'We all know of writers who just keep writing the same book, but what is sadder is when a true writer seems to run out of books. T.S. Eliot observed that to continue to develop stylistically, a writer had to continue to develop emotionally . . . It is a commonplace of psychology that human beings, beyond a certain age, find it difficult to supplement their personalities with new emotional understandings. If this happens to the writer, she is lost.'
Jeanette Winterson, 'A Work of My Own',
Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery (1995)
From the outside, Jeanette Winterson's new book looks quite different from what she usually does. Instead of one of those browny-orangey oil paintings she has hitherto put on her covers, this one is sunshine yellow, small and square. It's bright, modern, not blurry: '21st-century fiction', as the advertisement on the inner flap proclaims. An extended conceit to do with personal computers is carried through to the setting of the author's name - Jeanette.Winterson - and of the title, The. PowerBook, itself. And to GUIesque, tarotish little icons - an e-mail with an eye in it, a tulip with a vaginal-or-maybe-disk-drive-like slot in it. 'Using cover versions, fairytales, contemporary myths and popular culture The.PowerBook works at the intersection between the real and the imagined . . . Intense, erotic, incandescent in the power and beauty of its prose, T.PB is an astonishing achievement.' Jeanette Winterson generally writes her own jacket copy. If you hadn't already guessed.
LRB 7 September 2000 | PDF Download