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The Gap of Time

(Hogarth Shakespeare project)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  7,293 ratings  ·  1,208 reviews
The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “late plays.” It tells the story of a king whose jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter and the death of his beautiful wife. His daughter is found and brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of extraordinary events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited.

In The Gap
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Hogarth
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  7,293 ratings  ·  1,208 reviews

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Thematically, this was a good follow-on from a read of Nicole Krauss’ exquisite The History of Love (see my review HERE): the first few pages alone included death, bereavement, forgiveness, revenge, loss of a child, identity, God, loyalty and love - as well as capitalism, mercy killing, and madness.

Stylistically, there was no comparison: this is a simpler story - despite the numerous references to changing the speed, or even direction of time - and it’s mostly told in rather crude and wooden pr
Mar 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
I find the hardest books to review are the ones I really do not like. I don't want to write an unending page of criticisms but I do want to record my personal feelings so I do not pick the book up again in the future.

So for the record I found many passages too objectionable to read and eventually gave up because I have a huge list of books I do want to read waiting.

This one just was not for me.
Althea Ann
Jun 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Hogarth Books has embarked on a project to commission acclaimed modern writers to re-tell the stories of Shakespeare. 'The Gap of Time' by Jeanette Winterson is the first of the books to be published.

This volume retells 'The Winter's Tale.'
Would I have noticed that it was a retelling of Shakespeare if it hadn't been stated right up front? Not at first, no. (There's an introductory re-cap - kind of 'The Winters Tale For Dummies' - to get the events and char
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-m-in-love
Jeanette Winterson is a master wordsmith, and she actually has me hooked. I'm not even exaggerating here, she really does, and I'm loving the ride. My bookcase is building up a marvellous collection of Winterson's works, and it craves more.

Being one of Shakespeares more difficult and complex fables, I was immensely impressed with Winterson's ability to translate it into a more contemporary story. Her technique was astonishing. At the very beginning of the book, it read like a Shakespeare play t
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: winterson
This is a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and sticks quite closely to the plot (not completely). The story moves from London after the 2008 crash and moves to the US and the fictional city of New Bohemia, which feels a little like New Orleans. The novel, like the play revolves around revenge and forgiveness, a child (Perdita) abandoned and found. The parallels with the play are clever and original and there is humour running through the tale as well as revenge, tragedy and forgivene ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“I discover that grief means living with someone who is not there.”

Boy do I have mixed feelings about this book. “The Gap of Time” is a cover version of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale”, a play I love. This novel is part of the “Hogarth Shakespeare” a project where noted contemporary authors write cover versions of Shakespeare’s works. I will read more in this series, but not because of “The Gap of Time.”
I have never read any of Jeanette Winterson’s work before, and she clearly is a gifted writ
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2017
I was a little nervous about reading this because I am not really familiar with The Winter's Tale, but I found this a very enjoyable book. The barbarity of parts of the original story must have made the update (or cover version) quite a challenge to create. This is a thought provoking book of ideas leavened with a surprising amount of humour. I won't try and comment on the details because that would expose my ignorance! ...more
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
"Now take upon me, in the name of Time,
To use my wings. Impute it not a crime
To me or my swift passage, that I slide
O'er sixteen years and leave the growth untried
Of that wide gap..."
-The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare

"Sometimes it doesn't matter that there was any time before this time. Sometimes it doesn't matter that it's night or day or now or then. Sometimes where you are is enough. It's not that time stops or that it hasn't started. This is time. You are here. This caught moment open
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I was provided a copy of this from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Gap of Time is a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" as part of a larger series of authors doing the same for several of his works. (You can read more about the project at The Guardian). Retelling is used loosely, as the names are not the same, nor are all of the situations. The themes of jealousy, forgiveness, parenting - they're all still here!

So how should I examine th
Liz Janet
"And the world goes on regardless of joy or despair or one woman's fortune or one man's loss. And we can't know the lives of others. And we can't know our own lives beyond the details we can manage. And the things that change us forever happen without us knowing they would happen. And the moment that looks like the rest is the one where hearts are broken or healed. And time that runs so steady and sure runs wild outside the clocks. It takes so little time to change a lifetime and it takes a l ...more
Diane Barnes
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
While I loved Anne Tyler's "Vinegar Girl", a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, and Margaret Atwood's "Hagseed", her retelling of The Tempest, this version of The Winter's Tale left me cold. I have loved the other Jeanette Winterson books I've read, but just could not connect to this one.

