The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson: Book Review

The Gap of Time: The Winter's Tale Retold (Hogarth Shakespeare)

Obtained: Penguin Random House Canada
Pages: 288
Publish date: October 6, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

When I saw that Jeanette Winterson was writing a cover of one of Shakespeare’s works, I knew I had to read it. Not only am I a huge fan of Shakespeare, but Winterson’s Written on the Body is one of my favourite books, so I knew this combination would be an interesting one.

The Gap of Time is a play on Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, wherein Leo’s wife MiMi is pregnant but he is very sure that the child is not his. Leo is driven to a dangerous level of jealousy, believing that his old friend (and old lover) Xeno is having an affair with her. Eventually, we get to see how this jealousy destroyed all of these relationships and how it left the baby to grow up in an adopted family that was likely more loving than her biological family ever could have been.

Having read The Winter’s Tale back in university, I was vaguely familiar with the original story (although it was a while ago, and we didn’t study it for very long), so I had some sort of idea what to expect going into this book. I love how Winterson was not only able to make it more modern, but was also able to play with these characters in a way she does best. The fact that in this story, Leo and Xeno were once lovers makes the dynamics of Leo’s jealousy really interesting.

One of my favourite things about the novel, besides watching Leo self-destruct, was reading about the baby, Perdita, and what came of her life with her adopted family. I also really loved the end of the novel where the theme of time really came full circle.

If you’re a Shakespeare fan, I highly recommend this book to you. Even if you’re not, and the plotline sounds interesting, I think you’ll find the book to be a very intriguing read.

The Gap of Time is available online at Chapters Indigo, Book Depository, and Kobo.

 

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