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The Powerbook [Kindle Edition]

Jeanette Winterson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.35 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

The PowerBook is twenty-first century fiction that uses past, present and future as shifting dimensions of a multiple reality.

The story is simple.

An e-writer called Ali or Alix will write to order anything you like, provided that you are prepared to enter the story as yourself and take the risk of leaving it as someone else.

You can be the hero of your own life. You can have freedom just for one night.

But there is a price to pay.

Product Description

Amazon Review

"What happened to the omniscient author?"

"Gone interactive."

While many other novels are still nursing hangovers from the 20th century, Jeanette Winterson's The.PowerBook has risen early to greet the challenge of the new millennium. Set in cyberspace, The.PowerBook travels with ease. It casts the net of its love story over Paris, Capri and London. Interactive narrator Ali is a "language costumier" who will swathe your imagination in the clothes of transformation. All you have to do is decide who you want to be. Ali--known also as Alix--is a virtual narrator in a networked world of e-writing. You are the reader, invited to inhabit the story--any story--you wish to be told. Like all the best video games you can choose your location, your character, even the clothes you want to wear. Beware, you can enter and play the game, but you cannot determine its outcome.

Ali/x is a digital Orlando for the modern age, moving across time and through transmutations of identity, weaving her stories with "long lines of laptop DNA" and shaping herself to the reader's desire. Ali/x wants to make love as simple as a song. But even in cyberspace there is no love without pain. Ali/x offers a stranger on the other side of the screen the opportunity of freedom for one night. She falls in love with her beautiful stranger, and finds herself reinvented by her own story.

The.PowerBook is rich with historical allegory and literary allusion. Winterson's dialogue crackles with humour, snappy dialogue and good jokes, several of which are at the author's own expense. This is a world of disguise, boundary crossing and emotional diversions that change the navigation of the plot of life. Strangely sprouting tulips are erected in place of the phallus. Husbands and wives are uncoupled. Lovers disappear in the night to escape from themselves. On the hard drive of the The.PowerBook are stored a variety of stories which the reader can download and open at will, complete stories that loop through the central narrative. The tale of Mallory's third expedition, the disinterring of a Roman Governor in Spitalfields Church or the contemplation of "great and ruinous lovers" are capsules of narrative compression. In Winterson's compacted meaning, language becomes a character in its own right--it is one of the heroes of the novel.

"What I am seeking to do in my work is to make a form that answers to 21st-century needs," Winterson wrote in "A Work of My Own". The.PowerBook answers these needs. Winterson's prose has found a metaphor for its linguistic forms of creation that feels almost invented for her, "a web of co-ordinates that will change the world." There will be a virtual rush of Internet-themed books in the networked noughties. With The.PowerBook Winterson has triumphantly got there first. --Rachel Holmes


"Gorgeously written, shockingly moving...a wonderful, unforgettable read. Buy it for someone you really love" (Mail on Sunday)

"Winterson writes with evangelical assurance, vaulting ambition, total control...witty, original, and good at what she does" (Observer)

"Winterson is a rangy pirate, a world-swashbuckler, a plunderer of stories, literatures and hearts" (Scotsman)

"Mischievous and intelligent, determined to provoke thoughts about love's reason, and its risk" (The Times)

"Brilliant, evocative writing... Winterson never seems to put a foot wrong... It is funny, clever, entertaining and wholly delightful" (Spectator)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 556 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375725059
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (26 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099598299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099598299
  • ASIN: B00CIXIW70
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #263,754 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Prose as we've come to expect from Jeanette Winterson - often breath-takingly lovely, hardly a wasted word and deft use of the magical and the bizarre to make sense of the real and the unreal. But, the novel, although markedly superior to much of what's currently being produced, serves only to augment themes and metaphors expounded time and again in her other literary offerings. As Winterson says, she's a "preacher" - and knows only too well how to use the 'motif' to good persuasive effect. But enough already. It's time for Winterson to shed the evangelical robes because her art is suffering. She may be able to climb out of gender, out of this time, through her fiction, but she needs to climb out of her pre-occupations and tell us a little less about herself. She need write no autobiography. 'The Powerbook' is not essential reading, unlike 'The Passion' and 'Written on the Body'.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grand Tour 4 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
This new book navigates the seas of fiction and love. As a piece of internet prose, it easily surpasses Matt Beaumont's entertainment 'E'. Jeanette Winterson explores the opportunities offered by the net, the wardrobe door that leads to many a magical land. The heroine of this novel flits here and there, choosing exotic locations as she pleases. However, much of this book is also based in the real as much in the imaginary.
There's an ongoing plot in 'The Powerbook', a very modern love affair. It's the beauty of the prose that is really outstanding though. Winterson goes to Capri and uses the funicular railway as a metaphor in a manner that seems entirely natural, unforced, but prone to gravity. For me, there was a certain amount of nostalgia, as Winterson explores the settings of my own adolescent vacations, from the Isle of Capri near Sorrento, the romantic flirtation with Paris, the exhilarating adventure of seedy London. 'The Powerbook' lives up to its ambition of being an internet novel, since we can all attempt the Grand Tour via the Net nowadays. It's always a delight to follow in an author's footsteps, see the world through their eyes. For instance, you can find the painting of his wife Saskia as Flora on the net by Rembrandt. At first sight, this picture seems too dark to be the image that Winterson describes, but it's a delight to look at the picture again through her prose.
There's a section here where Winterson seems to return to the 'real life' of 'Oranges are not the Only Fruit', and it's very compelling to find a horror of nothing, the fear of having to invent, the burden of having to create. It does seem, though, that Winterson has been following current literary trends, borrowing and embellishing what she fancies.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful to behold, but a familiar beauty. 1 Nov. 2000
I have lost myself in your words Jeanette, noone has done this to me before. But I fear that perhaps I have come to expect too much. My anticipation is too great, and I want to have my breath taken and my jaw to drop every time I read you. Indeed, all my well thumbed and much read Winterston volumes testify to the number of times my breath has been found wanting and my face gone slack-jawed. Alas The Power Book does none of these. The emotions and settings I know from you already, you taught them to me for goodness sake! Please teach me something new. I miss you.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm... 14 April 2013
Having read 'Oranges are not the Only Fruit,' I was surprised when I finished the Powerbook. It has next to nothing in common with Winterson's most famous work.

