Sexing the Cherry
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Sexing the Cherry

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  8,890 ratings  ·  508 reviews
In a fantastic world that is and is not seventeenth-century England, a baby is found floating in the Thames. The child, Jordan, is rescued by Dog Woman and grows up to travel the world like Gulliver, though he finds that the world’s most curious oddities come from his own mind. Winterson leads the reader from discussions on the nature of time to Jordan’s fascination with j...more
Paperback, 167 pages
Published August 10th 1998 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 1989)
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Community Reviews

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Paul
Mar 10, 2013 Paul rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels

Date 15 January 23rd January
Time 19:00 – 20.15
Location : The Box

Excerpt from interview with P Bryant

Detective Munch : Thing is, my literary friend, you got no proof.

PB : Proof?

Det Munch : Anyone can invent an identity and claim to have read like a zillion books and then post up fake reviews. Anyone. I could pay 15 year olds to do it.

PB : Well, so what? That’s the internet for you. Who cares?

Det Pembleton : Who cares? Did you hear that John? Who cares? We care. Let me explain a little. This Good...more
Tina
Jul 25, 2007 Tina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Jeannette Winterson is one of my all-time favorite writers and I'm constantly recommending this slim book. For what it lacks in girth, the book makes up for in substance. I have never more furiously scribbled passages down in my journal for future reference.
The story itself is entertaining enough to merit the book worth a read. The premise is reminiscent of a Brother's Grimm fairy tale - you know, back when fairy tales were sort of dark, creepy, and a little scary, before Disney got its hands on...more
Austen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Molly
Feb 20, 2008 Molly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone alive
Recommended to Molly by: Natalie Giarratano
Sometimes I think I would like to write a letter of thanks to Jeanette Winterson. The letter would go something like this, "Thank you, Ms. Winterson, for being so magical. Thank you for holding on to the play of childhood and mingling it with a breadth of creative intelligence I never knew existed. Thank you for reading as much as you do and for deploying history in new and invigorating ways. Thank you for playing with your narratives, changing your characters into hyperboles of their human selv...more
Greta
Once I stood in a museum looking at a "painting" hanging on the wall. It had all the components of a painting: the canvas, lines and squiggles rendered in pencil, the artist's signature, and some blotches of color here and there. I read the review on the little plaque next to it which described what it was made of, its post-modern symbolism, it's meaning. I didn't see that at all.

Another time I put on a CD to listen to. It had all the components of "music": instruments, notes, pauses, a musician...more
Lea
I may come back later and bump this up to 5 stars -- I really enjoyed the story and Winterson's gorgeous writing.

Well, describing this one is going to take some doing . . .

Set in England, the story jumps back and forth between the 1600s and the 1990s (or thereabouts). We see moments in the lives of various characters: the Dog Woman, a coarse giant of a woman who is continually reforming her murderous ways; Jordan, her son, who she found floating in the Thames; Nicholas Jordan, a naval cadet; as...more
Michelle
In Sexing the Cherry, Jordan is found floating in the River Thames. A large woman, known only as the Dog Woman, rescues baby Jordan, and brings him up like her own son. But Jordan, having been ‘born’ of the river, belongs to the river, and it isn’t long before the flowing waters reclaim him once again, as he sets of with sails to travel the world.

The book is told with alternating narratives, first Jordan, then the mother, then Jordan again and so forth. But while the mother’s narratives sound li...more
Fatin
I...I don't know what just happened. I think I need to go reread some parts of this book, or at least think it over again because I am so darn confused.

But as for what I did understand, there are parts of this book that are bewitching, and then there are parts that drag so much it is as if there is no life in them.

This was a vintage twin set, basically I got the book for free along with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The set is called Vintage Monsters. So I guess I'll spend tonight thinking about...more
Riff
Painfully pretentious and drowning in a mess of its failed aspirations, it's always a bad thing when an author becomes too fond of the sound of their own voice. Characters, ideas, feelings, and stories are lost under the weight of what I can only presume is Winterson's creative vanity. While arguably intelligent she lacks the poetic ability required to pull off a style like this, using language which distracts and detracts from the world she is struggling to present. A wonderful imagination is c...more
Jenny
The juxtaposition of the stories of the giant woman living on the banks of the Thames with her dogs and her adopted son who is drawn to exploring the world in the mid 1600s was interesting. The incorporation of the stories of women who although kept by men for their pleasure are still able to lead lives of their own and escape were interesting asides as was the story of the 12 dancing princesses. The drawings of the banana and the pineapple at the top of the paragraph when the narrator changed w...more
Shawn
Dec 31, 2011 Shawn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kyla
bizzarly profound.

food for thought:

"The Hopi, an Indian tribe, have a language as sophisticated as ours, but no tenses for the past, present and future. The division does not exist. What does this say about time?
Matter, that thing the most solid and well-known, which you are holding in your hands and which makes up your body, is now known to be mostly empty space. Empty space and points of light. What does this say about the reality of the world"(frontispiece)?

"Truth to tell, I could have snappe...more
Vale
Nov 18, 2012 Vale rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vale by: Francesco Fantuzzi
Niente trucchi da quattro soldi

Mentre leggevo questo libro mi tornavano in mente le parole di Carver, perché ho percepito l'intera architettura del romanzo come falsa: un modo originale per avvinghiare il lettore alla storia, ma in una modalità artefatta e stucchevole.
E' una questione di gusti e di sensibilità personali, ma mi dispiace perché la voce narrante, nonostante tutto, resta davvero forte e le capacità dell'autrice non sono in discussione.
A volte sembra che un autore voglia per forza...more
Jayde
I really wanted to enjoy this book and whilst I appreciate that it is written very well in a literary sense, it did not appeal to me at all. The relentless misandry made it quite a boring read, despite its short length. I could see flashes of brilliance in this book (the dancing princesses, the character of dog-woman), however none of it was fleshed out to any sort of degree to make me want to read on. All in all a difficult 140 pages to trawl through. I can't help thinking that if it were a lit...more
Molly
this book is seriously amazing -- confused and intricate and beautiful and miserable. i'd tried it in high school, with limited success. i decided to try again after seeing winterson at the pen writer's conference, and she told of how, after leaving home for the last time, her mother yelled after her, "why be happy when you could be normal?'. i've read most of her books since, except for the futuristic one that was just in the running for the bad sex in literature prize.....
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
I'm not really sure of much when it comes to this novel, except that I enjoyed it. Winterson plays games with time, identity, gender, history, legend and myth, peppering her fictional inventions with meditations on time, space, identity and love. This is a novel that is as dense as anything by Pynchon, but shorter, more enjoyable and with a Borgesian imagination.
Elise
Frankly, I have no words for this one, but I will attempt a review. I had such high hopes for "Sexing the Cherry" (billed as important to Magic Realist enthusiasts), so I would be lying if I didn't admit that I was just a little bit disappointed after reading it. This one barely hangs together as a novel, and at times, I would get annoyed feeling like I was reading someone's unpolished dream and nightmare journals. This book is filled with bizarre episodes both disorienting and also, at times, s...more
Emma
This book is utterly beautiful. Winterson has an incredibly gifted talent of writing the most magical prose. I was utterly in awe, and a teeny bit jealous of her superbly written imaginative tales of the princess's who lived happily ever after, (just not with their husbands), the twisted reality of Sixteenth Century England, (taking a fair amount of time commenting on the battle between Cromwell's republican Commonwealth and the already established monarchy), not to mention throwing in detailed...more
Oscar
A orillas del Támesis, una mujer de cuerpo enorme, gigante, encuentra un niño al que pone el significativo nombre de Jordan. Esta mujer, llamada Mujer Perro resulta ser toda una fuerza de la naturaleza, haciendo su propia justicia allá donde cree necesario. Por otra parte, Jordan es un soñador que viajará por mundos llenos de aventuras y cuentos de princesas. Durante este viaje soñado, conocerá una casa sin suelo, y a las princesas bailarinas. Todos estos cuentos de hadas conforman su propia his...more
Lisa
Jeannette Winterson's poetic-prose is crack to me. I obsess about her sentences like a junkie. Her images and words find me at the oddest times; sometimes they call to me. They set up camp in my head and never leave. They speak me. They speak what I long to be. They speak what I fear being. I push them around in my mouth just to feel them form, again and again.

This book is something of a loose mixture of historical fiction, sci-fi time-travel lit, brutal Brothers-Grimm style fairy tale, and clas...more
tee
Jan 16, 2008 tee rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: i-own
Wah. Some of Winterson's works make me feel as if I completely missing out on something, like it's going straight over my head. Which is likely the case considering I am not the most intellectual of sorts but I don't like being reminded of this when trying to enjoy a novel. Further, with most books that are a little too 'smart' for me, I usually understand why. Either it's the content, or the heavy vocabulary or some such thing.

