Category Archives: Jeanette Winterson

11th Discussion: Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods (15 Jul 2010)

We asked the question that why the lesbian writers we read thus far dislike gay men so much. Manfred is described as selfserving and despicable; the another two “gay” men in 1774 have to die. Raj mentioned that all men—not only gay ones—are denigrated in that the men are looking for something they don’t have (eggs, a feminine symbol).

The female characters are portrayed in a significantly better light, as Timmy pointed out. Even Pink, who is supposed to be a Paris Hilton figure, is complex and sympathetic. Judgmental Billie is a thinly veiled stand-in for Jeanette Winterson. Aaron saw this intrusion of author as character egoistic and narcissistic.

Aaron brought up the issue of the West VS the Others, of how Winterson sees the world in dichotomies. She sees China as communist and Arabs as agrarians. Her racism is appalling especially that she wrote the book in 2007, a time when London (where the author lives) is a metropolis with many races.

The notion of Christianity is complicated. The nun loves champagne and sardines, a parody of wine and 5 fish. There is Spike, the AI which is made to evolve and even to become god. Although the notion of Christianity is intricate, Aaron claimed that Winterson’s upbringing as a pentacostal prophet shows in her dictatorship and criticalness – as if she were trying to play God.

Raj brought up an interesting point that the cycle of destruction and construction of worlds mirrors Hinduism.

Isaac, however, argued rather convincingly that there is value in the book. Although Isaac disliked the pedantic nature of the book, he claimed that it is an ambitious work on love and humanity and environment. “Save the world” is one of the messages of the book. Another is that love is what makes humans human. The non-chronological writing style is also interesting.

Aaron The Curmudgeon said that the two messages are commonplace and too simple. An ad on global warming can achieve in 15 seconds what Winterson sets to achieve, taking the reader 3 hours to read her book. Her writing style is old and tired, and, Aaron said, she should retire gracefully into her organic shop instead of trying to make a comeback like Air Supply.

At the end of the day, Isaac’s earnestness and fervor rescued the book when he said that it is a book of potentialities. Aaron The Curmudgeon might have something nasty to retort but Isaac’s benevolence sewed his trap up. Good trumps Evil. Happy Ending.

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Filed under Jeanette Winterson, Lesbian, S/F, UK