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Frankissstein

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  7,350 ratings  ·  1,431 reviews
Since her astonishing debut at twenty-five with Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson has achieved worldwide critical and commercial success as "one of the most daring and inventive writers of our time" (Elle). Her new novel, Frankissstein, is an audacious love story that weaves together disparate lives into an exploration of transhumanism, artificial intellig ...more
Hardcover, 345 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Grove Press (first published May 2019)
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Leigh Honestly, If I was looking to recommend a book featuring a trans character I would not pick this one. No one in this book treats the main character as…moreHonestly, If I was looking to recommend a book featuring a trans character I would not pick this one. No one in this book treats the main character as anything beyond a sexual curiosity or freak. There is a lot of talk about anatomy that most within the trans community are extremely tired of going over again and again. The trans character's love interest uses Ry's anatomy to defend his heterosexuality multiple times. On top of all that, there is a graphic and gratuitous sexual assault scene.

I don't have a barometer for gauging definitively if this book is transphobic or not, but I imagine that this book will age extremely poorly.(less)

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Paromjit
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Delighted to see this on the Booker Longlist!

A breathtakingly brilliant re-interpretation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for our modern age of troubled political turbulence, so incredibly funny, smart, philosophical and satirical, weaving threads from the past, present and the impact of AI developments in the future. Jeanette Winterson has pulled off a scintillating and incisive retelling of the classic novel that posits that homo sapiens is far from the most intelligent force on earth, and prov
...more
Jenna
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jeanette Winterson fans, lovers of novels that make you think
Have you ever read a book where you have to keep re-reading paragraphs or even entire pages not because your mind drifted and you don't know what you just read, but because you do know what you read and it delighted you so much that you simply have to read it again? I haven't come across many writers who do that for me. Jeanette Winterson is an exception and Frankissstein is one of those books. Reading this book gave my brain a fantastic jolt on just about every page, a flood of dopamine and ser ...more
Marchpane
Frankenstein reanimated

Part fictionalised life story of Mary Shelley, part bonkers ‘mad scientist’ caper set in the five-minutes-from-now future, Frankissstein is riotously funny, philosophically rich, and one-of-a-kind.

Lake Geneva, 1816. 18-year-old Mary Shelley, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, John Polidori and Clair Clairmont are holed up during a storm. They pass the time with ghost stories and talk of galvanism, consciousness, and loom-smashing Luddites, as Shelley begins
...more
Dolors
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Modern philosophers
Recommended to Dolors by: Lisa
This novel possesses all the necessary ingredients to shine for its uniqueness: an unconventional structure, an ambitious approach to storytelling, a profound meditation on themes that should appeal the most demanding of readers…
And yet.

As the title anticipates, this is a retelling of the famous novel by Mary Shelley that takes “the monster” of her creation beyond her present time to project a future where technological progress might mean the end of the world as we know it.
The “kiss” hidden a
...more
Charlotte May
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF @ page 209

Nothing against the book at all, I’m just not the right audience for it.
Also I’m unwell at the moment and my tolerance level is much lower than it would usually be.

A couple of quotes I liked.

“The body can be understood as a life support for the brain.”

“Sanity is the thread through the labyrinth of the Minotaur. Once cut, or unravelled, all that lies in wait are gloomy tunnels unfathomable by any map, and what hides there is a beast in human form, wearing our own face.”
Linda
Jun 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am disappointed and deeply uncomfortable.

yikes.

I am not trans so please take my review with a grain of salt, but dear god. at best, this book is irresponsibly and deeply clueless, and in bad taste. at worst, it's vaguely terfy.

why does a cis woman who does not even understand the most basic things about gender - such as "trans men are men" "being trans and being gay is not the same" and "being trans is not inherently about feminism" - think that she can write a book about gender with a tran
...more
Justin Tate
Imaginative fiction pulling from a variety of sources. Notably Mary Shelley, the person, Frankenstein, the book, concept, and character, and a hodgepodge of hot topics, such as technology, transgender issues, and Brexit. Think queer theory and postmodernism applied to Frankenstein. Then apply Frankenstein to sex dolls.

The idea is fantastic and is well-executed most of the time. Probably not intended for casual summer reading, however. If I were in the middle of writing a thesis on Frankenstein,
...more
Henk
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Funny, deeply humane and quite thought provoking
”Humans: so many good ideas. So many failed ideals.”

General storyline
Certainly better written than the original in my opinion. Jeanette Winterson follows Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley when she writes Frankenstein and mixes this with a reimagining of this tale set in a tomorrow obsessed with AI, robotics and immortality.

