Book Notes: Frankissstein

Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
Read Oct 5, 2021 - Oct 17, 2021

It’s hard to summarize what Frankisstein is about. Regardless, this is a gorgeous, juicy piece of writing.

It tells two intertwined fictions about Mary Shelley: one about the historical Shelley, and one about a contemporary, wholly imagined one. Both Shelleys live through a complicated love story. Both Shelleys are haunted by their own Victor Frankenstein.

There are themes of gender, love, mad science and its ethics (or lack thereof). There is, of course, underappreciated feminine genius. But really any themes would be made worthwhile by Winterson’s lyrical prose.

Book Highlights

I reflected that without language, or before language, the mind cannot comfort itself. And yet it is the language of our thoughts that tortures us more than any excess or deprivation of nature.

London is perpetual; a constant streaming present hurrying towards a receding future.

The light of science burns brightest in a blood-soaked wick.

What is real life these days?

What seems so solid and certain is really part of the ceaseless pull-it-down-build-it-again pattern of history, where the turbulence of the past is recast as landmark, as icon, as tradition, as what we defend, what we uphold – until it’s time to call in the wrecking ball.

The heart is the heart of us.

I want to live long enough to reach the future.

Every word written is like a child striking a flame against the darkness.

Wretched conditions may be blamed, or the weight of business, or the urge to power, but our beings struggle in our bodies like light trapped in a jar, and our bodies struggle in this world as a beast of burden chafes its yoke, and this world itself hangs alone on its noose, strung among the indifferent stars.

Only in the living of it does life seem ordinary. In the telling of it we find ourselves strangers among the strange.

Anyone can live in a past that is gone or a future that does not exist. The opposite of either position is the present.

Time will find us out but not yet. Enough to sleep in the temporary forever of now.

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