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Archive for December 10th, 2008

I Want To Tell The Story Again

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It was interesting to read Jeanette Winterson’s introduction to Weight not long after reading The Stone Gods:

My work is full of Cover Versions. I like to take stories we think we know and record them differently. In the re-telling comes a new emphasis or bias, and the new arrangement of the key elements demands that fresh material be injected into the existing text.

Autobiography is not important. Authenticity is important. The writer must fire herself through the text, be the molten stuff that welds together disparate elements. I believe there is always exposure, vulnerability, in the writing process, which is not to say it is confessional or memoir. Simply, it is real.

This is described as her introduction but by the nature of what she is writing it is part of the main text. It could be equally applied to The Stone Gods and the pair form a duet of theme and execution.

Weight is part of the Canongate Myths series. I’ve found other examples from Margaret Atwood and Ali Smith – two writers I admire greatly – disappointing but Winterson’s tale succeeds far beyond the publisher’s uninspiring goal of retelling a myth in “a contemporary and memorable way”.

Written by Martin

10 December 2008 at 13:27

Posted in books, quotes

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