I especially liked the parts relating the story of Mary Shelley and what her inspirations could have been to write Frankenstein. She
...more
Morgan M. Page
Entertaining, but a characterization of a trans person that swings between mildly to wildly offensive - and that's setting aside that the only person of colour in the entire book is a two-dimensional racist stereotype. That Winterson is promoting this book about a trans protagonist by arguing against healthcare for trans teens is especially odious.
Lisa
When Jeanette Winterson steps into the mind of Mary Shelley, and her creature(s), we are likely to be off on a rollercoaster poetry slam in prose.

I don't know what it is with Jeanette Winterson, but she manages to have her very personal story interwoven with the most universal human questions while focusing mainly on the power of the magical sentence structure to convey meaning.

In a way, this is a highly contemporary reflection on where humanity is heading, philosophically and technologically s
...more
Meike
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, 2019-booker, 2019-read
Now Nominated for the Booker Prize 2019
This novel is Winterson's monster: Pieced together from the history of Mary Shelley writing the classic Frankenstein, the plot of aforementioned classic and a new storyline focusing on artificial intelligence, Winterson has unevenly sewn together different components and brought them to life - well, at least partly. The author is a God-like figure in her own narrative universe, so you could argue that Winterson is also a "modern Prometheus" (which is the s
...more
Bob/Sally
Oct 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What the fuck did I just read? How the fuck did this get published? And, in what fucking universe does shit like this get longlisted for an award? There’s some small justice in that this travesty of fiction didn’t make the Booker shortlist, but that it got published – and that anybody feels it worth celebrating – is still a mystery.

I hated this book.

Let’s start with the surface flaws. This is a badly written book. Badly written, boring, pretentious, stream-of-consciousness nonsense. It’s not jus
...more
Hugh
Longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize
This is another of the books some of us will be discussing face to face, so once again the review is in spoiler tags (now removed!):

This book is clever, readable and very funny, if sometimes baffling. It is inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the story of its creation, but also by recent developments in artificial intelligence and the concentration of money and power in the hands of ever smaller elites. There are several layers of story, which are mixe
...more
Collin
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NOMINATED FOR THE 2019 BOOKER LONGLIST.

Mary Shelly’s classic novel is about the creation of life. The creation of a creature made of multiple body parts, brought to life with a bolt of electricity. This novel deals not so much with creation, but with the transference of consciousness to a digital form enabling humanity to cheat death, to attain immortality. However, this is a massive simplification of the narrative, it is so much more, and deals with many issues that are hot topics today, It doe
...more
PattyMacDotComma
4.5★
“Yeah, you can be old, you can be ugly, you can be fat, smelly, you can have an STD, you can be broke. Whether you can’t get it up, or you can’t get it down, there’s an XX-BOT for you. Public service. I tell you, it is. Do you think I might get an MBE? Mum would love that.”


Well, that was certainly different! Even for Winterson, whom I always enjoy, this was an inventive, imaginative blend of past, present, and future. It is also a cautionary tale of “be careful what you wish for”.

The speaker
...more
Trudie
What an unexpected mid-winter highlight. After casting aside all my "should-be" reading books I decided to bust my way out of a reading slump by picking up this new book by Jeanette Winterson - an author I have never read. This was a particularly risky undertaking given my recent tussle with another author who also decided to play with robots ( I am not saying that book spectacularly failed but it wasn't great ).

Winterson's novel is a delightful treat for readers who have ever wondered about the
...more
Gumble's Yard
Now re-read, and with additional detail in my review, following its longlisting for the 2019 Booker Prize.

“I am what I am. But what I am is not one thing, not one gender. I live with doubleness”

“What is your substance, whereof you are made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?”


The book takes place in two timelines:

The first starts in 1816. in the rainy mid-year months in Geneva – a bored group of Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, her then lover and future husband Percy Shelley, Mary’s step
...more
Jackie
Aug 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
jesus christ this was a mess - and jeanette winterson is one of my favourite writers! written on the body is such an important book to me and doesn’t rely on binary understandings of gender and romance that rocked my entire world in the best way.

surprisingly, the most redeeming part of this book for me was the reimagining of mary shelley and the silly actual frankenstein references. i found the narrative arcs overall were engaging, kind of in the way White Teeth by Zadie Smith is, but much pulp
...more
But_i_thought_
To me, this book is an example of fictional instrumentalism in action — fiction written for the purpose of teaching the reader, as opposed to fiction as art. While on some level all fiction is imbued with meaning, some writing is more blunt in its messaging — and as a result, less effective in my opinion.

