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Boating for Beginners Paperback – Aug 4 1997

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (Aug. 4 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749391510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749391515
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 141 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #820,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Noah is a relatively ordinary man. He's a hard worker (he owns the thriving little pleasure boat company, Boating for Beginners), is slightly overweight and has a heart condition. In fact, apart from a bizarre antipathy towards frozen food, particularly Black Forest Gateau, he is Mr. Bog Standard. That doesn't stop him from recognising a good thing when he sees it though. So when he accidentally creates God "out of a piece of gateau and a giant electric toaster", he realises he's onto a winner. Within weeks, he's a cult figure, writes extravagant bestsellers-"Genesis", or How I did It and "Exodus" or Your Way Lies There--and has outlawed refrigerators and Black Forest Gateau. When Noah starts to turn his bestseller into a film, God feels left out and decides to liquidate the world. Noah has less than a week to fill his stage set (the ark) with animals and prepare for a flood. There are three women who find out what he's up to--Desi, Noah's daughter-in-law; Marlene, a transsexual potter, and Gloria, the thoughtful yet slightly unbalanced girl in charge of rounding up the animals. Gloria is the heroine of Boating for Beginners and it is her story that drives the rather fragmented narrative of this surreal satire. Bursting with ideas, Boating for Beginners rewrites religion and philosophy, while taking a pop at romantic fiction. It is perhaps Jeanette Winterson's most overlooked work and although not her best--turn to Oranges are Not the Only Fruit or Sexing the Cherry for that--Boating for Beginners is witty, playful and imaginative. --Jane Honey

About the Author

Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester and spent her childhood in Accrington. She studied English at Oxford University. In 1985, she won the Whitbread First Novel Awards for Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Her second novel, The Passion, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1987, and was followed by Sexing the Cherry, which won the 1989 EM Forster Award. Her other works include The PowerBook, Written on the Body, Arts and Lies, Boating for Beginners, The World and Other Places, and a collection of essays, Art Objects.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
What a shame March 28 2001
By Michael Sympson - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you read the author's remarks on her own webpage, then ÒBoating forBeginnersÓ is supposed to be a pot-boiler, written for the money inthe time of dearth before her ÔOranges are not the only FruitÕ finallysaw the light of day. Should this be true, then Ms. Winterson is evenmore talented than I had given her credit for. The book is a riot,truly funny, the kind of sarcasm that may kill a religion, and is muchmore effective as an antidote than the most elaborate production oflearned scholarship ever could hope to achieve ...Of course there aresome purely British insider jokes, and since we are at it letÕs givethe media a bit of a flak too. It is the wonderful world of glitteringtears and hallelujah-burgers from Genesis all the way to the latesttelevangelists. Praise the Lord! (And it is true: you CAN get yourorgasms in a supermarket.) Ms. Winterson sparkles with angular twistsand turns and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of ideas and jabs, butto the readers pleasant surprise, it all falls into place, and a realstory among ÒrealÓ people develops Ð characters we recognize, even inthis warped apparition from a parallel universe. Talent, fantasy andthe language, if an author has this, and Ms. Winterson has it inabundance, then even potboilers turn out to be a delight to read Ð infact it may even turn out better than more ambitious projects where anauthor can be a tat too conscious of what she or he is trying todo. (Yes, you guessed it, I am thinking of Ms. WintersonÕs ÒGutSymmetries.Ó) For the seeker of Ôprofound ideasÕ: the book developsthe premise: ÒWhat would happen if we took Northrop Frye seriously andused his method as a prescription of how to write narratives?Ó Need Isay more? Anyway: it was a pleasure to look into the workings of arare talent. If this book really had been produced in such a haste, asMs. Winterson claims, than it is the most transparent sample from herworkshop so far Ð and I must say, the most appealing, despite hertremendous ÒSexing the Cherry.Ó If you like Douglas AdamsÕÒHitchhiker,Ó then you are in for a treat, because this here is waybetter, and a good starting point to explore Ms. WintersonÕswork. Thing is: the book is only sporadically available in the US. andWintersonÕs own US-publisher doesnÕt even mention its existence. Why?You tell me! What a shame. END
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Witty,Wicked and Wonderful Feb. 16 2000
By Jason le Grange - Published on
Format: Paperback
Jeannete Winterson is a genius when it comes to crafting a story. Her extremely wicked satire at religion and its mass market culture are evident in this book. Having read all of her current works, Boating For Beginners is a treat. Its a mesching together of the worst of our modern world and the typical story of Genesis. I cannot understand why more people do not know about this book, and why Winterson does not mention it. For it is indeed a treat to read. There is not the symbolism found in "Written on the Body", but there is the witty mind of Winterson. A MUST READ !
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
What fun! Jan. 15 2002
By Ellen C. Falkenberry - Published on
Format: Paperback
The story of Noah and the flood...told from an entirely different perspective, including rhinestone roller-skates, an orange demon, angels addicted to romance novels, and a transvestite...not to mention that giant ice-cream/black forest gateau concoction! Less intense than most of her later work, but beautifully written and an ton of fun to read!
Religion, Fine Art, Pedants and Other Burdens. Nov. 21 1997
By - Published on
Format: Paperback
On this book's cover, it states and warns the reader that it is a comic book. Although there are no traditional comic strips inside that a comic book implies, there are some wonderful - it seems - linoleum prints of how Winterson must have imagined certain scenes. I have had the chance to read the majority of Jeanette Winterson's unique work, but this particular piece is extremely fascinating. I recal reading it when coming hom at four o'clock in the morning, after being out with my off-beat friends, and finding myself laughing hysterically at its contents all the way into the early morning hours. It is a real parable, one that constantly reminded me of the art movement known as Dadaism. Since in my university work I have examined and analysed the Old Testament, reading this novel rounded off my analysis, shifting the Old Testament's inexplicable existence into more realistic terms. The comic book is so funny; if sarcasm and razor sharp wit are your cup of tea. The most hilarious part is the dinner whereby a novelist (whose name shan't be revealed at this point because the whole part of the joke is the name) explains the burdens that an artist has to endure in order to cleanse and produce a masterpiece. Needless to say, Winterson is directly humouring such pedants, only to verify her status as a true fine artist. Get will be a gem that will shine through on your otherwise dusty book-shelf.
Too funny June 6 2011
By Tobias Robinson - Published on
Format: Paperback
A contemporary cynical take on the Noah's Ark story.
Not Winterson's best work, but certainly the funniest in parts.

In terms of the narrative style and structure I found this the least unique of all Winterson's books, in terms of satire and cynical perspectives on dogma its the best. I enjoyed it immensely.

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