during his imprisonment, and they have continued their sexual relationship. Henri has been hearing dead people’s voices and hallucinating the cook strangling him, though Villanelle tells him to ignore the voices. One day, she informs him that she is pregnant and that she has plans to help him escape. When he suggests that they can marry after he escapes, she tells him she’ll never marry again—and that he needs to flee to France. She’ll take their child to visit him once the coast is clear. After this conversation, they begin having sex. Henri announces that he is Villanelle’s husband and puts his hands on her throat. She shoves him away. He begins crying. He refuses to escape when she comes to help him free and stops accepting her visits—though when she boats across the lagoon, he sometimes waves to her. The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson – review". The Guardian. 16 August 2013. Archived from the original on 4 June 2014 . Retrieved 9 October 2013. Speaking of words, there are some of the most beautiful passages on the idea of passion and love in this book. Winterson hits hard with some genuine gems: When Henri writes ‘ When I fell in love it was as though I looked into a mirror for the first time and saw myself,’ we see the way he has absorbed Villanelle into himself, with her own words coming out through his ideas as he writes this novel decades after the events that transpire. It is her explaining him to himself, even if she does not know it.

Henri spends his time in the madhouse writing, gardening and looking out of the window at Villanelle and his daughter who occasionally come near the island to be seen by him. "I'm telling you stories. Trust me." Update this section! I was happy but happy is an adult word. You don't have to ask a child about happy, you see it. They are or they are not. Adults talk about being happy because largely they are not. Talking about it is the same as trying to catch the wind.”Of course, Henri and Villanelle eventually cross paths. Their stories are full of love and loathing, revenge and murder, and although there are no happy endings, there are some understandable, satisfying conclusions.

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 They’re all different… snowflakes. Think of that.’ I did think of that and I fell in love with her.” This is the city of disguises. What you are one day will not constrain you on the next. You may explore yourself freely and, if you have wit or wealth, no one will stand in your way.’ I loved this book. It’s not long, and it’s an easy read (you don’t need to be a literary critic to enjoy it!), but the style and world are so marvellous, I wanted to linger. There is history and love, but it’s not a historical romance. Villanelle is the enchanting daughter of a Venetian boatman, working the casinos of this otherworldly city. She dresses as a boy to please the patrons of the gambling floor while assisting the dealers and lifting the wallets of the unsuspecting on the side. A dangerous love affair eventually catches up to her and Villanelle is the one that finds something precious has been stolen from her.

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Reading this early Winterson was similar. I’m not sure if it’s a good book, and I’m not even sure I understood it, but it was a rich, kaleidoscopic, and confusing carnal feast that I enjoyed. Villanelle will dress as a boy and work in a casino at a card table. In this way, Winterson explores gender fluidity. After all, her webbed feet were supposed to belong to the male boatmen. Villanelle enjoys the games of chance at the casino but we can see that this thrill…is it passion…bleeds over into her daily life. At the card table she meets her great love, a woman with grey-green eyes and dark red hair. Villanelle wonders whether to reveal her true gender. Jeanette Winterson pops up from time to time on BBC political debate programmes and she is like a laser beam of sensibleness, from a decidedly rad-lesbian perspective she cuts through the waffle and she's a joy to hear, Germaine Greer's punkier young sister maybe. But in her books she goes off on one, to coin a British phrase :

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