Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gut Symmetries” as Want to Read:
Gut Symmetries
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Gut Symmetries

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  3,552 Ratings  ·  184 Reviews

The highwire artist of the English novel redraws the romantic triangle for the post-Einsteinian universe, where gender is as elastic as matter, and any accurate Grand Unified Theory (GUT) must encompass desire alongside electromagnetism and gravity.

One starry night on a boat in the mid-Atlantic, Alice, a brilliant English theoretical physicist, begins an affair with Jove,

...more
Hardcover, 223 pages
Published March 25th 1997 by Knopf Canada
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Gut Symmetries, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Gut Symmetries

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
beauregard
Mar 05, 2008 beauregard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
ummm i love this book and am about to re-read it.


"Do you fall in love often?

Yes often. With a view, with a book, with a dog, a cat, with numbers, with friends, with complete strangers, with nothing at all. I love widely, indiscreetly. I forget it is myself I am trying to love back to a better place.

Some people dream in color, I feel in colour, strong tones that I hue down for the comfort of the pastelly inclined. Beige and magnolia and a hint of pink are what the well-decorated heart is wearing;
...more
Michael
To me this is a delightful montage of a menage. A physicist couple end up having separate love relationships with a poetry-inclined woman, which shakes them all up. Despite the potential for the banal, the love triangle makes for fascinating reflections by the characters on the colliding or resonating relationships between quantum physics versions of reality and their own personal perspectives. Given that the whole swath of post modernist literature and much art of the 20th Century bears footpri ...more
lori mitchell
Jul 13, 2007 lori mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
beautifully written story about a complicated love triangle.


favorite excerpt:

"Stella turned towards me and crumpled my heart in her hand.

'Do you fall in love often?'

Yes often. With a view, with a book, with a dog, a cat, with numbers, with friends, with complete strangers, with nothing at all. There are children who grow up as I did, with the love clamped down in them, who cannot afterwards love at all. There are others who make fools of themselves, loving widely, indiscreetly, forgetting it is
...more
Ice
May 01, 2011 Ice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What can I say about Jeanette Winterson? That reading her is like watching a stone fall in a calm, clear pool. You can stay for hours just watching the resulting ripples.

The piece of Jeanette Winterson writing that I love the most is her short story The 24-Hour Dog. I read it while I was still in college and I've never forgotten it. I photocopy my photocopy and pass it on to friends.


Who wouldn't fall in love with writing like this?

If time is a river, we shall all meet death by water.

&

And aft
...more
Bar Shirtcliff
Feb 16, 2009 Bar Shirtcliff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Winterson fans, spiritual athiests
The prose seemed a bit on the experimental side, and not altogether successful. Addressing the reader directly is always risky, and I guess Winterson pulls it off here about as well as it can be done - but I guess I've never understood what that is supposed to add to a work of fiction. For me, it seems to be appropriate only in self-help books, manuals, etc.

That said, if you (yes, YOU) can maintain your concentration through heaps of sometimes too-repetitive, too-silly stuff, there are some gems
...more
Julie
Jul 07, 2009 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Meredith S.
One of the most lyrical prose writers to be writing. Winterson's writing is fast, rhythmic, and at the same time poetic and akin to Virginia Woolf's stream of consciousness stylings. It is delicious pleasure to read. The plot of Gut Symmetries is fascinating and gripping in the most punctually unusual but perfect way. Definitely five stars.
Peter Chandler
Aug 30, 2010 Peter Chandler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jeanette Winterson's prose is truly a sublime thing. Words of lyrical beauty that wrap themselves about you and move within you, resonant with living colour and poetic meaning. That intense beauty though does somewhat serve to render in starker contrast the one or two minor things of the book that didn't quite sit so well with me. Particularly when it comes to the (sort of) happy ending and the exceptional coincidences that may work in terms of the book are just a bit too neat, and come in too s ...more
Tori
Jul 27, 2016 Tori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgb
This is the best book I've read in my life
Polly Theedom
May 19, 2016 Polly Theedom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I've read this book. It's heady and mad. Delicate, strong and totally flawed characters. Mystical and scientific. That's what I love about Jeanette Winterson, really; she weaves these magic stories into reality with a presumption that we'll just get on board with it. I'm well on board with it. Saying that, I think other novels of hers are better. Oranges are not the Only Fruit and Written on the Body, to name a couple.
Iiris Onerva
I feel like the book only started about halfway through - as if for the first half it mainly consisted of saying "I'll tell you a story, just a minute, I'll tell you a story and it's really good and deep and stuff, trust me, I'll get to it in a minute" and then the storyteller sort of fiddled around for a hundred pages and then finally it got on with the actual story but even though it was a good story it didn't always quite meet the build-up and I have no idea why there was a build-up anyway. I ...more
pearl
I forgot I even read this! Which says less about the quality of the book than the reliability of my memory. In any case it was not Winterson's best but still enjoyable. It has the remarkable quality of being a short book though feeling like a much longer and swirling sort of read than it is. My only regret was that I sometimes got lost in the physics-talk, did not particularly engage with Jove's or Stella's back-story, and wished only for more Alice & Stella, because of course, I'm like that ...more
Tiah
– What is that you contain? –
The Dead. Time. Light patterns of millennia. The expanding universe opening in your gut. Are you twenty-three feet of intestines loaded with stars? –

