Review: Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

This book was required reading for two of my college lit courses: one for modern women authors and other titled “queer theory.”  The former because Written on the Body was written by Jeannette Winterson in 1992; the latter because the unnamed narrator is of an undefined sex and gender. The obvious question: how can you write 190 pages in close, first person narration without indicating whether the speaker is male or female? So much in our society carries the understanding of being “for women,” “for men,” it seems unbelievable that a character won’t imply a preferred identity through their choices. In creating this ambiguity, Winterson is careful to never push her narrator too close to conventional ideas of masculinity or femininity. read more