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Sexing The Cherry [Paperback]

Jeanette Winterson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

6 Sep 1990

Sexing the Cherry celebrates the power of the imagination as it playfully juggles with our perception of history and reality.

It is a story about love and sex; lies and truths; and twelve dancing princesses who lived happily ever after, but not with their husbands.

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Sexing The Cherry + The Passion (Contemporary classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (6 Sep 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099747200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099747208
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester and read English at Oxford, during which time she wrote her first novel, the Whitbread award winning Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Tanglewreck, Jeanette's first novel for children, was published to great critical acclaim in 2006. In the same year she was awarded an OBE for services to literature.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Set in 17th century London, Sexing the Cherry is about the journeys taken by the boisterous Dog-Woman and her son Jordan: journeys across seas to find bananas and pineapples; journeys through time that weave snatches of the present with tales of Charles 1 and Oliver Cromwell; journeys in search of the self. As mothers go, the Dog-Woman takes some beating. She's a giant, wrapped in a skirt that could "serve as a sail for some wartorn ship" and strong enough to fling an elephant into the air. She's hideous too, with smallpox scars on her face where fleas live, a flat nose and black, broken teeth. To top it all, she's a "fantasist, a liar and a murderer". But her son, Jordan, is proud of her--who else has a mother who can hold a dozen oranges in her mouth at once?

Like the best of Winterson's writing, such as Oranges are not the Only Fruit and The Passion, the novel is engaging, ambitious and contrary. Alongside a hearty historical realism, young girls swoon in locked towers that don't exist, islands slip sideways in time and mysterious diseases wipe out towns and cities. Even though Sexing the Cherry is short, it is impossible to read it in a straight line--fairy tales and dreams run in and out of the text and it's hard to resist chasing them. There is an exceptional playfulness at work too--an unravelling of the most solid of historical facts and fantastically unconventional fairy tales in which princesses smash the skulls of their princes with silver candlesticks or become worn and grey "like old sweaters". --Jane Honey


"A book of innocence and bawdiness, fury and joy...needs to be read and re-read" (The Times)

"Read it and marvel. Jeanette Winterson's voice is startlingly original, and her imaginative feats are utterly dazzling" (Cosmopolitan)

"Simple prose shows the subtlest of minds behind it, swift, confident and dazzling" (Financial Times)

"Winterson juggles past and present, fantasy and reality, to produce an original and entertaining novel which invites us to re-examine our own perceptions of time" (Sunday Times)

"Her stories and characters levitate off the page into dancing life... A bold, bizarre and timely book" (Independent)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply Bizarre! 10 Sep 2007
This is msot definitly a book to make you think. Though it is blessed with Winterson's always spectacular writing, the style is very different. If you are looking for a basic structured novel simple telling a story, then this is not for you.
Sexing The Cherry is an unusual book, filled with numerous little tales that all add to the brilliance of the book.
Interesting characters, fantastic writing, and ideas to play on your mind, this book is truely unique.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal, dream-like and beautiful. 11 Jan 2000
By A Customer
Jeanette Winterson's "Sexing the Cherry" is a genuinely original novel. A short, incredibly dense collection of interwoven tales that never fail to amuse, amaze and enrich your understanding of the English language. This is Winterson's great gift - her wonderful command of the language which allows her to pull off 'tour de force' linguistic tricks that will leave you begging for more. The main part of the novel concerns the Rabelasian character of a 17th century giant woman in London, but there are frequent asides and passages set in the modern day. This book will change the boundaries of what you previously thought prose writing could convey.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fruitful read to say the least 14 Jun 2002
If you've never read any Jeanette Winterson before, this is a great place to start. It is very indicative of her style and will lure you into her unique literary world. The narrative is split between two very likeable, magical characters who let you explore their fantastically bizarre lives. Don't be afraid of the idea of a fantasy read; Winterson's dry, cynical humour and visual characterisation grounds the book in a way that means even if you start to think 'erm, just what's going on here' your laughter will drown it out. The novel tackles issues on time, gender and history and I would certainly recommend it to all English Literature students (particularly those studying magic realism and the Fantastic). Even if you're not academically involved, read this book to sweep you away from whatever you are involved in.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 27 Feb 2004
For me, this is Winterson's best work. It is a book I have read many times but never once tired of. Winterson covers a great many truths without making the reader aware of it! It reads like a wonderful, fluid story of wonder but reveals much more on closer inspection. Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful short novel 13 Oct 2008
'Sexing the Cherry' is a fantastic novel full of rich, beautiful dream-like imagery that you don't have to study literature to appreciate. Easily readable in an afternoon, the book left me hankering for more, as I have never read anything quite so vivid or easy to identify with. Well worth reading and re-reading!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different, in a good way 9 July 2012
Parts of this book are written as historical novel, about Jordan who becomes assistant to the King's gardener, Tradescant, and travels the world bringing home exotic fruits (such as the banana and pineapple), and his mother who played not a minor role in the Great Fire of London. The characters are larger than life with a wicked sense of humour, and the dirty, smelly London is vividly depicted.

