Book Review: The Stone Gods – Jeanette Winterson

The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson

The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson

The Stone Gods is basically three separate end of the world scenarios all
involving heroine, Billie Crusoe. The first one, Planet Blue, is about a planet
called Orbus where the pollution levels have become so high that human life will
only be able to survive there for a few more years. Because of this, a new
planet, Planet Blue, was sought out for the people of Orbus to move to. The
second story, Easter Island, is about an island that the natives have stripped
of all its natural resources in order to make a series of Stone Gods. The
islanders are at war however, and while one side is all about the Stone Gods,
the other is all about destroying them. In the meantime, both sides are
destroying all of their food sources without realizing it. The third story,
Post-3 War/Wreck City is set on Earth after a horrible nuclear war.

We move from this futuristic world to Easter Island where we
witness the destruction of this island. We move from one planet (an island in
space) to a literal island in the sea. The imagery changes from futuristic to
“savage” and more “primitive,” thus tracing the line of human nature’s will to
destruction. Winterson is able to take the vision of the future and creates
parallels to our past. Nothing changes. Human nature least of all.

The third section is more meditative and breaks into stream of consciousness. The
themes of alienation and finding a new place to land (Journey’s end) are
developed further. The book asks us can we find a safe place to land, root
ourselves, end the cycles upon cycles of journeys. The fourth section brings us
somewhat back to the futuristic world but a near future world on our planet.
There has been a nuclear war, civilization is rising again, but this time with
the corporations in charge (as it was on Orbus). The theme of the island comes
back. There is an island in the sea of corporate civilization, a place of
lawlessness in a city. This is the island of resistance- perhaps a glimmer of
hope in the end. Perhaps not.

This book was a joy to read. The book is
very lyrical and takes images and themes and builds and builds them right until
the end. The endings to books like these always seem abrupt and are thus a
little dissatisfying (after all the cycle in the book has to go on and on) but I
imagine one has to think of the work as more symphonic score moving from the
modern to the primeval to the moody to the modern again, playing and building
the same melodies.

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"the Schow must go on"
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