So, not giving up on either Winterson or the Hogarth Press Shakespeare Project. 3 stars because it was too good to give up on, but left me happy to move on after finishing.
This review is based on an uncorrected proof that I won in a GoodReads give away.

4.5 stars. I loved it. But this contains things that are catnip to me: a Shakespearean story retold by a talented writer. I saw The Winter’s Tale performed last year, so it was reasonably fresh in my mind as I read The Gap of Time. Winterson, Winter’s Tale, how perfect.

Winterson has the writing chops to pull this off. I love the playfulness of her writing in this novel—totally appropriate, as Shakespeare wrote p
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Abandon ship, baby. Before it's too late. Jump ship, baby, don't wait. The threat's not yours, it's mine. We're caught in a gap of time.

I have never read or seen a production of The Winter's Tale, but knowing that it was the source material for Jeanette Winterson's “cover version”, The Gap of Time, I thoroughly researched Shakespeare's play before opening the book – and in a way I needn't have: Helpfully, Winterson opens the book with a detailed summary of the play. On the other hand, I'm gl
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do like this book, but to a certain extent the jury is still out as far as how I feel about it.

Winterson was the first author to release her book in the Hogarth Shakespeare series and for that reason alone this must have been a big challenge and ‘retelling’ Shakespeare must be a daunting (if not overwhelming) prospect for any author.

‘The Winters’ Tale’ is clearly a book which is very close to Winterson’s heart – perhaps too close? Which may explain her somewhat overly reverential and therefore
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mundane-fic
It's readable, but compared to Shakespeare's play it's a travesty.
The soul and magic of The Winter's Tale is smashed and crushed like a place devastated by tornado or earthquake.
Shakespeare added humanity to stereotypes. Winterson over-exaggerates stereotypes into grotesque caricatures.
She completely wrecked the ending.
The Gap of Time

I’m a fan of this author. . . .could listen to her words and the way she strings them together for hours (and do!). That said, I must admit to non-engagement with this story. I will need to re-read this in the context of it being part of, in fact, first of, the Hogarth Shakespeare reimagined project. Reading it out of context, that is not applying anything and everything I knew about the play it was ‘reimagining’ left me adrift. I had a difficult time following the motivations and
Liz Brooks
I won a copy of THE GAP OF TIME (a modern retelling of Shakespeare's THE WINTER'S TALE) in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you!

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this book.

As a general rule, I try to be fair and polite when I write reviews. I don’t want to discourage authors, no matter how much I dislike their work. But I am struggling to keep my claws in on this one, so grab your popcorn and settle in. This could get intense.

The first chapter was beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. I honestly thought it was going
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this one. I think Winterson actually managed to get to the emotional core of the story more than the bard himself did. (Is that possible?) It's a tragedy that ends in a comedy, I guess, but Winterson's version does a better job of intertwining the stories over the time gap, I think. Worth reading. ...more
(Nearly 3.5) Winterson creates clear counterparts for each of Shakespeare’s characters, often tweaking names so they are still recognizable but a bit more modern. Notably, she opens in the middle, with Shep (Shepherd) discovering Perdita in a faux New Orleans, then fills in backstory for a London financier, a Parisian singer and a video game designer. “The Day of Celebration,” my favorite part, is an excellent 40-page section that could function as a stand-alone story. It’s the sheep-shearing fe ...more
I should note that Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale has never been a favorite. I've always wanted Leo to die. Yeah, I know it's about forgiveness, but still.

So, this is okay. There are parts of that are wonderful. Like where Leo is watching MiMi and co via webcam. His reaction is nothing but an attack on rape culture and is masterfully done.

Yet, sometimes, it doesn't quite work. Having the American characters use words like knickers and spelling tires - tyres, seems off. It was good, just not g
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Disclaimer: I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am not intimmately familiar with either Jeanette Winterson or The Winter's Tale, but I was intrigued behind the idea of the Hogarth Shakespeare collection and was able to read this through NetGalley.

