Friday, June 19, 2009
I had the chance of reading “Sexing the Cherry” seven years ago, when I had no idea how fascinated I would become over the British writer Jeanette Winterson.
The novel, recently published by Humanitas and acknowledged by the Sunday Telegraph as “entrancing and fabulous” tells the story of the Dog Woman and Jordan, the boy with the river name.
Their universe – London of the 17th century – becomes a universe in which the limit is established by imagination and the voyages become magical when they happen in our minds. Jordan, a dreamer, sets out looking for love and truth “I have set off and found that there is no end to even the simplest journey of the mind. I begin, and straight away a hundred alternative routes present themselves. I choose one, no sooner begin, than a hundred more appear” to discover himself , in the end, because “the future and the present and the past exist only in our minds.” Playing with time and catching a glimpse of the character in 1990 London, at the end of the book, are only hints of what Jordan uttered (and recurrent themes that Winterson often used – to see The Stone Gods)
The Dog Woman, a fabulous but also tender character reminds us of Rablais’ grotesque characters.
Besides the magic realism that features in the books written by Winterson in the ‘80s (The Passion is one of those), a constant theme in her writings is the one of the secret life, a life that happens beyond everybody else’s glances, whether they are real or imaginary.
“Are we all living like this? Two lives, the ideal outer life and the inner imaginative life where we keep our secrets?”
“Sexing the Cherry” is a novel that conveys the force to take us to a fairy land, a fairy land for adults, where returning home means finding yourself.
P.S. This essay was written for the contest organized by Humanitas and Vodafone.
UPDATE: I AM AMONG THE WINNERS OF THE CONTEST, YEEEY!