“Style is king when you’re trying to wrest control of the narrative”

Winterson is as concerned with aesthetics as authenticity. Style is king when you’re trying to wrest control of the narrative. And narrative, in the Winterson household, was contested territory. “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t setting my story against [my mother’s],” she writes. “Adopted children are self-invented because we have to be; there is an absence, a void, a question mark at the very beginning of our lives.”

And the artist abhors a vacuum. Winterson aligns her stories with those of Oedipus, Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, Harry Potter. She, too, is a member of that most magical fraternity: orphans cruelly used but marked for greatness. Hers is a classic quest story—the kind deep in her storyteller’s DNA that she has riffed on her entire career. In this memoir, she seeks her biological mother and, above all, love. “How do you love another person? How do you trust another person to love you? I had no idea. I thought that love was loss.”

read more | Parul Sehgal, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? | Bookforum