January 21, 2005

A peculiar love story

Book #3 of 2005
Do all lovers feel helpless and valiant in the presence of the beloved? Helpless because the need to roll over like a pet dog is never far away. Valiant because you know you would slay a dragon with a pocket knife if you had to.
This mystical little book is set in a fantasy Venice during a fantasy Napoleonic war. Henri the goatherd enlists and finds himself working in the battlefield kitchens. He believes himself to be passionate about Napoleon himself, until he meets Villanelle, a cross-dressing croupier whose husband has sold her to the officers, and the only person Henri will ever kill for. But Villanelle’s heart is in an enamel box in the back of another woman’s closet.
It is a long time since I have read anything by Jeanette Winterson, but I instantly remembered her androgynous, erotic prose style and her deep belief in the hopelessness of love. This is another winding story with an intertwining dual narrative, and the city is as important a character as the eagle-eyed defrocked priest and the dwarf who looks after the horses.
I’m telling you stories. Trust me.


4 thoughts on “A peculiar love story

  1. Ohh I loved that book. I am thinking of reading Written on the body. Any thoughts on that?

  2. I haven’t read it. I have wishlisted The Powerbook, though.

    Karen on January 21, 2005
  3. Written on the Body is . . . wonderful. Beautifully poetic. I used to be an avid Jeanette Winterson fan, but have rather neglected her books in recent years.

  4. To my delight, I found The Powerbook in the library on Saturday!

    Karen on January 25, 2005

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