Leo Kaiser is rich, he has everything he can wish for: money, a beautiful wife, MiMi, a beloved son, a successful business. Nevertheless, there is a certain guilt that he has been carrying around all his life: he was responsible for his best friend Xeno’s accident when they were kids. Is this the reason why Xeno has an affair with his wife and is the father of MiMi’s unborn child? MiMi and Xeno as well as his business partner Paulina try to make him see reality again, but Leo is stubborn and blinded by his anger. His rage finally leads to the catastrophe: his best friend gone, his son dead, his wife divorced and his daughter missing. Apart from his money, Leo has lost everything. On the other side of the world, Perdita grows up with a loving father and a caring older brother. She lives eighteen years not knowing what had happened to her real, biological family. When she meets the love of her life, suddenly, all the pieces match and add up to a completely new picture of her life.
The Gap of Time is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series and Jeanette Winterson has created a cover form of the bard’s comedy The Winter’s Tale. The author stuck quite close to the original: we have King Leontes – now Leo, king of a business imperium called Sicily; Hermione, his beautiful wife has become lovely singer MiMi; Polixenes, Leo’s childhood friend and later enemy shows up as Xeno; his son Florizel is now represented as Zel; the noblewoman Paulina who secretly holds the reins in both stories; and Shep(herd) and his son Clo(wn) who raise Perdita, the lost daughter. The plot itself has been placed into the computer game world of London and a bit refreshed to give the impression of a modern story. Albeit the story is known and the happy-end could be expected, I enjoyed the novel because Jeanette Winterson has a virtuous way of using language creating humorous and sharp puns and she does not refrain from openly alluding to Shakespeare himself. The comedy is downright entertaining from the first to the very last page and she absolutely managed to create characters who can surprise us, even though we are quite familiar with them, and seem to be authentic and imaginable as real persons.
Again, we can see also in this novel that Shakespeare’s plays can easily stand the test of time. Quite obviously, we have not developed any further during the last 400 years and are still governed by basic emotions such as love, pride, anger, desire, sadness and fear. Those universal sensations can easily be transferred to other places and times and do not lose any of their impact on human behaviour. One really has to congratulate the people behind Hogarth Shakespeare for picking gifted authors who make something new by respecting all that Shakespeare stands for. I am really looking forward to Jo Nesbo retelling Hamlet and Tracy Chevalier on Othello which both are to published in 2017. which both are to be