The is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God's elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts. At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days' ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.
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Jeanette, the protagonist of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and the author's namesake, has issues--"unnatural" ones: her adopted mam thinks she's the Chosen one from God; she's beginning to fancy girls; and an orange demon keeps popping into her psyche. Already Jeanette Winterson's semi-autobiographical first novel is not your typical coming-of-age tale.
Brought up in a working-class Pentecostal family, up North, Jeanette follows the path her Mam has set for her. This involves Bible quizzes, a stint as a tambourine-playing Sally Army officer and a future as a missionary in Africa, or some other "heathen state". When Jeanette starts going to school ("The Breeding Ground") and confides in her mother about her feelings for another girl ("Unnatural Passions"), she's swept up in a feverish frenzy for her tainted soul. Confused, angry and alone, Jeanette strikes out on her own path, that involves a funeral parlour and an ice-cream van. Mixed in with the so-called reality of Jeanette's existence growing up are unconventional fairy tales that transcend the everyday world, subverting the traditional preconceptions of the damsel in distress.
In Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Winterson knits a complicated picture of teenage angst through a series of layered narratives, incorporating and subverting fairytales and myths, to present a coherent whole, within which her stories can stand independently. Imaginative and mischievous, she is a born storyteller, teasing and taunting the reader to reconsider their worldview. --Nicola PerryReview:
"She is a master of her material, a writer in whom great talent abides" (Muriel Spark Vanity Fair)
"Many consider her to be the best living writer in this language... In her hands, words are fluid, radiant, humming" ( Evening Standard)
"Even at a time when so many good and interesting novels are coming out, hers stand out as performances of real originality and extraordinary promise" ( John Bayley)
"wonderful rites-of-passage novel... where the author's blossoming Sapphic nature leads her to eschew her mothers proffered favourite" ( Mariella Frostrup)
"Still extraordinary, still brilliant" ( Metro)
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Book Description Vintage Books, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0099562995