The Passion

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Set during the tumultuous years of the Napoleonic Wars, The Passion intertwines the destinies of two remarkable people: Henri, a simple French soldier, who follows Napoleon from glory to Russian ruin; and Villanelle, the red-haired, web-footed daughter of a Venetian boatman, whose husband has gambled away her heart. In Venice's compound of carnival, chance, and darkness, the pair meet their singular destiny. In her unique and mesmerizing voice, Winterson blends reality with fantasy, dream, and imagination to weave a hypnotic tale with stunning effects.


Our companion loosed her laces but kept her boots on, and seeing my surprise at forgoing this unexpected luxury said, 'My father was a boatman. Boatmen do not take off their boots.' We were silent, either out of respect for her customs or sheer exhaustion, but it was she who offered to tell us her story if we chose to...
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"An explosively imaginative writer." The London Free Press

"A historical novel quite different from any other...written with a living passion, an eyewitness immediacy.... Winterson is a master of her material, a writer in whom great talent deeply abides." Vanity Fair

"Recalls Garcia Marquez.... Magical touches dance like highlights over the brilliance of this fairy tale about passion, gambling, madness, and androgynous ecstasy." Edmund White

"The overwhelming impression of her work is one of remarkable self-confidence, and she evidently thrives on risk.... As good as Poe: it dares you to laugh and stares you down." The New York Review of Books