The Fifty Women Challenge: ‘The World and Other Places’ by Jeanette Winterson **

As I was already a fan of Jeanette Winterson’s novels, I decided to try something a little different of hers for our challenge: a volume of short stories.  The World and Other Places is Winterson’s first collection, and I was incredibly interested to see how the genre suited her writing style.

There are a lot of different styles at play here; we have fairytale-esque shorts, those told from the perspective of men, stories set within imagined vistas, and real world slices of life to name but a few.  That said, the tales within The World and Other Places are a little too varied; there is no sense of cohesion between them, and reading them feels like rather a jarring process in consequence.

Winterson is both an intelligent and perceptive author, but despite this, I was not entirely enamoured with the collection.  There was no particular story which really stood out for me, or which I enjoyed, even.  Nothing felt quite as strong as I had supposed it would; the characters are flat, and the backdrops are shadowy and not quite realistic.  The World and Other Places is neither as interesting nor as engaging as I find her longer fiction.  I love the way in which Winterson writes, but I cannot help but think that she is far better suited to longer literary forms in which she is able to fully exercise her prowess.  Whilst I still really want to read the rest of her novels, I  shall happily hang fire on any other short story collections which she has published to date.

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2 thoughts on “The Fifty Women Challenge: ‘The World and Other Places’ by Jeanette Winterson **

  1. It’s funny, isn’t it, how some authors just are better suited to one particular length or genre, while others can switch easily and elegantly between them? I haven’t read any short stores by Jeanette Winterson – I suppose she needs time to build up the characters and layers in her work.

    • Yes, definitely! I find the same thing with Alice Munro, to be honest; I adore her short stories, but have been a little disappointed with her longer works.

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