Boating for Beginners

Last week I read Winterson‘s Boating For Beginners. Hilarious. It reminded me of Eddie Izzard and of The Life of Brian. It was really fun to read.

Just consider this:

Gloria had chosen to be nothing in order to avoid being her mother’s something.

‘Denise, I love my breasts. I go to sleep holding them. I don’t want to lose them. I just want it [penis] back as well.’

‘All right, but there are a few things you should know. First, it’s going to be expensive; second, we probably don’t have the right colour, and third, it might not work.’

‘Oh, I don’t care about that’, breathed Marlene. ‘I only want it for decoration, so it might be quite nice to have it in a different shade.’

‘If you’re so smart why have you got dandruff?’

Until her epiphany with Northrop Fry she’d been an emotional amoeba.

Faithful recording was not their business; faith was. They set it out in order to create a certain effect, and did it so well that we’re still arguing about it. Every believer is an anarchist at heart. True believers would rather see governments topple and history rewritten than scuff the cover of their faith. For them, all things are possible. They are poets, insomuch as poetry exapands, whereas prose defines.

He still needs me. He’s powerful beyond measure but doesn’t know which knife to use for paté. As long as he needs me, I have a hold…

Desi put down the manuscript. She couldn’t believe it. Noah made the Unpronounceable by accident out of a piece of gateau and a giant electric toaster.

NAFF president Lady Olivia Masticater, at the time on holiday in Andorra, had sent back a telegrammed comment on the masterly research of Pierre Puree. She said, ‘There is now every reason to believe that frozen food has contributed to the rise of feminism, premarital sex and premature hair loss.’

‘I like reading books’, insisted Marlene, ‘but I’m more concerned with how to get rid of the cellulite on my thighs. I mean, there’s plenty of books around but i’ve only got this one body.’

Desi’s mother had been a suspicious woman, given to bouts of bridge and fits of pique.

‘Are you crazy? How can I rewrite the start of the world and then say that we sailed away in a fibre-glass yacht with its own tilt-free pool table? What will it look like? I’m experimenting with something primitive because we’re supposed to be primitive people accordinig to the story.’

What does one decide when life’s Happy Rug is whisked away from under one’s feet leaving only the Doormat of Despair?

‘Look, look!’ Gloria pointed though she could hardly believe it. ‘It’s Northrop Frye.’

//

What does one desire more when it comes to humorous writing? It’s witty, it has style, it’s not hollow… I read some other of her books, while I was in Canada. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and PowerBook. And I had the chance to hear her once and I like her way with words and her way of being funny and her way of being serious. Boating For Beginners is an older book, something she wrote while waiting for the Oranges to come out. It’s like a lunch break waiting for the dinner to be ready. And she did such a good job at it!

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