Shakespeare is the playwright most of us associate with theatre, and with good reason, too. Having accomplished much in the way of tragedies, some of his comedies are often overlooked and under-appreciated. The Winter’s Tale is one such play that isn’t studied with such frequency as many of his others. We have been treated to modernizations of his works through many contemporary movies, such as 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s the Man. Following in that vein, The Gap in Time is Jeanette Winterson’s modernization of The Winter’s Tale.
Leo’s heavily pregnant wife Mimi is spending lots of time with his best friend, Xeno, which leads Leo to assume that they’re having an affair. Going on a murderous rampage, Leo attempts to kill Xeno, fails, and goes home to Mimi and forces himself on her, after which she goes in to labor and delivers a daughter. Not believing that she’s his daughter, Leo asks his gardener to take her to her father, Xeno. Becoming estranged from all in his previous life, Leo continues on his power-hungry business life. Perdita, his daughter, is adopted by Shep and his son Col. Nearing her 18th birthday, Perdita learns the truth of her parentage and seeks out Leo to learn more about him and her mother, who she assumes is dead. A reunion of the family brings back memories, draws emotions up to the surface, and brings long held secrets to light.
I enjoyed the narrative re-envisioning of The Winter’s Tale with the various recent contemporary references and shout-outs to Shakespeare until Winterson’s interjection at the end that wound up feeling overly informative and preachy. It could be argued that it’s like Shakespeare himself, yet when he interjected it was throughout the entire play, often in the guise of a fool character or a chorus, not only at the end as was done here. This makes an assumption that the audience is stupid and unable to make connections on their own-please give the audience the credit they deserve. The narrative became slightly confusing at points when the omniscient perspective shifted between characters a bit too rapidly throughout passages, but it was reflective of the comedy of errors to see the different perspectives portrayed within the Bard’s plays.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.
*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.