The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson is a present day retelling of The Winter’s Tale, one of Shakespeare’s lesser-discussed works, but it doesn’t feel modern. The writing is beautiful and I look forward to reading more of Winterson’s work, and based on this story I’m sure her other novels won’t disappoint. I had fun reading this book until the end, when all the loose ends got tangled up in each other. I feel like it wrapped up too quickly. Just about the time I was settling into a few scenes of character development, the book jumped to the finale.
The beginning of the book gives a plot summary of The Winter’s Tale, I guess so you can see how Winterson adapts the elements of the story. At first I found this strange but it’s actually necessary because the story is pretty ridiculous without knowing where it comes from, even considering that several events have been toned down. I still think The Gap of Time adheres too strictly to the original to feel modern. It puts the story in a current setting but doesn’t effectively update the plot. That being said, it’s supposed to be melodramatic. It’s not like these were mundane occurrences in Shakespeare’s time. The Gap of Time includes some very meta references – one character’s resume includes starring in a Jeanette Winterson play, and Shakespeare is mentioned a couple of times, which threw me out of the story. The book is about the size of a play at a brief 273 5x8 pages, and it feels more like a pet project than a magnum opus. It seems like Winterson slightly twisted the original subject matter as a fun experiment, and I don’t love how it came together. However implausible, this story is an enjoyable read if you keep its context in mind.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.