Sunday, November 1, 2015

Review: "The Gap of Time" by Jeanette Winterson

The Gap of Time begins with a brief synopsis of the play it's based on, Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. Since I haven't read the play, it was helpful as an introduction so that I could later appreciate aspects of the cover that specifically related, or deviated, from the original.

The Gap of Time is set in modern day, where Leo becomes obsessed with the delusion that his wife, MiMi, is having an affair with his friend (and former lover) Xeno. He's exponential paranoia leads him the belief that the child MiMi is pregnant with is not his own. Refusing to believe their protests or the wisdom of a paternity test, after the child's birth Leo hires a friend to take his baby daughter to Xeno. The baby, Perdita, never makes it to Xeno, and instead adopted by a single father and his son. Perdita has a few possessions from her past, but otherwise is unaware of what led to her adoption. After meeting and befriending Xeno's son Zel, slowly the truth comes out and all parties are taken back through the years to uncover what really happened.

From the description of The Winter's Tale at the beginning, it seems as though the plot line stayed pretty much the same. The names are all similar, or the same, which would make it easy for someone familiar with the Shakespeare version to pick up.

I mostly enjoyed The Gap of Time, but there were some areas where it felt like the theme was forced. For example, Xeno is clearly stuck in the past as he creates a video game to play out a mix of memories and dreams. Every time it was mentioned it seemed to be trying to remind us that the book is set in modern time (video game) and that there was more to the Leo and Xeno, Xeno and MiMi relationship but all of it was in the past and therefore untouchable, but also unforgettable.

The theme was also a little overdone in the more lyric passages, such as "the early separation of earth-moon, hundreds of millions of years before life of any kind happened on earth, had no reason to be the grand motif of our imagination. But it is" (122). For someone looking for a philosophical take on time in novel form, perhaps it would go over smoother, but to me it just got in the way of the narrative and took me out of the moment.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

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