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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
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
From the Hardcover edition.