For the Lincoln LGBTQ Reading Group, we selected The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson as our May title. I was unable to attend our monthly meeting to discuss the book, so I have no idea how others felt about this read. It was recommended by one of our newest members, a recommendation that I was happy to take!
Winterson is the author of several books, including Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. I’ve not read that book, but I have seen the film based on it. Rather a good watch, and based on my read of The Stone Gods, I imagine Oranges to be a rather good read as well. I will have to find out some day.
The Stone Gods is written in three parts. Almost entirely separate stories. It is science fiction and fantasy rolled into one. Parts 1 and 3 are the science fiction. Part 2 is the fantasy, though it could also be described as historical fiction or even speculative. I know, sounds confusing.
The book is somewhat confusing to read. I must admit that. It took my a little while to get into it because of Winterson’s choice of style for the book. Not having read her other works, I do not know if she uses the same style for everything. Again, I may just have to find out sometime in the future.
All three parts of the book follow the life of Billie. Billie is a reporter. Billy is a sailor. Billie is a computer programmer. Then there is Spike. Spike’s roll doesn’t change in her parts. She is a Robo sapiens. Any way that you look at the characters, whether in the future, the past, or the present, they are unique and real-ish. Spike is hard to accept as real in the present day, our science hasn’t reached that point in AI. Or have we? Billie is very real throughout the book. Even as the sailor stranded on Easter Island – perhaps where Winterson got the book’s title.
I enjoyed the read, once I got passed the disjointed manner it is written in. It was jarring at first. Not at all what I was expecting or anything close to how I write. It settled down, in my mind, into a storytelling style that put the whole book into the perspective of Billie remembering everything. Whether she was in the future (part 1), the past (part 2), or the present (part 3).
But wait. Was each part a different tense? Or were they all future, past, and present? I think that is one of the philosophical parts of the book that I enjoyed the most. When were these parts taking place in the time line of Billie and Spike? When were these parts taking place in the time line of the human race?
You’ll have to read it to decide for yourself. I don’t regret taking the time out of my otherwise busy reading schedule to enjoy this book. Can’t promise the same for any of you, but I would recommend the book.
Our June selection is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg.