The Stone Gods, by Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson's novel The Stone Gods opens with the following lines:

"This new world weighs a yatto-gram.

But everything is trial size; tread-on-me tiny or blurred-out-of-focus huge. There are leaves that have grown as big as cities, and there are birds that nest in cockleshells. On the white sand there are long-toed clawprints deep as nightmares, and there are rock pools in hand-hollows finned by invisible fish.

Trees like skyscrapers, and housing as many. Grass the height of hedges, nuts the swell of pumpkins. Sardines that would take two men to land them. Eggs, pale-blue-shelled, each the weight of a breaking universe."
The above is a fair sample of Winterson's writing--The Stone Gods is one of the most lyrical science fiction novels I've ever read. If you're that one person in a thousand who has read and appreciated both 2001: A Space Odyssey and Milton's Paradise Lost, this is totally the book for you.

Unfortunately, Winterson's emphasis on style limits her ability to tell a satisfying story. The novel consists of three interlinked story arcs, all of which feel prematurely cut-off: a love affair between a woman and a robot on a dying planet, the tale of a sailor on Captain Cook’s Easter Island, and a group of people (namesakes of earlier characters) living in a post-apocalyptic world. The Stone Gods fearlessly explores concepts like love, human identity, and our seeming compulsion to destroy the Earth--heavy stuff to cover, particularly considering the book is a mere 206 pages long. Winterson doesn't handle all of her subject matter with equal grace, but you have to admire both the beauty of her writing and the jaw-dropping scope of her ambition.
Posted by: Julianka


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