Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

Written on the BodyWritten on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I highly recommend this book – that is, if you like prying off your toenails with pliers. It’s supposed to be a meditation on love – bollocks, it’s a meditation on stupidity. Here’s two people, they fall in love; one is married. Against all odds, they have the chance to actually be together – that’s right, an original script. Louise leaves her husband for her lover, they set up to live happily ever after, and it even looks as though no-one’s going to get hurt in the process.

The first part of the book is dedicated to the unfolding of this love story. Some of the most beautiful passages fall between these early pages. For example…. No. I won’t bother giving examples – just type Jeanette Winterson into the quotes section of Goodreads and prepare to be assaulted. If it’s about loving, lusting or losing, Winterson has every inch of the terrain covered.

But then, back to why it’s a meditation on stupidity (and taking care to skirt around the spoiler), after finally “getting the girl”, idiot protagonist goes and INVENTS a reason why s/he has to jump on a train and high-tail it out of there. Conveniently then, the middle part of the book can concentrate on building up convoluted, bewilderingly masochistic, not even particularly tasteful, memories of Louise. They’re like Pablo Neruda’s, glorious tribute to the female form “Cuerpo de Mujer” that’s been tragically and nauseatingly over-cooked.

Take this:
“As I embalm you in my memory, the first thing I shall do is to hook out your brain through your accommodating orifices” (translation? I’m going to suck your brains out of your nose???).

“My lover is a kitchen cooking partridge. I shall visit her gamey low-roofed den and feed from her. Three days without washing and she is well-hung and high” (translation? you stink, but I kind of like it).

So I’m on the fence with this one. Two parts really impressed, Three parts slightly disgusted.

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