Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Stone Gods


Book Title: The Stone Gods
Author: Jeanette Winterson
Date Started: April 14th 2015
Date Completed: April 19th 2015
Genres: Romance, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Quality Rating: Four Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Two Stars
Final Rating: Three stars

I hate that it's this novel's unconventional nature that meant I struggled with it. But to be honest, it was different to the point where I didn't actually know what I was reading and what was happening for most of the book.

I think Winterson has a really lovely writing style, and I really do like her experimentation with prose text. But, for a novel that has so many other little confusing things, the chunks of dialogue, and then just narration, and then weird mixes of the two, just became too much to keep up with. It became very hard to correlate the text to what was actually happening in the story.
However, I think the comments made on modern life, feminism and homophobia was brilliant, and the way they were integrated into the plot (at first anyway) made it really powerful. On the other hand, it did become dominating at time - I'm still not sure if the book itself is supposed to be a comment on these issues, or if there's supposed to be a story that poses these questions.

The Stone Gods started off really interestingly for me: it took me a bit to understand the flow but then I really got engaged with the plot and messages it communicated. Then, when things started to get a bit confusing with the chunks of dialogue and then narration etc, I kept going thinking it would sort itself out. Then we had our first time jump - if that's what it was. This, unfortunately, was the final straw for my understanding of the book. First of all, I don't understand how they fit with the rest of the story, and it left me utterly lost in terms of location, time, progress of the characters and the whole plot. And, actually, I can't see what they add tot eh story itself. If there were some parallels drawn between the unusual jumps to get across a message that'd be great - but I honestly can't see anything.
Furthermore, I expected things to become more and more clear as I came to the end: it's a complex book and I'm fine waiting until the end to understand what it's trying to get across. But I got to the end and it just kind of...stopped. For me, things changed so drastically so many times - and not in the plot itself, more in how the story was told - and I just completely lost the thread of progress. The worst thing is I don't know if there was something I just didn't get with the whole book, or if there actually wasn't anything to get in the first place.

Even though the characters seem to be the pivot of the story, they only seemed half there a lot of the time. I struggled to get when they were actually talking and when Billie was musing and...well everything else was just confusing for me.
Overall, I really liked Billie. I thought she had a good balance of emotions: outrage, wonder, sarcasm, love etc. She was the only person that at most points in the story I could explain why she was where she was and how she got there - physically and emotionally.
I really hate to say it, but Spike didn't break the 'are robots robots, or are they still a form of life?' concept - she really did read robotically and without much emotion. I couldn't tell if that was the point or not, but she was one of the many little things I didn't understand about this book.

I think pacing is an important part of this novel; I don't think I had the patience to bear with it the whole way through. There's a lot more to this book than the story and its pacing, but because of that things are quite jumbled and confusing and so I found it very hard to enjoy.

For me, The Stone Gods just got a bit too weird and confusing for me to keep up with. I think this could be a brilliant book if you have the patience and an open-mind, but because of the way I went into it, I don't think I would've liked it much anyway.

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