Like many of Jeanette Winterson’s novels, The PowerBook is a strange amalgamation of history, literary fiction, and the author’s experience portrayed as fiction. The story tells various love stories, from Guinevere and Lancelot to Winterson’s own fictional constructions. However, a recurring narrative within the novel follows two female lovers as they meet in Paris, then follow each other from city to city, unable to commit to each other, but also unable to stay apart. Winterson’s depiction of this turbulent relationship is very authentic, bringing depth and transparency to the highs and lows of a very personal experience.
The stories range from bite-sized observations about life, to longer, character driven pieces. One, about a poor, religious family in search of treasure and the Promised Land even echoes the themes and imagery found in her memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? and her fictional-autobiography, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
The PowerBook is extremely well written and filled with Winterson’s characteristic insights and wisdom about modern life. Like many of her novels, it’s experimental, and, at times, a little confusing. However, for the most part it is an easy and very engaging read. I recommend it if want to read something different.