Told in two parallel narratives, the story follows Mary Shelley in the 19th century as she grapples with the genesis of Frankenstein, as well as “Ry Shelley” in the present day, a trans doctor i
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Okay I waited as long as I could to give in and read this ARC. I read all 352 pages on the night which also happened to be Jeanette Winterson's 60th birthday. She interweaves Mary Shelley with a 21st century transgender doctor named Ry - both are obsessed in different ways with concepts of bodies and creation. Themes of gender, found families, sex, creation, and love flow throughout but it's delightful to read and I devoured it. Please keep Winterson for the short list, Man Booker judges.

I recei
...more
Ace
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure what to expect from this title as I have never read the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, however it made little difference to the fun I had in reading this retelling of sorts.

Mostly it's about Mary Shelley and her sad back-story of children lost to disease in her short relationship with her husband Percy, and also about the writing of the story of her monster Frankenstein and then it flips to our modern day search for eternal or extended life. Most of the modern characters are
...more
Blaine
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-library, 2020
“I do not know if I am the teller or the tale.”
...
“If God hadn’t wanted us to tamper with things, She wouldn’t have given us brains.”
...
“The body that must fail and fall is not the end of the human dream.”

Frankissstein takes place in two timelines. The book opens with the famous real-life 1816 Lake Geneva gathering between 18-year-old Mary Shelley, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, John Polidori and Clair Clairmont. Lord Byron proposes that each of them craft a scary tale to tell the
...more
Barry Pierce
finally, a novel that answers the question: what if the hours but frankenstein!?
Eric Anderson
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can think of few classic novels that have had such a widespread influence on both popular culture and literature as Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus”. Even if people haven’t read Shelley’s novel they have a sense of Doctor Frankenstein’s creation from the many films which have (mistakenly) portrayed him as a senseless monster. I even went to a show recently called Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster where talented young musicians from the BAC Beatbox Academy re-created t ...more
Julie Ehlers
Frankissstein was a bit meandering, but I loved nearly every minute of it, from its discussions of AI and resurrecting the dead, to the reimagining of Mary Shelley's life, to the time spent with sexbots and their makers. As a novel, I'm not sure it all quite works together, but I'm hard pressed to think of another book that's as likable, outrageously funny, and just plain outrageous as this one is. All admiration to its creator.
MJ Nicholls
A splendid recasting of Mary Shelley’s legacy, two centuries since the publication of Frankenstein. Transmogrifying the tale to the world of sexbots and stem-cell cryogenics, the novel is comprised of energetic colloquies, comic and contemplative, on the coldness of artifical intelligence, the various orifices of sexbots, the self-selected monsterly qualities of trans people, and the irrelevance of the soul in a world without death. Back in the 1800s, Shelley spars with Lord Byron and Percy Byss ...more
Doug
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5, rounded up.

Bold and audacious in conception, masterful in execution, Winterson's novel never ceases to intrigue and mystify, in startling prose that it is an absolute pleasure to read. My only previous exposure to the author was her contribution to the modern Hogarth Shakespeare, and while I enjoyed her 'Winter's Tale' adaptation, The Gap of Time, it didn't quite prepare me for the depth of her abilities demonstrated here.

I must admit to a certain ongoing fascination with Mary Shelley and
...more
~Bookishly
I love Jeanette Winterson, and I think her writing is unique, as well as beautiful. I enjoyed some aspects of this particular book, but not all of it. It is typical Winterson from the onset, but for me, something was definitely missing.

When I started reading this, I honestly thought that I was going to absolutely love it, especially when we get a strong historical fiction kind of feel. Then suddenly, we are forwarded to the present day, where we meet Ry Shelley and Victor Stein. We are then unfo
...more
Rachel
Frankissstein is a bold, bawdy, and tremendously clever creation; the first of its two storylines follows Mary Shelley as she writes Frankenstein, and the second follows a host of characters in the present-day, chronicling the love story between Ry, a transgender doctor, and Victor Stein, a scientist with a passion for artificial intelligence.  The thematic interplay between these two narratives is genius, and Winterson brilliantly highlights the timelessness of the classic she's riffing off, as ...more
Kathleen
Booker Prize Longlist 2019. Winterson has written two stories that mirror each other—a historical one that begins in 1816 when Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is enjoying herself in the Alps with her poet husband and Lord Byron and writes her famous novel Frankenstein; and a modern-day one featuring a transgender doctor, Ry Shelley, and his lover Victor Stein who is dabbling in Artificial Intelligence experiments using body parts. In both stories, the author uses soliloquies by the main characters t ...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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