Feeling temporarily a bit over-filled on fantasy and sci fi, I reached for Jeanette Winterson’s thin tome Weight, thinking it would take me for a round of travels in the real world or something more like it than the last several books I had read.
It turned out to be a re-telling of the Atlas myth.
But oh pod was it wonderful—a very quick read, every sentence a beautiful blossom that you could pluck and put on your kitchen table to admire, full of so much wisdom, humor, and wonder. Weight is the kind of book that you want to throw big fancy adjectives at. Profound. Provocative. Compelling. Poetic. Moving. Masterful. Challenging.
The funny thing was, I wasn’t even expecting to like this book, once I remembered what it was about. I don’t usually go in for the Greek myths, but it is hard for me to dislike anything—even a single sentence—that Winterson writes. Now my list of all-time-favorite Jeanette Winterson books goes like this: 1. Boating for Beginners 2. Weight 3. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Weight jumped right up to the top in one sweeping leap.
Already, on the second page of the story she was throwing around sentences like “Your first parent was a star.” The way that she describes the creation of rocks makes geology poetic, makes sediment story. Time is a story. “‘Tell me the time,’ you say. And what you really mean is ‘Tell me a story.'” Yes, Jeanette, please, tell me a story. Tell me all the stories.
If you’ve heard the story of Atlas, you don’t need me to wrap up the plot. Besides, who cares? You could read this book for the sheer joy of each individual sentence. But Heracles’ banter is witty and Winterson’s version of the story compelling. If you like myths you will like book. If you like writing you will like this book. If you like stories or imagining the world on the back of a god who plucks the first dog sent into space out of his ship and keeps him for company on his shoulder you will like this book. You will like this book. Believe me.
Five out of five everythings.
Where I got it: The Frankfurt Book Fair
Where you can get it: The Book Depository (Free shipping world-wide)