Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson

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If you google the title on the internet, the first thing you learn is how Winterson’s “Pentecostal upbringing” influenced his first novel, supposedly “semi-biographical”. But beyond all gossip, what interests us is how skilfully Wintersone wrote her very first piece. It is a text upon which you can zoom in and out and feel equally comfortable; it has a great sense of place, attention to detail and characters are fully developed, rich and meaningful throughout the novel.  It is a book starting with an apparent easy plot; the story of a young girl growing up in the shadow of her domineering mum (a character full of contradictions that make her even more realistic) and her excruciating religious fervour.

Our main character struggles to please her mad and devout mother by agreeing to endless bible readings and theological discussions among other holy routines which involve evangelisation of the pagan, and the lot. However, this world of church-going, church-talking, church based way of life is excellently defined with almost organic simplicity and acceptance. Our main character, Jess, seems to follow happily her mother’s plan of making/producing a saint or a martyr out of her.

It is not until Jess falls for a girl her age that she starts actively questioning her own morals and values.

It is a love story, yet not in the traditional sense. Wintersone talks about motherly love, spiritual love and carnal love simultaneously. It is an interesting thesis about the excesses of love or the lack of love nesting behind devotion.

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson, Vintage – Modern fiction

// Julia Canosa es profesora del curso de Creative Writing del Laboratorio de Escritura

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