So I have found myself drawn to memoirs and contemporary writers. As I was launching my business I found mid and early twentieth century writers conveniently approachable in that they have a category and historical context. I find myself somewhat at sea with contemporary writers. Maybe I shouldn't worry, but just follow my nose. What is it that makes you pick up a book and read it? I know that the first writer in this series of memoirs, Jeanette Winterson, has beckoned for some time. I read and loved Oranges are not the Only Fruit when it first came out and then had trouble with Sexing the Cherry, but regretfully so and wanted to return to her work some day, often reading features on her or reviews in the books section of the papers.
Finally, listening Winterson read extracts on Radio Four's Book of the Week prompted me to buy Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?. The bit they didn't cover in the radio version, which particularly intrigued me, was the chapter on her depression, which I really wanted to read. You could view it as a gory confessional, which in many ways it was due to the astonishing cruelty of her adopted mother. However, she had that humour and detatchment that a writer gives you. Her language opens up the door to her world and experience it a way that feels as though you're one of her friends, but doesn't detract from the impact of the events.
I loved that she could see the humanity in her mother, despite everything, that she always yearned for closeness. I loved her working her way through the fiction section of the library starting from A and getting to Z. I loved reading about how she she got to Oxford her tutor told her she was the token working class girl and proceeded to ignore all the women who were left to fend for themselves, but they came together and worked it out for themselves.
I've always thought Winterson would look great in my Toklas jacket. Maybe I should write to her and suggest this. I shall keep you posted.