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Art and Lies

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,328 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
One of the most audacious and provocative writers on either side of the Atlantic now gives readers a dazzling, arousing, and wise improvisation on art, Eros, language, and identity. "A series of intense, artful musings that are exhilarating and visionary. . . . Unsettling yet strangely satisfying."--Newsday.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 20th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 16, 2009 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
"The doctor said he could find nothing wrong. She was healthy, she had work, she came from a good family. Her heart beat was normal. Was it? Well, perhaps a little too fast.
Heart attack. Had her heart attacked her? Her heart, trained at obedience classes from an early age? Her heart, well muzzled in public, taught to trot in line. Her heart, that knew the Ten Commandments, and obeyed a hundred more. Her disciplined dogged heart that would come when it was called and that never strained its leash
May 29, 2013 Katie rated it it was amazing
I couldn't help but read this slowly
To let the words surround me and fill me
I wanted to stay as long as possible within the pages
Resist the urge to devour every sentence, every word, letter, and period

Winterson has a way with words
They are dark, and rich, and beautiful
I wanted to live them, breathe them
Swim in a sea of her words.

I consumed the last word and now I am sad that it is over.
Apr 14, 2013 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Sex=Lies; Art=Transcendence (2012).

Winterson, Jeanette. (1994). Art & Lies. New York:Vintage

Idly, I picked up this book in a used book shop. The publisher’s blurb on the back said it was “…a daring novel that burns with phosphorescent prose on every page.” I thought, “Yeah, sure.” I opened the book at random and to my amazement, every page I read burned with phosphorescent prose.

Is it a novel? Not in the Aristotelian sense. There is no plot, no storyline, no climax, no epiphany, no denoueme
Oct 08, 2007 Evan rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone who likes Jeanette Winterson. Those who will follow her anywhere :)
"Two things significantly distinguish human beings from other animals; an interest in the past and the possibility of language. Brought together they make a third: Art."

Art & Lies is a book I don't quite understand. But there were choice quotes like the one above that kept me reading. The book is told through three characters eyes. Handel is a surgeon, ex priest. Picasso is a young painter who grew up in a very malignant environment, her brother molested, raped her repeatedly from when she w
Jul 13, 2007 Dave-O rated it it was amazing
Jeanette Winterson's strong command of the language combined with a concise, confident direction make Art and Lies a pleasure to read. Filled with allegory and farcical situations reminiscent of Jean Genet and William S. Borroughs she tells of a sexually ambiguous surgeon named Handel; a mentally and physically molested woman artist named Picasso; and the poet Sappho who shares a train ride with the other two.

What ensues is a history of each carefully developed character and how they intertwine
Peter Chandler
Aug 30, 2010 Peter Chandler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With such astonishingly lyrical writing, deep introspective musings and resounding cries for individualism this is a truly mesmerising book. I began thinking to try the first few pages and some endlessly astounding moments later I had finished and was strangely aware of how dark it suddenly had become outside! Jeanette Winterson's fantastic prose weaves exhilarating, arousing, inspiring and uplifting web that entirely entangles and lingers long after the end.
John Pistelli
Jan 12, 2016 John Pistelli rated it really liked it
[Spoilers, disturbing ones at that, toward the end of this review.]

