Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson It was spring, the ground still had traces of snow, and I was about to be married. My dress was pure white and I had a golden crown. As I walked up the aisle, the crown got heavier and heavier and the dress more and more difficult to walk in. I thought everyone would point at me, but no one noticed.
Somehow I made it to the altar. The priest was very fat and kept getting fatter, like bubble gum you blow. Finally we came to the moment, ‘You may kiss the bride.’ My new husband turned to me and here were a number of possibilities. Sometimes he was blind, sometimes a pig, sometimes my mother, sometimes the man from the post office and once, just a suit of clothes with nothing inside. I told my mother about it, and she said it was because I ate sardines for supper. The next night I had sausages, but I still had the dream.
There was a woman in our street who told us all she had married a pig. I asked her why she did it, and she said ‘You never know until it’s too late.’
Exactly.

Jeanette (not the author) is a girl brought up with the unwavering religious certainty and absolutism of her evangelist mother in the North of England, who plans for her to become a missionary. Jeannette’s passion and charisma make her into one of the church’s most valuable assets, and are also the seeds of an irreconcilable difference – because she is passionately attracted to a young woman who she converted for the church.

Don’t let anyone tell you that this is “lesbian literature” (LesLit?) It is literature for every woman, beautifully written in a voice both direct and imaginative – the voice of a child, which becomes more grown up over time. It is humorous too, and is interwoven with fantasies, dreams and allegorical story-telling. Lovely.

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