By Jeanette Winterson
(Grove Press, Paperback, 9780802135223, 176pp.)
Publication Date: August 1997
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Jeanette Winterson’s novels have established her as one of the most important young writers in world literature. The Passion is perhaps her most highly acclaimed work, a modern classic that confirms her special claim on the novel. Set during the tumultuous years of the Napoleonic Wars, The Passion intertwines the destinies of two remarkable people: Henri, a simple French soldier, who follows Napoleon from glory to Russian ruin; and Villanelle, the red-haired, web-footed daughter of a Venetian boatman, whose husband has gambled away her heart. In Venice’s compound of carnival, chance, and darkness, the pair meet their singular destiny.
In her unique and mesmerizing voice, Winterson blends reality with fantasy, dream, and imagination to weave a hypnotic tale with stunning effects.
Its concentrated, beautifully detailed prose recalls the diction of fairy tale; its plot incorporates their magic, their shrewd wit and brutality
a deeply imagined and beautiful book, often arrestingly so.” The New York Times
Recalls Garcia Marquez magical touches dance like highlights over the brilliance of this fairy tale about passion, gambling, madness, and androgynous ecstasy.” Edmund White
A historical novel quite different from any other it is written with a living passion, an eyewitness immediacy .Winterson is a master of her material, a writer in whom great talent deeply abides.” Vanity Fair
The overwhelming impression of her work is one of remarkable self-confidence, and she evidently thrives on risk .As good as Poe: it dares you to laugh and stares you down.” The New York Review of Books
The book has the enchanted pessimism of the best fairy tales. The Passion is a love story, a meditation on pleasure and its limits, a poetic novel written in a style that is wholly original.” Interview