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Annabel [Kindle Edition]

Kathleen Winter
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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`Her lyrical voice and her crystalline landscape are enchanting' --The New Yorker

`This haunting, powerful story is about much more than the problems of being a hermaphrodite...This is a remarkable first novel, an accomplished debut by an exciting new voice with a confident, mature style' --Daily Express

`This [is a] finely executed debut novel...Winter is excellent, too, on creating a convincing interior for her characters without sensationalising Wayne's sexuality, and there is a commendable lack of voyeurism in her exploration of his identity...As an examination of a relationship between a child and his parents, this is a moving tale, told with precision and care. As a debut, it is almost faultless' --The Glasgow Herald

`Winter clearly loves all her characters, even the hopelessly misguided men, and she lavishes compassion and metaphor on them' --The Scotsman

`This is an astute examination of ordinary people confronting extraordinary dilemmas' --The Mail on Sunday

`It is the powerful sense of place that is the most successful element' --Times Literary Supplement, Roz Kaveney

`Kathleen Winter has the steadfast clarity and quietly assured talent to make this difficult subject her own...The descriptive prose is melodically poetic, marrying spare lucidity and sage observation...She is equally adept at using her idiosyncratic eye to create charming images...Winter has a strikingly mellifluous voice, and she has created a potent story exploring gender categorization and humanity.' --Independent

`Powerful and important debut... Annabel could be seen as a polemic because of the seriousness of the issues. But Winter is as subtle as she is candid and the occasional flashes of irony are gentle... It is too simple to say that Winter has written a story about a hermaphrodite. This is a human and humane book about living and the instinct to survive and to protect. It is also about friendship, parental love and its limitations... Her brave, intelligent novel is about a journey to truth.'
--Irish Times

`A powerful story... compelling and sensitively written' --Stylist

`It's loneliness, not gender, that lies at the heart of Winter's novel- a confident, serious debut'

`A heartbreaking tale ...Winter's novel elegantly allows for the awkward ambiguities of the situation.' --Marie Claire

`I read Annabel in two days thus breaking all my rules about taking time with my reading and having 'thinking rests', and I can't tell you how much this book has filled my thoughts since... Just occasionally I think I have to beg and grovel and say 'pleeeeeeeeeeeease don't miss Annabel'. It will be in my top reads of 2011 no matter how many good books follow... I am very much hoping to see this on tomorrow's Orange Prize short list.' --Dovegreyreader

`A powerful story...compelling and sensitively written.'

`Kathleen Winter isn't afraid to tackle a tough subject head on. Annabel is an extraordinary novel...I can't help hoping that Emma Henderson or Kathleen Winter might do it (win the Orange).' --Daily Express

`Winter writes beautifully, and the sensational side of the story is handled elegantly' --Saga Magazine

`funny and tender, charming and moving...a genuine pleasure to read' --The Lady


"Utterly original . . . A haunting story of family, identity, and the universal yearning to belong."--"O, The Oprah Magazine "
"[Winter's] lyrical voice and her crystalline landscape are enchanting."--"The New Yorker"
"Affecting . . . Winter possesses a rare blend of lyrical brilliance, descriptive power, and psychological and philosophical insight. Her way with fate and sadness recalls The World According to Garp, without the cute irony. A compelling, gracefully written novel about mixed gender that sheds insight as surely as it rejects sensationalism. This book announces the arrival of a major writer."--"Kirkus Reviews "(starred review)
"A novel about secrets and silences . . . What Winter has achieved here is no less a miracle than the fact of Wayne's birth. Read it because it's a story told with sensitivity to language that compels to the last page, and read it because it asks the most existential of questions. Stripped of the trappings of gender, Winter asks, a

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 472 KB
  • Print Length: 484 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0224091271
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (10 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004PGNH1Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #94,046 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written novel about special people 17 Mar 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This book took me to places I didn't know existed. People and the lifestyles in the provinces of Labrador & Newfoundland in Eastern Canada are so different to anything I have ever known, that initially I even wondered what time period the story was set in. It stated clearly that baby Wayne was born in 1968, but the hardship of his parents' life could have easily been a reflection of a 19th century rural life. The descriptions of the landscape, people's mentality, the climate and life in general were so detailed and beautifully written, I really felt that I'd been taken on a journey to a new country.
The characters around Wayne came to life, and I cared for each one, particularly his childhood friend Wally Michelin. Thankfully, the author gives recurring insights into the various characters' lives so that the reader isn't left to wonder what happens to them later on, or why they acted in a certain way; this changing third person narrative worked wonderfully, and even if there wasn't much action in terms of the storyline, the character development was compelling enough, and the very difficult subject matter of a hermaphrodite born into a rural, conservative environment handled sensitively. The book reminded me at times of the movie "Boys don't cry" but without the brutal visuals, and thankfully with a happier ending.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A possible Booker contender? 17 April 2011
Rose Tremain covered slightly similar territory to this book in her novel, 'Sacred Country'. While that novel portrayed the life of a trans-sexual person, this one tells the story of a child born neither fully male nor female, but both at once.

