The Passion (Penguin Fiction)

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9780140108316: The Passion (Penguin Fiction)
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Winner of the John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize , this psychological fantasty is about two disillusioned young people who seek to revive their former passions. The book is concerned with gambling, madness and androgynous sexuality amidst the dark, deceptive canals of Venice. Jeanette Winterson's first novel, "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" won the 1985 Whitbread Award for the Best First Novel.

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Review:

In 1985 Jeanette Winterson won the Whitbread Award for best first fiction for the semi-autobiographical Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, an often wry exploration of lesbian possibility bumping up against evangelical fanaticism. She was 25. Two years later, The Passion, her third novel, appeared, the fantastical tale of Henri--Napoleon's cook--and Villanelle, a Venetian gondolier's daughter who has webbed feet (previously an all-male attribute), works as a croupier, picks pockets, cross-dresses, and literally loses her heart to a beautiful woman. Written in a lyrical and jolting combination of fairy tale diction and rhythm and the staccato, the book would be a risky proposition in lesser hands. Winterson has said that she wanted to look at people's need to worship and examine what happens to young men in militaristic societies. The question was, how to do so without being polemical and didactic? Only she could have come up with such an exquisite answer. In the end, Henri, incarcerated on an island of madmen, becomes aware that his passion, "even though she could never return it, showed me the difference between inventing a lover and falling in love. The one is about you, the other about someone else."

From the Back Cover:

"An explosively imaginative writer." — The London Free Press

"A historical novel quite different from any other...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

"Recalls Garcia Marquez.... Magical touches dance like highlights over the brilliance of this fairy tale about passion, gambling, madness, and androgynous ecstasy." — Edmund White

"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

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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Jeanette Winterson
Published by Penguin Books Ltd (1988)
ISBN 10: 0140108319 ISBN 13: 9780140108316
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