Weight: The Myth Of Atlas And Heracles

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Weight: The Myth Of Atlas And Heracles

by Jeanette Winterson

Knopf Canada | August 15, 2006 | Trade Paperback

4 out of 5 rating. 1 Reviews
The story of Atlas and Heracles

Atlas knows how it feels to carry the weight of the world; but why, he asks himself, does it have to be carried at all? In Weight - visionary and inventive, yet completely believable and relevant to the questions we ask ourselves every day - Winterson's skill in turning the familiar on its head to show us a different truth is put to stunning effect.


When I was asked to choose a myth to write about, I realized I had chosen already. The story of Atlas holding up the world was in my mind before the telephone call had ended. If the call had not come, perhaps I would never have written the story, but when the call did come, that story was waiting to be written. Rewritten. The recurring language motif of Weight is "I want to tell the story again."

My work is full of Cover Versions. I like to take stories we think we know and record them differently. In the retelling comes a new emphasis or bias, and the new arrangement of the key elements demands that fresh material be injected into the existing text.


Weight moves far away from the simple story of Atlas's punishment and his temporary relief when Hercules takes the world off his shoulders. I wanted to explore loneliness, isolation, responsibility, burden, and freedom too, because my version has a very particular end not found elsewhere.
-from Jeanette Winterson's Foreword to Weight


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 168 Pages, 5.12 × 7.09 × 0.39 in

Published: August 15, 2006

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0676974236

ISBN - 13: 9780676974232

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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– More About This Product –

Weight: The Myth Of Atlas And Heracles

Weight: The Myth Of Atlas And Heracles

by Jeanette Winterson

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 168 Pages, 5.12 × 7.09 × 0.39 in

Published: August 15, 2006

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0676974236

ISBN - 13: 9780676974232

Read from the Book

I want to tell the story again The free man never thinks of escape. In the beginning there was nothing. Not even space and time. You could have thrown the universe at me and I would have caught it in one hand. There was no universe. It was easy to bear. This happy nothing ended fifteen aeons ago. It was a strange time, and what I know is told to me in radioactive whispers; that’s all there is left of one great shout into the silence. What is it that you contain? The dead. Time. Light patterns of millennia opening in your gut. Every minute, in each of you, a few million potassium atoms succumb to radioactive decay. The energy that powers these tiny atomic events has been locked inside potassium atoms ever since a star-sized bomb exploded nothing into being. Potassium, like uranium and radium, is a long-lived radioactive nuclear waste of the supernova bang that accounts for you. Your first parent was a star. It was hot as hell in those days. It was Hell, if hell is where the life we love cannot exist. Those ceaseless burning fires and volcanic torments are lodged in us as ultimate fear. The hells we invent are the hells we have known. Hell is; was not, is not, cannot. Science calls it the world before life began — the Hadean period. But life had begun, because life is more than the ability to reproduce. In the molten lava spills and cratered rocks, life longed for life. The proto, the almost, the maybe . Not Venus. Not Mars. Earth. Planet Earth, that wanted life so
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From the Publisher

The story of Atlas and Heracles

Atlas knows how it feels to carry the weight of the world; but why, he asks himself, does it have to be carried at all? In Weight - visionary and inventive, yet completely believable and relevant to the questions we ask ourselves every day - Winterson's skill in turning the familiar on its head to show us a different truth is put to stunning effect.


When I was asked to choose a myth to write about, I realized I had chosen already. The story of Atlas holding up the world was in my mind before the telephone call had ended. If the call had not come, perhaps I would never have written the story, but when the call did come, that story was waiting to be written. Rewritten. The recurring language motif of Weight is "I want to tell the story again."

My work is full of Cover Versions. I like to take stories we think we know and record them differently. In the retelling comes a new emphasis or bias, and the new arrangement of the key elements demands that fresh material be injected into the existing text.


Weight moves far away from the simple story of Atlas's punishment and his temporary relief when Hercules takes the world off his shoulders. I wanted to explore loneliness, isolation, responsibility, burden, and freedom too, because my version has a very particular end not found elsewhere.
-from Jeanette Winterson's Foreword to Weight


From the Hardcover edition.

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.

Editorial Reviews

"One of the most worthwhile and singular reads of 2005. Jeanette Winterson creates an uncategorisable, meditative and moving book."
-David Mitchell, Sunday Herald (Glasgow)


From the Hardcover edition.
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