The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson
The Gap of Time
The Hogarth Shakespeare is a series of contemporary novelisations of Shakespearean plays to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. This is Jeanette Winterson’s off the wall take on The Winter’s Tale and she deftly captures all the magic and raw emotion of the original. We’re in contemporary London and Leontes becomes Leo, a megalomaniac hedge fund manager, insanely jealous of his wife MiMi’s closeness to his best friend, Xeno. Cranking things up, Leo and Xeno used to romp together in the shower as teenagers and Winterson makes her Leo a rapist too. Hermione is a boho French singer and Paulina is recast as a Jewish mom stereotype. The old shepherd who finds Perdita and raises her as his daughter is Shep here, a black musician with a past. It’s all stylishly done, whip smart and compelling. Still this Hogarth series raises the “Why?” question – why not just watch some actual Shakespeare in theatreland? Well the Bard plundered so heavily from other people’s plots that he would probably love how Winterson takes on his tale and finds a way to make it new.