– I cannot assume you will understand me. It is just as likely that as I invent what I want to say, you will invent what you want to hear. Some story we must have. Stray words on crumpled paper. A weak signal into the outer space of each other. –

– She had been well educated and taught to conceal it. She never gave up
...more
J.T. Wilson
Highly-strung physicist Alice starts an affair with rapacious older professor Jove during a teaching assignment on the QE2. When news of the affair reaches Jove's wife Stella, the women meet and find themselves in a relationship too. They have to make a decision, and it seems that only a yachting trip will split the triangle for good - but in what direction?

Yes, it's another fictional portrayal of polyamory where the trifecta is triggered by the male's philandering and is driven by guilt, deceit
...more
Dianna
Mar 24, 2009 Dianna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i'm only a chapter or two in and i'm already losing interest. what others seem to find poetic about the language, i'm finding overly purple and obtuse. i kept wanting to roll my eyes. i guess jeanette winterson is not my thing.
Serafina Sands
"Like" may not be the correct word for how I felt about this book, but I certainly found it unique and interesting. Gut symmetries refers not only to the parallels and symmetries of love and relationships in the book, but also to "GUT" in the physics sense of the search for a general unifying theory that will explain the nature of the 80 - 90% of the universe that isn't actually explained by the Standard Model. Winterson's writing is . . .

"Time.
Newton visualized time as an arrow flying towards
...more
Deborah
Jan 18, 2015 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eye-opening read.

“The most interesting young writer I have read in 20 years.” - Gore Vidal

To betray with a kiss. The reek of Judas.
Nothing. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, love to love.

I come from a people to whom the invisible world is everyday present.

I can’t go back into the past and change it, but I have noticed that the future changes the past. What I call the past is my memory of it and my memory is conditioned by who I am now. Who I will be. The only way for me to handle what is happening i
...more
Monique
Dec 20, 2014 Monique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and fabulous tale of origins, of love, of the queerness of time. Winterson weaves in theories of quantum physics and particle physics, playing on the concept of wave functions and drawing on ideas of synchronicity, to tell a tale of infidelity that becomes a three way romance. The language is queer, questioning, the structure challenging and dreamlike. It is a fascinating experimental book with some laugh out loud conceptual moments. It burrows deep into the mystical psychologies o ...more
Coffee
Mar 11, 2014 Coffee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
I have been bewitched by the most beautiful read that has ever happened to me. I won't be able to write down what, why and how but this book is going to be my lifelong favorite! I am glad i found the love.

Memories:

I said 'You are the future.'
He said 'Does time wear a watch?'

What a fashion opportunity. While the physics fraternity are just beginning to wrestle with the implications of time travel, the travellers are worrying about what to wear. The world is ready for Ralph Lauren Mediaeval.

Jove
...more
Chinook
Quotes for a review never written:

"Forgive me if I digress. I cannot tell you who I am unless I tell you why I am. I cannot help you to take a measurement until we both know where we stand.

This is the difficulty. Now that physics is proving the intelligence of the universe what are we to do about the stupidity of humankind? I include myself. I know that the earth is not flat but my feet are. I know that space is curved but my brain has been cordoned by habit to grow in a straight line. What I c
...more
Peter Chandler
Aug 30, 2010 Peter Chandler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jeanette Winterson's prose is truly a sublime thing. Words of lyrical beauty that wrap themselves about you and move within you, resonant with living colour and poetic meaning. That intense beauty though does somewhat serve to render in starker contrast the one or two minor things of the book that didn't quite sit so well with me. Particularly when it comes to the (sort of) happy ending and the exceptional coincidences that may work in terms of the book are just a bit too neat, and come in too s ...more
Evan
Oct 15, 2007 Evan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes Jeanette Winterson
I'm in a phase where I am reading all J.W.'s work and trying to do so in order of publication. That being said she revisits sentences and themes. Her work builds on itself even though the characters and stories are different and I like that. This story is about Jove and his wife Stella and his mistress Alice. After Stella finds out about the affair, she and Alice meet and begin an affair of their own. The book tells the stories of each of their parents also and their are some interesting connect ...more
Tony
Schrödinger's cat discovers Kabbalah in a non-Euclidian love triangle of alchemy and cannibalism. But then, you don't really read Jeanette Winterson for the plot, do you? Not so much written on the body this time, but written in the gut (or, indeed the GUT), but still exploring why the measure of love is loss, whilst seeking the aesthetic solution (which must exist, as it always does) to the toughest problems of all. Describing it as “experimental” is somewhat tautological with Winterson, but th ...more
Jill
Feb 13, 2013 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heartstopping
Anything I write will make me/my experience with this book sound trite, so I'll just say one thing and then let Jeanette Winterson explain my feelings, as she seems to be uniquely capable of doing.

