A Beautiful Tragedy

…and isn’t that what Shakespeare was great at? Writing beautiful tragedies?
The Gap of Time is one of the Hogarth Shakespeare Project books. It is a retelling of The Winter’s Tale– a Shakespeare I have not yet read. Luckily a synopsis is included in the beginning of the book, which is helpful. This is also my first Jeanette Winterson, who herself, makes an appearance in this novel.
In this version, Leo and Xeno are boyhood friends whose lives continue to mix into adulthood. Relationships are made, created and destroyed. Jealousy and controlling behaviors rule. Children are born and lost- or are they?
While this version is meant for the modern era, it still feels timeless. The overtone of the book is sadness- you are sad for the characters- even the ones whose actions don’t deserve sympathy. There are tidbits, hints and nuggets of other Shakespeare’s works in here (Perdita calls herself Miranda, fittingly, at one point) and these are fun to spot.

This is adults behaving badly and how that impacts the lives of their children. It is how the loss of a child can ruin the lives of everyone around her. About how jealousy can explode so far out of it’s container that the shrapnel goes way beyond the immediate parties entwined in it. This was a very quick read.

The character names in the book are versions of the names from the play, which is also fun- the current versions are just that- more modern versions of these names. In the play, the city of Sicilia is the backdrop-in this novel, Sicilia is the company owned by Leo (Leontes from the play). It was nice to see this homage while still keeping the story relevant.

The only negative was the last chapter. It went from telling Shep’s story and rolled into the author making the connection between this and The Winter’s Tale. It was a weird transition and maybe should have just been in it’s own chapter. Otherwise it was beautiful (the cover is also very lovely to look at!).

Thank you Blogging for Books for providing this novel in exchange for my review.