My first encounter with Jeanette Winterson went badly. In college, I read Written on the Body and found it ludicrously overwritten, an imprecise prose poem wearing the guise of a novel, and poorly. I almost wish my Livejournal from that period of my life were still extant so I could quote from my bad review; I remember that it turned on mocking the line from the novel, “Your clavicle is both keyboard and key” (honestly, I still t
May 16, 2008 George rated it it was ok
This book switches back and forth between three different narrators -- Handel, a former priest and current surgeon, Picasso, a young woman from a wealthy family, and Sappho, the poet. (Well, technically, there is a fourth narrative, a book that is being read.) Each of the voices is distinctive, but, partly because of this, the book is uneven overall. I usually love the way Winterson writes, but I found her veering off a little too much here. The Handel sections are strong, and there is an intere ...more
Mar 26, 2015 Yasmeen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like this book could have easily sucked. But it manages to really not. Three separate, loosely connected narratives interwoven by a fourth- it's hard to say what it's actually about. Which is obviously not an issue, but it's often hard to pull off just right so I'm extra impressed when it works. It feels like you're reading moments and thoughts that just casually drift together and make a really satisfying whole. The best part though is that it's beautiful- Winterson's writing is gorgeous ...more
Mar 01, 2014 Alexandevra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, finished
Art and Lies is one of my favorite books. It's very emotional, powerful and beautiful. A perfect book, indeed.
Apr 17, 2010 Tom rated it liked it
I've read several of Winterson's novels, and absolutely love her insight into the human condition. However, I found this novel particularly difficult to read. It is slightly too abstract, and although it contains many beautiful passages that seem to instinctively pinpoint universal experiences, it doesn't quite work as a whole. Obviously that is just my opinion, and perhaps my enjoyment would benefit from a second reading now that I've got my head around the crazy narrative. Definitely worth rea ...more
Jan 07, 2014 Lewis rated it it was ok
I've given up. At about two-thirds of the way through this slim book, I just couldn't face carrying on. It's a shame, because I love Jeanette Winterson's other novels, but Art & Lies is so obtuse that it's practically unreadable. Halfway through the novel I had to look up what it was actually meant to be about because I still didn't have a clue - not a good sign. Taken in isolation, there a passages that are wonderful in terms of their sense of poetry and emotion, but these passages don't kn ...more
Jun 14, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it
This is another classic Jeannette Winterson. The prose is magical and each phrase is a reverie. Here are a few nuggets to share…

The past stands behind me as a house where I used to live. A house whose windows, from a distance, are clear and bright, but strangely shaded as I come near. p. 40

Why is it painful to me, that day, though long gone and unreturnable? Painful, so that I slow my steps on the busy streets, pausing as one who has forgotten something. I have forgotten how to look at pictures,
Dec 04, 2010 Anna added it
I don't know how to rate was my first Winterson book. There were whole pages I wanted to cut out and paste on my wall. But there's also an entire musical score at the end, and lots of other strangeness. Not entirely sure what to make of it--but I will definitely read more JW.
Olga Voytenko
I love Jeanette Winterson, her books take you to another place and force you to think, challenge your understanding of right and wrong, beautiful and ugly and see world in a fresh way. Sometimes I feel as if I'm on that train.
Kara Donnelly
Jan 05, 2015 Kara Donnelly rated it liked it
I lacked a book while visiting family over the holidays, and decided I could bulk up on my contemporary British fiction with this. It struck me as very... Winterson-esque. Some very lovely passages, some very compelling moments, but I ultimately want things to come together a bit better, or be more fully elaborated. It seemed too long to be a perplexing novella, and too short to weave together the density it needed to. And I got a bit lost, reading but not taking much in, in some of the less con ...more
Wendy Orr
Jul 13, 2012 Wendy Orr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lyrical, rich, sometimes overwhelming, in its use of language, this is poetry in prose form.
Sara Comuzzo
è il terzo libro suo che leggo. questa scrittrice incontrata per caso.
mi piace. mi piace molto. ha un'abilità raffinata, un senso di osservazione e una capacità di indagare l'animo umano notevoli, uniche.

una storia complessa. tre personaggi: Handel, un medico-sacerdote; Picasso, una giovane pittrice, e Saffo, la poetessa greca. sono tutti e 3 su un treno verso la luce, verso il sole, verso la vita.

un romanzo che sembra un trattato sull'amore, sul possesso, sulla violenza, sulla ricchezza.

la wint
Jul 23, 2016 c. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 2016
i don't really get it, but i love it.
May 29, 2014 Jeff rated it liked it
Recommended to me by a friend from whom I've never been recommended books before, and in some respects this would seem like a poor choice for me. It deals in some aspects that I really try to avoid in my recreational reading these days - de-emphasis on plot, emphasis on contemplative thought and associative vocabulary. Done poorly, these aspects are unendurable. But Ms. Winterson is brilliant, and has something to say, and it all holds together beautifully.