1) I have not lived a text as deeply/viscerally as I did this one in so, so long. I knew from five pages in that I was reading a five star book.

2)"They were letting off fireworks down at the waterfront, the sky exploding in grenades of colour. Whatever it is that pulls the pin, that hurls you past the
...more
Karly
Jan 20, 2016 Karly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was okay. The story was interesting enough at times but overall it was way too existential for me. Don't get me wrong, I love a good bit of existential reasoning and reflection but only when it is done subtly and intricately within the story. This was just like a big ol' slap to the face.
laura
Dec 24, 2007 laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is an intriguing novel in the sense that it often reads as a quantum physics text but always in the service of a larger romantic agenda. If understanding the connection between gravity and love isn't your thang, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. That said, Winterson throws some quality quotes in there that would look good on your fridge or facebook, and this was my main source of enjoyment.

If you like Winterson's style, I would highly recommend "Written on the Body" instead.
Andy
Dec 31, 2015 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gut Symmetries was not a straight forward read, but it was all the more enjoyable before that. Focusing on the relationship between the wife and and mistress of a professor, it jumps between different narrators without explicitly announcing whose voice is speaking. The characters are complex, and the relationships, which begin as cliches of the young new lover and the forgotten wife are slowly but surely turned on their heads to reveal unexpectedly complex and darkly comic characters. The narrat ...more
ulli_z
Mar 07, 2016 ulli_z rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Persephone Abbott
May 31, 2014 Persephone Abbott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As twice before, Winterson draws me in via the simple sentences that circle around the more complex narrative that seeks to describe that there is no time, and she embraces time itself to explain the lack of ticking. Are we waves? Or are we swept by waves? Perhaps repeat waves that have crested over our very genesis before we became into being threatened by pinpoint, tacked to a birth certificate? Waves of the time worm? Yet though I see clearly the chaos of what should exist by right, this time ...more
J.M.
Jun 23, 2009 J.M. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I can't get into this story, and that saddens me because I've enjoyed Jeanette Winterson's other books. Ah well. Life's too short to force myself to finish it.
Kerry
Aug 30, 2016 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To judge this as a book or as a work of art? Is it literature or poetry? A narrative or a vessel for lyrical descriptions? Its label is important to craft an adequate critique. If the framework of the story is a vessel for metaphor, allusions, and other devices, it does what it intends. But it falls short as a story of a love triangle simply because too much is trying to happen in a short span of time.

The first few pages are amazing: you trust this writer, want more, more, more. And more is what
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Close to Spider Man
  • Baby Remember My Name: An Anthology of New Queer Girl Writing
  • Drag King Dreams
  • Cool for You
  • Touchy Subjects: Stories
  • Love You Two
  • Love
  • The IHOP Papers
  • The Complete Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist
  • S/He
  • Empathy
  • Boys Like Her: Transfictions
  • Trash: Stories
  • Godspeed
  • The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories
  • Stay (Aud Torvingen #2)
9399
Novelist Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, England in 1959. She was adopted and brought up in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north of England. Her strict Pentecostal Evangelist upbringing provides the background to her acclaimed first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, published in 1985. She graduated from St Catherine's College, Oxford, and moved to London where she worked as an assi ...more
More about Jeanette Winterson...

Share This Book



“He: What’s the matter with you?

Me: Nothing.

Nothing was slowly clotting my arteries. Nothing slowly numbing my soul. Caught by nothing, saying nothing, nothingness becomes me. When I am nothing they will say surprised in the way that they are forever surprised, "but there was nothing the matter with her.”
420 likes
“Do you fall in love often?"

Yes often. With a view, with a book, with a dog, a cat, with numbers, with friends, with complete strangers, with nothing at all.”
379 likes
More quotes…