But Winterson ... sometimes I feel like I just don't get it. Rather...more
Jamie
I'm into the whole magic realism thing. I tore my way through the souls in different times confusion of Cloud Atlas. It was pretty much guaranteed that I would approve of this genius fusion of the two.

Dog-Woman and her son Jordan make their way through the tumultuous years in 17th century Britain. Except sometimes Jordan isn't there - he's off sailing to find new exotic fruits for the King or searching for his true love in some sort of other dimension. Dog-Woman herself stretches the realm of re...more
Vivienne

I had expected a straight-forward piece of 17th century historical fiction when this came up as a selection for our library reading group. So I found myself surprised and enchanted when it turned out to be such a rich fantastical tale.

I loved the integration of the story of the twelve dancing princesses and the historical perspective of the period, which was sketched so well despite the slenderness of the novel.

I certainly could see the influence of Rabelais in the characters, especially of Dog...more
Lena
I enjoyed Written on the Body, but I think I may like this one much more. Winterson's prose is tight but somehow perfectly expressive. The concepts in the novel are mind-blowing and I have a hard time articulating exactly what it is that she's trying to say, but I'm OK with that. It reminds me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude in that the story is fantastic and magical, yet it seems natural that it would exist. The Twelve Dancing Princesses are my absolute favorite aspect...more
Linda
I read this for Dorota Glowacka's Postmodern women's literature course for my Master's. It is one of the shortest and densest novels I have ever read. It is provocative at every step of the way, turning myth and story on their ears. I loved it so much I did my seminar presentation on it and wrote a paper that was accepted for an anthology on Jeanette Winterson, but which was sadly never published.

Hence started my love affair with Winterson's words.
Emily
beautifully written, absolutely hilarious, and totally empowering. winterson smoothly dispels all preconceived ideas of what constitutes a love story and creates something all her own. she makes her statements about love and gender without being preachy or condescending, which i totally appreciate, and wraps it all up in a plot that pushes you around a little but you like it so it doesn't matter. i especially loved the story of the princesses.
Moïra
(ETA: This meant to be a review but turned into a stream of consciousness at the last minute, sorry.)

Formative text, read for the first time when I was fifteen. It was lent to me by my English teacher. Her copy had clearly been lent to others - it was underlined in different pens & had notes in the margins, presumably addressed to her. The copy I then bought for myself is the same, it travels through time like the text. My twenty-six-year-old self underlined different sections in pencil to...more
Tim
possibly my absolute favorite book of all time. I want jeanette winterson to read me a bedtime story every night. I didn't know how much I could worship an author before I read this. It's short but potent, and thoroughly infused with her wit. Please please read it, it's wonderful.
Antonomasia
What a let-down when something you'd been meaning to read for well over 20 years just isn't that great. (The title really jumps out from a newspaper page when you're a kid.) The narrative was so fragmented that the atmosphere - surely one of the most important facets of historical fiction or fantasy, even postmodern versions - never became truly absorbing, and you're booted out yet again just as it looked like it was going to. If I'd seen one or two of the individual chapterlets as short stories...more
Ioana Ştef
Cartea despre care urmează să vă povestesc e una mai… atipică, să zicem. Sunt înfăţişate două planuri paralele, unul cu Anglia secolului XVII, şi celălalt cu o perioadă ceva mai apropiată, şi anume anii ’90. Protagoniştii sunt Femeia cu Câini şi Jordan.

În Anglia secolului al XVII-lea, Femeia cu Câini şi copilul găsit de aceasta, Jordan, îl întâlnesc pe navigatorul John Tradescant, care e în Londra pentru a le arăta englezilor prima banană. Jordan e foarte impresionat şi curând părăseşte marele o...more
Lesliemae
Jun 19, 2010 Lesliemae rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lesliemae by: Jeremy Craig
Shelves: women-writers
I was surprised by this book because my current grad research focuses around Andrew Marvell, and Jeanette Winterson's Sexing the Cherry appears to engage his poem "The Mower Against Gardens". The pertinent piece of the Marvell poem has to do with grafting and creating "forbidden mixtures" in the enclosed English garden of the late 1600s. Winterson's novel, also set in the late 1600s seems a parody of some of the time periods ideas about both grafting, sexuality, and gender.

From Marvell's poem we...more
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Charles I 3 39 Apr 14, 2014 08:02PM  
Goodreads Librari...: incorrect cover change (sexing the cherry) 2 21 Aug 13, 2012 08:20PM  
Goodreads Librari...: description change 5 40 Mar 04, 2012 09:34AM  
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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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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Written on the Body Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? The Passion Lighthousekeeping

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