Sunday, April 19, 2009
Winterson, Jeanette. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit. New York: Grove Press, 1985.
Reviewed by J. d’Artagnan Love
The color orange is supposed to represent energy and warmth but it is a far cry from what the protagonist experiences in Winterson’s first novel, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit. Raised in a Pentecostal church, Jeanette experiences extreme ridicule and humiliation after she is discovered to be in a romantic partnership with another woman. She is publicly humiliated in church causing her great emotional strife.
This is a difficult review to write after only reading the book once. There are many, many layers in this text that I certainly did not discover after just one pass through. One section of the text is a mythical fairy tale which emphasizes the importance of story-telling in the text. It wasn’t apparent to me at first, but the more I read the more I picked up on the numerous strands of stories that were being woven together.
Winterson writes, “Of course that is not the whole story, but that is the way with stories; we make them what we will. It’s a way of explaining the universe while leaving the universe unexplained, it’s a way of keeping it all alive, not boxing it into time” (93). This is a good way to interpret this work. It explains everything while leaving everything unexplained. Certainly worth reading a couple of times.
3.5 darts out of 5