‘A shining delight of a novel’
New York Times
'Clever and beautiful...it soars'
A baby girl is abandoned, banished from London to the storm-ravaged American city of New Bohemia. Her father has been driven mad by jealousy, her mother to exile by grief.
Seventeen years later, Perdita doesn't know a lot about who she is or where she's come from - but she's about to find out.
Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale vibrates with echoes of Shakespeare's original and tells a story of hearts broken and hearts healed, a story of revenge and forgiveness, a story that shows that whatever is lost shall be found.
‘Emotionally wrought and profoundly intelligent... A supremely clever, compelling and emotionally affecting novel that deserves multiple readings to appreciate its many layers’
Mail on Sunday
'There are passages here so concisely beautiful they give you goosebumps'
'Pulsates with such authenticity and imaginative generosity that I defy you not to engage with it'
Even the most devout Shakespeareans have trouble with his late plays the ones where lost children reappear, the dead live again, and, with enough coincidences and unlikely events, King Lear level tragedy ends happily. Winterson (The Daylight Gate), however, loves The Winter's Tale so much that she's written a "cover version" of it in this, the first in Hogarth's Shakespeare series in which contemporary writers "retell" the Bard's plays. She replaces King Leontes with Leo, an arrogant English money manager; old friend King Polixenes becomes Xeno, a video-game designer. As in the play, Leo's conviction that the child his wife is carrying is not his but Xeno's results in broken hearts and ruined friendships, exile, and a daughter turned foundling, raised by a bar owner and his son in a New Orleans like city. But Winterson doesn't just update the story: she fills in its psychological nuances. Why would Leo suddenly decide his wife is sleeping with Xeno? Winterson's backstory can't justify his actions, but it does add fascinating context. And in her version, the violence, by turns comic book and terrifying, happens onstage, not off. It's fun to see Winterson solve the play's problems, but the book's real strength is the way her language shifts between earthy and poetic and her willingness to use whatever she needs to tell the story (angels, video games, carjackings). She makes us read on, our hearts in our mouths, to see how a twice-told story will turn out this time.