The premise of the novel is interesting; Ali (a e-writer with fluid gender) will give you 'freedom' by writing you into a story. Winterson appropriates historical tales, often narrating them from a previously marginalised perspective, around her original narratives of a couple in the throes of a passionate affair. I preferred the retellings of other stories to Winterson's own, though; she seems to be more interesting when speaking through another's voice.

Although I enjoyed reading the Powerbook, when I finished it I was left wondering, what was the point? Some of what Winterson says appears to be philosophical for the sake of it, rather than making any valid points. However, I will probably read the Powerbook again in a couple of years and see what I make of it then.
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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Something for the pseudo-deep 16 Aug. 2006
My copy has a quote from the Mail on Sunday review on the cover: "Buy it for someone you really love". I'd recommend that as no-one else is likely to forgive you for it.

It attempts to make something significant about different aspects of our lives - past, present, real and virtual, but doesn't really say anything except the obvious, which we all already know (that different aspects of our lives are linked because they are part of life). Worse, it overcomplicates in an attempt to imply meaning.

Some of the stories within the story are good and are the most interesting part of the book. But the bigger story, a love story, is cold and dull whilst attempting to be deep and exciting.

I found this book such a waste of time that it incensed me to write this review - my first as I am usually too lazy. Normally I would give my finished books away to friends or to a charity shop - but this is the first book I've thrown away. This is an extreme sign.

Ultimately, this is shallow and pretentious rubbish.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Every time I start to like it, it changes and I almost can't be ...
Every time I start to like it, it changes and I almost can't be bothered to continue. I did read to the end but I've spent my time with more interesting explorationships and more... Read more
Published 4 months ago by HallaW
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter drivel
Utter drivel from a fake, media-created self-hyping mediocrity. Like D H Lawrence, she regards herself as the best writer around [sic]. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Giles Penfold
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
I don't really think this is a proper novel, more a collection of dreamlike, poetic fragments of a story. Read more
Published 12 months ago by John W
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful..
Winterson's 'The Powerbook' is extremely interesting; it flows well, despite the fact that she jumps in and out of various narratives. Recommend.
Published 14 months ago by banks10
4.0 out of 5 stars Book
I didn't enjoy this book and found her writing a bit disturbing in places but you can't please everyone all the time can you.
Published on 24 Jan. 2013 by pen
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks
Sorry for a late review - had it delivered by someone and it took a long time. I'm very satisfied with the book and the quick, easy and professional transaction. Thank you!
Published on 1 Aug. 2009 by Agnieszka Prokop-Gostevs
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best
If you're hoping for another Written on the Body you will be sadly disappointed. This is not in the same league, despite a few similarities. Read more
Published on 29 Jun. 2009 by Phil O'Sofa
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious, pseudo-philosophical bilge
If I didn't have to read this for one of my modules this year, I wouldn't have continued past page 50. Although I loved 'Oranges... Read more
Published on 31 Mar. 2008 by H. M. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars A reward in the reading.
I had never read anything by this author before and came across the book by accident from another Amazon readers recommendation. Read more
Published on 25 April 2007 by W. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written...
This has to be one of my all-time favourite books! Jeanette Winterson has an amazing imagination and certainly knows how to put her ideas across in a way that is captivating and... Read more
Published on 29 Jun. 2006 by Alison L. Ball
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