Art & Lies

by Jeanette Winterson

Knopf Canada | June 24, 1995 | Trade Paperback

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''There is no such thing as autobiography, there is only art and lies''. Set in a London of the near future, its three principal characters, Handel, Picasso and Sappho, separately flee the city and find themselves on the same train, drawn to one another through the curious agency of a book. Stories within stories take us through the unlikely love affairs of one Doll Sneerpiece, an 18th century bawd, and into the world of painful beauty where language has the power to heal. Art & Lies is a question and a quest: How shall I live?

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: June 24, 1995

Publisher: Knopf Canada

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0394280814

ISBN - 13: 9780394280813

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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– More About This Product –

Art & Lies

Art & Lies

by Jeanette Winterson

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: June 24, 1995

Publisher: Knopf Canada

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0394280814

ISBN - 13: 9780394280813

Read from the Book

The man lay with his head propped on the book. The back of his skull felt hot, not hot and sticky as his forehead did, but as though his head had been packed with embers. There were ashes in his mouth. He opened his eyes and saw the neutral roof of the train. He breathed consciously, hating the flat air, and it seemed to him that every dead thing in his life was crouching over him, taking the air. He got up suddenly, too quickly, saw the train in a whirligig out of the bullseyes of his sockets. Round and round the neutral patterned seats, round and round the faux wood tables, the still train spinning. Twisted faces lurched at him as he was caught in a kaleidoscope of arms. Round and round, the sick of his stomach, and the rouletting train. He fell. He fell at the window with both fists, impossible, against the safety glass. In his dream terror he saw the hammer, or was it the axe, strapped snug in a little red holder against the heave. He put his hand through the shattering plastic, and heard somewhere, a long way off, the dull ugly bell that warned him to go back to the schoolroom, back to the operating theatre, that the oxygen was low, that someone was at the door to see him. The door. He found the door, sealed in its protective, insulating rubber, and with all his strength, he brought the axe to cleave the seam. The vacuum dispersed. The doors bounced apart, just enough for him to shove the haft between them, and then he thought that two angels came on either side of his w
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From the Publisher

''There is no such thing as autobiography, there is only art and lies''. Set in a London of the near future, its three principal characters, Handel, Picasso and Sappho, separately flee the city and find themselves on the same train, drawn to one another through the curious agency of a book. Stories within stories take us through the unlikely love affairs of one Doll Sneerpiece, an 18th century bawd, and into the world of painful beauty where language has the power to heal. Art & Lies is a question and a quest: How shall I live?

From the Jacket

One of the most audacious writers on either side of the Atlantic now gives us an arousing and wise improvisation on art, Eros, and identity.
A train hurtles through the future with three passengers on board: a disillusioned surgeon named Handel, whose humanity has been sacrificed to intellect; a woman artist named Picasso, cast out by a family that drove her to madness; and the lesbian poet Sappho, who has propagated her subversive gospel through centuries of censorship and exile. Out of their interwoven stories comes an impassioned, philosophical, and, above all, daring novel that burns with phosphorescent prose on every page.

About the Author

A novelist whose honours include England's Whitbread Prize, and the American Academy's E. M. Forster Award, as well as the Prix d'argent at the Cannes Film Festival, Jeanette Winterson burst onto the literary scene as a very young woman in 1985 with Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Her subsequent novels, including Sexing the Cherry, The Passion, Written on the Body, and The PowerBook, have also gone on to receive great international acclaim. Her latest novel is Lighthousekeeping, heralded as "a brilliant, glittering, piece of work" (The Independent). She lives in London and the Cotswolds.


From the Hardcover edition.

From the Author

The sub-title of this book is - A piece for three voices and a bawd. The three voices are Handel, a distinguished surgeon and one-time Catholic priest. Picasso, a young woman who wants to be a painter. Sappho, a poet, in 660 BC and now. The bawd in question is one Doll Sneerpiece, an eighteenth century whore. The book is set in an imagined future where the State has almost total control and where individual values count for nothing. The action takes place in a single day as the three travel towards the coast by train. Narratives that are separate gradually come together until by the end of the book, all three destinies have combined. All of my books manipulate time, in an effort to free the mind from the effects of gravity. The present has a weight to it - the weight of our lives, the weight of now. By imaginatively moving sideways, I try to let in more light and air. So in this book, Sappho both is and isn't the ancient poet of antiquity. She is and isn't a modern day beat poet living in a squat. She's double. Her own double. Handel is the way into the book. Think of him as a Handle as well as a play on the composer. He's old-fashioned, reserved, sensitive, afraid of the brave new world as well as being conscious of it being the logical product of men like himself. He's not a hate figure though, he's someone I wanted to understand. Picasso. Well, take the most famous painter of the twentieth century and re-gender him. I was thinking of that Virginia Woolf passage in A Room o
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Editorial Reviews

"Winterson''s most ambitious work...beautiful writing, shaped line by line into word sculptures....I salute Winterson''s skill at word-turning and word-spinning, her ability to mint shining images in a few golden lines." -The Independent on Sunday, U.K.

"Several leaps forward in sophistication and technique from The Passion, which won the 1987 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize....a smooth-running...piece of machinery, which throws out... brilliant sparks." -The Montreal Gazette

"Dazzling...truly exciting to read." -The Times, U.K.

"Powerful." -The Toronto Sun

"Winterson soars with Art and Lies." -The Calgary Herald

"Expands the gender game...hurtles along so breathtakingly...Intriguing...Profound." -Now magazine

"If words were diamonds and sentences necklaces, Jeanette Winterson would be the De Beers of literature." -Entertainment Weekly
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