Art & Lies

Jeanette Winterson
Handel is a failed priest but abiding Catholic with elitist tendencies whose work as a doctor forces him to consider social questions that he would probably rather avoid. Picasso, as she calls herself, is a young artist who has been sexually abused by her brother but whose family thinks she is at fault for her dark moods. Sappho is, indeed, Sappho, the lesbian poet of ancient Greece, who here proclaims herself a sensualist and then proceeds to dissect "the union of language and lust." The three converge in a place that may be England in a not-too-distant future made ugly by pollution and even uglier by greed. This is not a novel but an extended rift on art, sex, religion, social repression, the dangers of patriarchy, and everything that is wrong with the contemporary drift to the right. As such, it will be hard going for most readers, but those with some patience will discover exceptionally evocative writing and a vivifying review of some much-discussed contemporary issues.


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