Obviously, The Gap of Time modernizes Shakespeare's work, changing the setting, some character names, and other superficial details, but retaining the driving themes of the original (the summary of which is included
Joy (joyous reads)
If you're not familiar with Hogarth Shakespeare (as I was before I read this book), it is a project that commissioned some prolific authors to rewrite Shakespeare's plays in a way that will appeal to modern readers. It is a massive undertaking for two reasons: one, they're to rewrite the plays into novels, and two, consider the author of the original works.


The first book in this series is a retelling of The Winter's Tale. In the original work, it tells the story of King Leont
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Shakespeare fans, lovers of love and pathos
Recommended to Amy by: altTOB
Funny, deep, irreverent, dirtier than I expected (not sure why, this is Shakespeare retelling after all!) I felt on the edge of my seat in some scenes despite knowing in advance who would die, who would live, who would get back together. I appreciated that the author had chosen one of Shakespeare’s older plays here where the tragedy resolves into a theme of forgiveness, unlike his earlier plays that usually led to jealousy or vengeance.
Forgiveness is a word like tiger --- there’s footage of it
H.A. Leuschel
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful modern retelling of Shakespeare's 'The Winter's Tale', a story of revenge and forgiveness.

'And the world goes on regardless of joy or despair or one woman's fortune or one man's loss. And we can't know the lives of others. And we can't know our lives beyond the details we can manage. And the things that change us forever happen without us knowing they would happen.'

'It takes so little to change a lifetime and it takes a lifetime to understand the change.'
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
There is probably not another writer who could make me read a Shakespeare play. Jeanette Winterson, whose writing always excites me, has filled the role that no English teacher ever played for me during my school days. Because I had not realized she included a summary of The Winter’s Tale at the beginning of her retelling, I read the play first and enjoyed it more than I expected I would. That in turn enhanced the sheer fun of reading The Gap of Time.

It is a story that works on the equation of
“Í am learning to be a father and a mother to her. She asks about her mother and I say we don’t know. I have always told her the truth – or enough of it. And she is white and we are black so she knows she was found.
The story has to start somewhere.” p. 23

I did not remember much about Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale before reading Winterson’s retelling of this play. However, she starts her novel with a synopsis and that was enough to get me on the right page.

This masterful “cover version” of Sha
Eddie Clarke
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, fiction
Gorgeous. Hugely impressed by Winterson’s translation of Shakespeare’s difficult fable into a contemporary story. Brilliant control of pacing and plot and characterisation. Her use of language is stunning.

“I lift the baby out and she’s as light as a star”

“You don’t know how long it is until morning and in the hospital the hands on the clock crawl round like an insect walking the same pane of glass till it dies.”

“They walk through Chinatown and Covent Garden and across the Aldwych down to Waterlo
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
When I saw that this was a take off from one of Shakespeare's plays, I was so hoping it wasn't written like one of his plays. Then when I started reading it, I was like, oh no, it is. But, thankfully, that was just the first few pages of the book. I would have never got finished with the book if it had of been written like that through the whole book. Geesh!

I loved this book. It was such a good story! And it was a lot like the Shakespeare story except done in modern times. There was def
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, library
2,5 stars rounded up.

Winterson is a very prolific writer, but I think I can safely say I read most of her major works. Even if she writes about things I find uncomfortable, to the point where I'm not sure they ought to be published (Why Be Happy...), I'm in love with her style. This is not the case here.

Secondly, the plot is... odd, even given it's a reworking of one of the strangest plays Shakespeare wrote. I think I have encountered a real life counterpart of every character in this novel, bu
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: re-writes
This one was... odd. Moments of greatness, and moments of wtf-ness, and a little bit of everything in between. Was not a fan of all the meta-references (how many people actually in real life refer that often to The Winter's Tale? Let alone in a book that is a "cover version" of the original play, which already outlines the original play in an opening synopsis, and goes on to finish the book with a segway into a sort-of author review of the original play again with further references before cutti ...more
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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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