The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson, A Book Review

9780804141376ABOUT THE GAP OF TIME

The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “late plays.” It tells the story of a king whose jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter and the death of his beautiful wife. His daughter is found and brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of extraordinary events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited.

In The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale, we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crisis, to a storm-ravaged American city called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, technology and the elliptical nature of time. Written with energy and wit, this is a story of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and redemption and the enduring love of a lost child on the other.

My Review: Oh boy. How do I even say this? There have been many times that I haven’t enjoyed a book, and had to force myself to endure it for the sake of writing my review, but I do believe this is the first time that I was unable to finish a book. I had no choice but to put it down after forcing my way through the first 60 or so pages.

I went into this book unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, and I realize that this is a “modern retelling” but I have to imagine that Shakespeare would be appalled by this interpretation.

Before I get into my reason for putting this book down, let me give my one positive note on this story. The first chapter. The first chapter is about Shep and his son Clo. And, it’s beautifully written. I honestly don’t know how the rest of their story unfolds, and it’s a shame that I was unable to get to it.

From chapter two on, at least as far as I was able to force myself to read, the author uses the most vulgar, inappropriate, pornographic language and descriptions I have ever read in a novel. I am not a wimp and I can understand and appreciate tastefully written and descriptive sexual language in a novel when appropriate, but I’m sorry, this was disgusting.

As much as I hated to give up on a book, especially one I committed to reading and reviewing, I had no choice. There was no redeeming quality to be found in it.

I do thank Blogging for Books for giving me this copy for review.



A novelist whose honours include England’s Whitbread Prize, and the American Academy’ s E. M. Forster Award, as well as the Prix d’argent at the Cannes Film Festival, Jeanette Winterson burst onto the literary scene as a very young woman in 1985 with Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Her subsequent novels, including Sexing the Cherry, The Passion, Written on the Body, and The PowerBook, have also gone on to receive great international acclaim. Her latest novel is Lighthousekeeping, heralded as “a brilliant, glittering, piece of work” (The Independent). She lives in London and the Cotswolds.

One thought on “The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson, A Book Review

  1. Thanks for sharing your honest review of this book with us. Since I don’t care for gratuitous vulgarities and sexual references, I’ll be skipping this one.

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