'The Passion' is one of the most original books I have ever read!
Though it is set during the Napoleonic era, it is a book where 'the laws of the real world are suspended'. Winterson blends historical fact with magical realism and chaos, to create a beautiful tapestry of language. An imagined reality, where humans with webbed feet, madness, passion, carnival and chaos intertwine.
The novel moves quickly between time and space; traveling from provincial France, to Paris, to Venice, to Russia, to a lunatic asylum on an island. The two main characters each have their own unique voice. Henri, the initial narrator, a foot soldier in Napoleon's army and Villanelle, a mysterious, magical woman who encapsulates Venice. Even Venice, is portrayed as a character. It is seen as a 'living city' with its own 'blood vessels'. Winterson captures the freedom and exotic nature of Venice, which creates a contrast with the regimented discipline of the army.
These voices intertwine to create a fascinating novel which will stay in your memory for a long time (I have been recommending it to everyone for the last six months).