Other parts of the novel float through time and space, meditating on the nature of both of these things, and passing through some unique interpretations of the fairy tales of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Rapunzel, and the Greek myth of Artemis and Orion. The characterisation in these parts was less rounded (more archetypal), but interesting nonetheless.

It sounds a bit bizarre (and it's certainly not a standard novel by any stretch of the imagination) but it reads well, and even made me laugh out loud in places. I preferred it to Winterson's more popular, perhaps 'easier' 'Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of Post-Modernism 6 Mar 2012
Sexing the Cherry is a post-modern classic of the highest order. Winterson mixes allegory and complex philosophy with such art that, even having read the novel four or five times, it is easy to miss quite a good deal of the beauty and complexity of the piece. As ever with Winterson, gender and sexual politics play a part in the novel but they are handled by such a likeable protagonist that you can simply chose to enjoy the story if you don't want to think to much. As I said, it is post-modernism of the highest order; an astounding piece of literature that is too often over-looked.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A meditation on imagination 25 Sep 2010
If you are literal minded and like a story to have a beginning, middle and end (and in that order), I would give this a miss.

The story, which is set roughly in the time of the War of the Three Kingdoms (often known, wrongly, as the English Civil War) and the Restoration, although it moves backwards and forwards through time, is ostensibly about the gargantuan dog woman's life and the quest of her adopted son, Jordan, for the twelfth of the dancing princesses. Really, it is more about the power of the mind to transcend the mundane, about the contradictions of life and love, and of the need to keep searching, even if you don't know what for.

There are a few comic scenes, the dog woman's encounters with men for example, and some more thought provoking ones. I thought that the novel was at its weakest when it was being preachy, for example when the modern (but much thinner) version of the dog woman is dreaming about what she will do about bankers and generals (not that I disagree with her, it's just that it didn't sit well with the tone of the book, the dog woman for example is much less interested in politics, having a simple faith in royalty).

The changes in perspective, and the zany digressions told in a matter-of-fact way make this a bit of a hallucinatory novel. I thought that it was both fun and thought provoking, and well worth a read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for what i needed it for university.
Very good to study. Not always easy to understand. Once i understand the book was about time travel that helped.
Needed to read and study it as part of my course.
Published 2 months ago by Shirley Asquith
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the greatest, not the worst
Sexing The Cherry is just one of those books you probably have to read twice to start appreciating its style. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Epu
2.0 out of 5 stars Sexing the Cherry
This was a present for my wife - the content did not appeal to me personally. I must say though, it was a much shorter book than I was expecting.
Published on 8 Dec 2011 by K Magee
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment Flowed From Every Page
Having just finished this sexist "novel" I suspect that the author was influenced more by "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" than by her own life experience. Read more
Published on 31 Oct 2011 by Mr. Mark H. Gallacher
1.0 out of 5 stars OMG, the worst book I have ever read....
If I could give 0 stars I would... This book was set as a book club read and, to be frank, that was the only reason I completed it! Read more
Published on 16 Oct 2011 by Rachel L
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful surprise
I was unsure what this title would offer but it was like nothing I have read before.

Filled with unbridled imagination, crammed with imagery and colour, this book is... Read more
Published on 4 Aug 2011 by Psipsina
3.0 out of 5 stars Speedy delivery, good condition, bad book
There wasn't any problems with Amazon at all. The book itself isn't great, I have to read it for Uni but I don't like it.
Published on 28 Mar 2011 by RockchikBecky
This book sexing the cherry is so offensive . I cannot understand why it is a set book on my course. Have we not moved on to an age where men and women are equal ? Read more
Published on 27 Nov 2009 by Julia.Julia
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the hype
After reading Jeanette Wintersons 'Sexing The Cherry' I have to say I wasn't impressed! I couldn't help but form the impression that the author was using the medium to serve as a... Read more
Published on 28 Oct 2009 by Mrs. E. A. Manuel
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A beautifully confusing, strange and fascinating collection of interwoven stories. The Twelve Dancing Princesses was fantastic. Read more
Published on 17 May 2009 by C. Tyas
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