One of the things that makes this book quite different, though, is that it is set in remote, coastal Labrador, in the far north-east of Canada. The evocation of the ways of life of the trappers and the women in this community is excellent as is the wonderful sense of place. Also brought vividly to life, is the time period (the novel begins in 1968) and this is often done through reference to contemporary television programmes, food products and music: this was the era of 'The Tide is High', Caramel Logs from the sweetshop and the gameshow, 'Truth or Consequences'.

This is a novel about family love and community bonds. About the fierce, unconditional love of a mother for her son, Wayne, who journeys to become her daughter Annabel; the way in which a father, despite the traditional ways of his own upbringing, comes to a redemptive relationship with his child. It is about the power of friendship and reveals the ways in which people can be different from our initial judgement of them. It is haunting and deeply moving.

There are wonderful moments the capture universal experiences, such as this:
'Wayne's sadness over Jacinta was the sadness all sons and daughters feel when their ferry starts moving and the parent stands on the dock, waving and growing tiny. A sadness that stings, then melts in a fresh wind.'

One character, Thomasina, who travels to Europe and beyond, represents the wider world and it's sensibilities impinging on the smaller world of a remote community. The city of St.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Winter's Wisdom left me a little chilly 2 May 2011
The plot concerns a child born in Canada in 1968, described as a hermaphrodite, though the term we would probably use now is intersex. The woman who delivers the baby, Thomasina, is a key character in the book. Although the baby's gender is assigned as male and he is christened Wayne, Thomasina secretly gives him the additional name of Annabel after her recently-drowned daughter. When her baby is deemed to be a boy, Wayne's mother, Jacinta, feels that she too has lost a daughter, and her grief mirrors that of Thomasina's. Jacinta goes into a slow decline and Thomasina goes travelling to come to terms with her own loss, turning into some kind of free-spirited supply teacher who dips in and out of Wayne's life.

The characters are well described, especially Treadway, Wayne's father, a decent, hard-working man struggling to come to terms with something beyond his experience or understanding. His efforts to shore up Wayne's masculinity are poignant though ill advised.

The book is generally well written, but after a while I began to tire of the Kathleen Winter's faux wisdom and impenetrable philosophical musings.

This is Thomasina when she delivers Jacinta's baby.

`It was as the baby latched on to Jacinta's breast that Thomasina caught sight of something slight, flower-like; one testicle had not descended, but there was something else. She waited the eternal instant that women wait when a horror jumps out at them. It is an instant that men do not use for waiting, an instant that opens a door to life or death. Women look through the opening because something might be alive in there.'

What the ...? There are lots of passages like this. For example this comes at the very end (not a spoiler I hope).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable 15 Jun 2011
By CeeCee
Annabel is a moving and enjoyable read- set in the wonderully described Canadian wilderness. My only problem with the novel is that the last third is not as powerful, it loses its momentum. And the ending is all too near perfect. Not surprised that it lost the award for the Orange prize for fiction this year. Still, the author is on my radar as her writing style is plain yet utterly engaging.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Annabel
A very sensitive approach to a difficult subject. It was thought provoking. I also enjoyed the description of the Alaskan countryside
Published 5 months ago by Elaine Lee
4.0 out of 5 stars An emotional journey.
"Annabel" is a fantastic journey to the places that not every book dares to take us, and to the places not every reader is comfortable to journey to. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lola
4.0 out of 5 stars Annabel by Kathleen Winter
Very interesting story on a difficult subject. Feeling of isolation and difference evoked, but sometimes situation was implausible.
Characterisation very good. Read more
Published 12 months ago by C. M. Barnes
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and unbelievably moving
I really wasn't sure if I was going to like this book. It's not really a YA novel, as it covers Wayne's life from when he a baby until he reaches about 20; it sounded quite... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jo
3.0 out of 5 stars very different
Annabel is a very different sort of fiction. Kathleen Winter has pulled its readers into this wonderful story. Read more
Published 15 months ago by ireadnovels
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
Annabel tells the story of a family living in a remote town in Canada. The town is very male driven, with the men of each family going out to hunt etc. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Fiction_Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars A very thought provoking book
This book is very interesting, and gives such a powerful insight into the issues around gender. I felt so sad for this girl. Every teenager should read it.
Published 18 months ago by Janet Kraft
3.0 out of 5 stars Wimps out a little....
For a book that bases itself on such a controversial subject, I found it very frustrating that significant events in the story were skipped over and conveyed to the reader in... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jodie Gillligan
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly transported
Wasn't sure that I would like this book because I was worried that there might be a prurient edge to how the subject matter would be dealt with , but I was immediately transported... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Fi B
3.0 out of 5 stars ánnabel
good service, book as decribed and a good present for a friend named annabel. came quickly and well packaged. product as described.
Published 20 months ago by lb1
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Popular Highlights

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To Thomasina people were rivers, always ready to move from one state of being into another. It was not fair, she felt, to treat people as if they were finished beings. Everyone was always becoming and unbecoming. &quote;
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Cinema was one of the white man’s illusions to compensate for his blindness. &quote;
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Wayne’s sadness over Jacinta was the sadness all sons and daughters feel when their ferry starts moving and the parent stands on the dock, waving and growing tiny. A sadness that stings, then melts in a fresh wind. &quote;
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