Title: The Gap of Time
Author: Jeanette Winterson
Year Published: 2015
New Bohemia. America. A storm. A black man finds a white baby abandoned in the night. He gathers her up – light as a star – and decides to take her home.
London. England. After the financial crash. Leo Kaiser knows how to make money but he doesn’t know how to manage the jealousy he feels towards his best friend and his wife. Is the newborn baby even his?
New Bohemia. 17 years later. A boy and a girl are falling in love but there’s a lot they don’t know about who they are and where they come from.
Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale vibrates with echoes of the original but tells a contemporary story where Time itself is a player in a game of high stakes that will either end in tragedy or forgiveness. It shows us that however far we have been separated, whatever is lost shall be found.
I should note that as this book is a “cover version” of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale that I can’t note any similarities/differences between the two as I haven’t read nor seen The Winter’s Tale! At the start of the book there is a few pages summary of what happens in The Winter’s Tale but I want to read the full play for myself soon! I am very much interested in Shakespeare which is what led me to this book.
The Gap of Time is the first in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, a series published by Hogarth where authors will write their own takes on famous Shakespeare plays. This is a series that is currently planned to be publishing all three more in the series in 2016 with four more planned afterwards with contributions from authors like Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood, Gillian Flynn and more. I haven’t read that many plays by Shakespeare but I definitely want to read more of them. I think this publishing series is going to be a fantastic way to get Shakespeare into the hands of the people.
Especially if the books will be as good as The Gap of Time was!
I should also note, this is the first novel I’ve read by Jeanette Winterson. As she is a very highly praised and critically acclaimed author, I went in with fairly high expectations. Now at the beginning of the novel I felt her writing style was a bit too standard for someone of her acclaim. But as the novel progressed from about 1/4 into the book she really had me in the palm of her hand.
Winterson creates a fantastic range of characters throughout the novel. Whereas at the start of the novel I felt she was laying out the brick work for me with some of the characters; by the time the novel really started to flow and she started using flashbacks and subtly inserting characteristics, the characters became so real it was as if I was sitting across from them in a cafe.
Winterson weaves together all the storylines very beautifully and cleverly. I really liked some of the plot twists (not sure if she should be credited for them or Shakespeare should) and how the storylines overlapped with each other.
I found this to be a quick read but a fascinating one. If you’re new to Shakespeare I highly recommend this as The Gap of Time proves, you can take a writer like Shakespeare and adapt his work for a modern audience. Like Lin Manuel Miranda did with Hamilton.