Jeanette Winterson’s retelling of The Winter’s Tale is the first in a series of novels from the Hogarth Press to be published around the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death. Next year will bring Anne Tyler’s Taming of the Shrew and Margaret Atwood’s Tempest, and further ahead there are versions of Hamlet by Gillian Flynn and King Lear by Edward St Aubyn, among other tantalising reimaginings.
It’s thirty years since Winterson first wrote about her own ‘foundling’ status in her novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and she has worked with the story of Perdita, the lost one, ‘in many guises for many years’. This modern ‘cover version’ contains a number of ingenious renderings making fine use of her characteristic blend of realism and invention. Leontes, the deluded king who accuses his virtuous wife and his