Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
Don’t let the “terrible title” put you off, said Stephanie Cross in the Daily Mail. Jeanette Winterson’s new novel is a “clever comic romp” that explores serious questions without ever being ponderous. In one storyline, set in 1816, we follow a young Mary Shelley, haunted by the deaths of her infant children, as she “starts to plot a novel that will show the dead being sparked back to life”, said Robert Douglas-Fairhurst in The Times. In another, set in the present, a trans doctor named Ry Shelley becomes embroiled with Victor Stein, a scientist who wants to “reanimate the head of a man frozen in a cryonics facility”. This is an “intelligent and inventive” look at the issues raised by AI that is also “very funny”.
I disagree, said Sarah Ditum in the Literary Review. Frankissstein “grave-robs Mary Shelley’s original” for “body parts”, and yet itself “feels barely alive”. The characters mostly act as mouthpieces for political issues, while the plot – episodic and at times incomprehensible – calls to mind the “dismal experience of someone relating their dreams to you”.