AUTHOR: Jeanette Winterson
PUBLISHER: Vintage International
AWARDS: Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction (1994), Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction (1994)
Written on the Body
by Jeanette Winterson
Like all Winterson novels (Sexing the Cherry, The Passion), this ambiguous love story is a philosophical meditation, this time on the body: the body as physical phenomenon, and the body as repository of our emotions and souls. The object is a married woman named Louise, and the narrator is her lover, gender undeclared, who reveals the topography of desire for readers.
Written on the Body is a secret code only visible in certain lights: the accumulation of a lifetime gather there. In places the palimpsest is so heavily worked that the letters feel like braille. I like to keep my body rolled away from prying eyes, never unfold too much, tell the whole story. I didn’t know that Louise would have reading hands. She has translated me into her own book.
A main character (unnamed, gender unspecified) can be interpreted as attracted to people of multiple genders, or the story can be interpreted in many ways due to the ambiguity of gender.