Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Jeanette Winterson: Gut symmetries

I have to confess that at the moment I am not sufficiently awake, creative and imaginative to fully understand all of what Winterson is writing. There is always a slightly unreal and of-the-mind-solely quality to everything she writes, and you need to be sharp to completely follow. Worst case scenario is of course that you simply scoff and label it as pretentious. That would be a mistake, because all that poetic discourse is firmly rooted in real emotion, real experience, real class awareness and struggle. She may soar into what you might see as bohemian fantasy, but she remembers acutely the scrubbed threadbareness of working-class. This gives what Winterson writes soul. I like her work even though I skim bits because of my own short-comings as a reader. Sometimes you know with whom the fault lies…. Right now my mind focused on the narrative mostly. At the centre is Alluvia Fairfax, an English physicist who has an affair with a married colleague and then falls in love with his wife, but the book spans the life of their parents too. I was also pleased by the theme of the philosophical nature of modern physics. I wasn’t aware of this when I borrowed it. It’s funny though, since several of the Le Guin short stories I read had similar themes. It’s not really what my brain can currently grasp, but I still like it, seeing as how physics for me is still school physics: very tangible and Newtonian, push and shove, reaction and counterreaction. This relative and quantum stuff sends the mind reeling and makes everything possible.

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