The Gap of Time Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 64 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Gap of Time.
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The Gap of Time Summary & Study Guide Description

The Gap of Time Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson.

NOTE: All citations in this Study Guide refer to the Kindle version of The Gap of Time, published October 6, 2015.

Jealousy and anger caused Leo to destroy his life and the lives of others in the novel The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson, a cover version of Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale. Because Leo believed his wife, Mimi, and best friend, Xeno, were having an affair, he refused to believe the daughter to whom Mimi gave birth was his. The actions he took to get revenge on Mimi and Xeno changed Leo’s life forever and left him wishing that he could turn back time. The novel ends on a happy note as Perdita was reunited with her mother and learned that Leo was her biological father.

The novel opens with Shep’s description of how he found the infant Perdita in the BabyHatch at Sainta Maria Hospital the same night that a Mexican man was beaten to death in a car jacking. Shep believed the two incidents were connected in some way. He decided to keep the baby because he believed that she was a gift from God. He named her Perdita, meaning "little lost one," because there was a piece of music left with her that bore that name as a title. Also with Perdita was an attaché case containing a half a million dollars and a diamond necklace that had belonged to Mimi.

In the next section of the novel the author goes back in time to describe how Leo believed that his wife, Mimi, and his best friend, Xeno, were having an affair. He had a webcam put in Mimi’s bedroom hoping to catch them in the act. There was no sound on the camera feed so Leo interpreted what he saw as being sexual in nature even though there was no sex between Mimi and Xeno. That night, after Mimi sang a concert at the Roundhouse, Leo tried to kill Xeno by running him over with a car in the parking garage. Xeno managed to get away and left town. Mimi went into labor with the baby and Leo arrived home in time to lock her and her friend, Pauline, in the house so they could not call a doctor. Pauline finally managed to get a message out using a cell phone belonging to Mimi and Leo’s son, Milo, that they needed an ambulance.

Because Leo was so determined that the baby girl that Mimi delivered was not his baby he hired his gardener, Tony, to take the baby to Xeno. Tony was the man whom Shep saw killed by the car jackers. Tony had left Perdita in the BabyHatch because he had seen the men following him and suspected they wanted to cause trouble. Meanwhile, Leo tried to sneak Milo out of the country. At the airport he was stopped by three policemen asking where his baby was. Milo was able to sneak away from his father during the confrontation. He was hit by a repair truck outside the airport terminal and was killed.

Years later, Leo tried to do good work to earn forgiveness for what he had done. Mimi and Xeno basically become recluses and Perdita was nearing her eighteenth birthday. She and her adoptive brother, Clo, prepared for Shep’s seventieth birthday party. Perdita had invited Zel, her boyfriend, to the party. Xeno, who had been estranged from Zel, who was his son, learned Zel would be at the party and came as well. He initiated questions in Perdita’s mind about her past. Since she did not know who her father was, she worried that Xeno might have been her father. That would mean that she and Zel were brother and sister.

Perdita confronted Xeno and learned his side of the story. She also learned a DNA test had proven she was Leo’s daughter, though Leo refused to believe it. Perdita also paid a visit to Leo using a fake name. It was not until Shep, Xeno and Clo went to find Perdita in London that Leo learned the girl with whom he had been working was really his daughter. Meanwhile, Pauline told Mimi that Perdita was alive. Perdita and her girl group would be singing at a benefit concert at the Roundhouse. Mimi arranged to sing at the concert as well. The song she sang was the one she wrote for Perdita.

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