The setting is a dystopia of sorts not
Jul 31, 2007 Devin rated it liked it
Shelves: rivalryjuly

Athanor \Ath"a*nor\, n. [F., fr. Ar. at-tann[=u]r, fr. Heb.
tann[=u]r an oven or furnace.]
A digesting furnace, formerly used by alchemists. It was so constructed as to maintain uniform and durable heat.

n 1: a feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favor of a person or cause); "they were imbued with a revolutionary ardor"; "he felt a kind of religious zeal" [syn: ardor, elan, zeal]
2: intense feeling of love [syn: ardor]
3: feelings of great warmth and intensity; "he spoke with great
Mar 13, 2008 Stefanie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stefanie by: Clarita
Just some random notes and quotes I jotted while reading this book to make more sense of it. Winterson's way of writing can be hard to follow at first but once you fully immerse yourself in the text it becomes easier and quite enjoyable.

pg 15 "My own austerity, some might say severity, is like those magic girdles that knights used to wear when fighting dragons. Irrelevant, certainly, but it protects me by reminding me of what things I value. And the things I value are not the fake attentions and
Paul Taylor
Oct 27, 2015 Paul Taylor rated it did not like it
Good luck with this one if you try it. Make sure that you have read the bible, the Divine Comedy, all the Greek tragedians and philosophers, have a sound knowledge of Shakespeare, Browning, Byron Keats...I could go on but won't; my point is made. Jeanette Winterson may be a true polymath or she may just be a show-off out to shock. Either way this is not her at what can be her sparkling best; which is a shame.
Feb 03, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
Winterson's follow-up to Written on the Body doesn't feel as cohesive and strong as its predecessor, but goddamn if she can't write a beautiful sentence. Like jazz, this novel is an intertwining series of voices, complete with leitmotifs. I didn't understand everything, but I don't think that's the point. Just surrender yourself to the beauty of the music. Let it ring in your ears, resonating like light.
Nov 09, 2014 Ester rated it really liked it
Very philosophical. Many references to the Classics. Themes: feminism, religion, identity, civil rights, abuse, symbolism, logos and Eros, Art, a good life.
While reading it I was thinking Jeanette Winterson is in the league of Novel prize winners like J.M. Coetzee.
Jun 24, 2014 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I kept reading for the stunningly beautiful poetic prose. The story came together, but my tiny brain didn't bring me there as well as Winterson brought her plotlines to converge. Need to sit down with someone for 2 weeks to get a better handle on this piece.
Tbh this felt like a slog a lot of the time, I just couldn't get into its rhythm. The narrative voices didn't feel distinct enough to me, and while there were moments of truth-beauty in the writing a lot of it felt like waffle? I feel like I must have been missing something. This book and I just didn't get on very well.
Nov 08, 2014 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually find Jeanette Winterson very engaging to read. I read Lighthousekeeping cover to cover in one sitting. This just didn't work for me for some reason, although it did become a bit more compelling towards the end.
Sara Wells
Jun 24, 2015 Sara Wells rated it liked it
I liked the imagery, but I kinda felt like this book was trying way too hard to go out of its way to be "arty".
Matt Hunt
the writing is beautiful, but it's not an easy book to read.
I must reread when I am more awake.
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2015 Reading Chal...: Art and Lies by Jeanette Winterson 3 25 Oct 13, 2015 11:40AM  
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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
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“After loss of Identity, the most potent modern terror, is loss of sexuality, or, as Descartes didn’t say, "I fuck therefore I am".” 108 likes
“Know thyself,’ said Socrates.
Know thyself,’ said Sappho, ‘and make sure that the Church never finds out.”
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