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Jeanette Winterson’s “Frankissstein” Is An Anarchic Reanimation Of Mary Shelley’s Monster

by BUST Magazine

By Jeanette Winterson
(Grove Press)

Jeanette Winterson has reanimated Frankenstein for today’s world of rapidly innovating technology. Much like the original, this novel begs the question: What happens when a creation becomes much more than its creator could have ever planned for? Frankissstein centers on the relationship between a young transgender doctor, Ry, and Victor Stein, a professor hell-bent on pioneering the next generation of artificial intelligence. Their work leads them into a world of sex robots, experimental medicine, and of course, a healthy dose of body snatching. (This is a Frankenstein story after all.)

Through Ry, we learn that Victor has been working on a method to preserve the human brain and save it to be put into a robotic body—essentially ending death. Winterson uses this classic plot as a lens through which she critiques gender, sexuality, and queer love. But the story, at times, feels unfocused. And though Winterson’s unique writing style and deep understanding of her characters is captivating, the read is too long. This is also not a great choice for anyone triggered by gender dysphoria, misgendering, and generally shitty people asking a transgender person incredibly invasive questions. (3/5)

By Maggie Stamets


Frankissstein was published on October 1, 2019. This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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