“The Andreas sisters were raised on books – their family motto might as well be, ‘There’s no problem a library card can’t solve.’” – Summary taken from Eleanor Brown’s website.
Indeed, I was hooked from reading this very quote, perhaps it appealed to the Shakespeare geek in me or that I enjoy everything to do with Literature that is cleverly interwoven into texts, especially one so wonderfully written by Brown.
Yes, the use of the hyperbole is justified if you read the excerpt to her novel.
Of course, first impressions can be deceiving. But who cares? My literary appetite knows no boundaries and is hankering for a read of this novel.
Of late, there has been a trend of writing “literally literary” novels, joining the ranks of books like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (an epistolary novel) and one of the earliest I can remember reading, Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos. Some may mourn its lack of originality but really, I enjoy it because of the clever textual references. For the elitist in me, it works as an ego-booster.
And when one looks at Modern/Post-Modern books, you’ll realise that there is a trickling-down of original scripts, words, phrases, wit. And you start to realise.. There is a limit. Unfortunately, writers do not have the luxury of languishing in the sun or be trapped in their ivory tower. And writers are still human. And humans imitate each other. And yes, this is linked to Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit.
Writers like Winterson today rewrite words and texts so much so that this recycled material is made new. It is almost a religious process, which brings to mine several Biblical verses (Does 2 Corinthians ring a bell?). They recognise that there is no longer any sense of originality, that they do not reflect reality but rather, it participates in reality’s deceit and hypocrisy.
The natural step would be to re-write, re-construct and re-cycle.
“People like to separate storytelling which is not fact from history which is fact. They do this so that they know what to believe and what not to believe… Knowing what to believe had its advantages. It built an empire and kept people where they belonged, in the bright realm of the wallet…” – Winterson, Jeanette. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Chapter: Deuteronomy.
It is something for you to think about really. Shakespeare too is re-written so many times, though purists may mourn, the essential core remains unchanged. And perhaps I will go so far as to say that it too remains untainted. Indeed, it is wonderful that the possibilities are endless in Literature.