“What other places are there in the world than those discovered on a lover’s body?”
For day one of genderless narrators week (part of our unconventional narrator month), I’m excited to share “Written on the Body” by Jeanette Winterson. I picked this book up a few months ago, thanks to my lovely friend @sarahelyce (who is the absolute best to shop for books with)
The synopsis of the story may seem typical: a lifelong philanderer has fallen deeply in love with an unhappily married woman. But Winterson never reveals whether the narrator is male or female. This creates a whole different experience for the reader, one I was completely captivated by. Winterson is a master of words, crafting lyrical prose that kept my eyes glued to the page, not wanting to evert my focus away from the brilliance unfolding before me.
But I think the choice to withhold the narrator’s gender from us was strategic in the fact that desire and lust and an all-consuming love affair is a human experience, not limited to a specific gender.
The New York Times described this books as both a love story and “a philosophical meditation on the body as both physical entity and objective correlative of our innermost selves, our bodies as our embodiment.” I wholeheartedly agree with this review as I found myself thinking of the body on a deeper level, contemplating the power of being so fiercely in love with every part of someone, that even the thought of their blood and organs and tissues excites you.
That is what “Written on the Body” will make you do: feel the phenomenon of love.