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.