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Winterlong Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Eos (July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061057304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061057304
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,694,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This first novel is a richly imagined work set in a Washington, D.C., devastated by nuclear and biological warfare. Society is rigidly stratified: the Ascendants, absentee rulers who were responsible for the devastation; the Curators, who tend the city's nearly destroyed museums and libraries; the Paphians, who barter sexual favors for goods; and the Lazars, wretched survivors of periodic germ warfare who subsist by cannibalism. The plot revolves around the reunification of twins separated in childhood: one, a male, is now a Paphian; the female is a "neurologically augmented empath specializing in emotive engram therapy." Hand's world is nuanced and believable and her characters, especially the female twin, come convincingly alive. Her attempts to imbue the plot with mythic sensibility, however, do not succeed, resulting in a good science fiction framework burdened with badly grafted elements of fantasy and the occult. The final scene, in which the incestuous reunion between the twins heralds the onset of a cataclysmic "Final Ascension," is disappointing in its murkiness.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In a far-future world where a post-holocaust civilization has created its own myths from the remnants of the past, a young woman genetically altered to feel others' emotions and a young man trained from birth as a sacred prostitute find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other as a mad dictator schemes to bring about the "Final Ascension." Sensuous and evocative, this first novel combines dreamlike images with powerful characters to produce a visionary masterpiece. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

A couple of years after seeing Patti Smith perform, Elizabeth Hand flunked out of college and became involved in the nascent punk scenes in DC and NYC. From 1979 to 1986 she worked at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum; she was eventually readmitted to university to study cultural anthropology, and received her B.A. She is the author of many novels, including Winterlong, Waking the Moon (Tiptree and Mythopoeic Award-Winner), Glimmering, and Mortal Love, and three collections of stories, including the recent Saffron and Brimstone. Her fiction has received the Nebula, World Fantasy, Mythopeoic, Tiptree, and International Horror Guild Awards, and her novels have been chose as New York Times and Washington Post Notable Books. She has also been awarded a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship. A regular contributor to the Washington Post Book World and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Hand lives with her family on the Maine Coast.

Customer Reviews

I say it this way because people have misunderstood so much.
Gabe Randolph
I felt like I had just started to get to know and understand the two main characters at the end of the book.
Angela Brill
Kind of biblical in a sense but so very strange in descriptions.
marjane

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book impressed me so much that I've read literally every novel published by Ms. Hand since. The story has the feel of a gothic fairy tale. Such elements as a girl with Death in her eyes, ancient prophecies and a world that is, in equal measures, hi-tech wonderland, post-acopalyptic waste and fantastic feudal realm, Hand has transcended many of the standard boundaries around science fiction. In fact, if I were forced to name the genre of this novel, I would call it gothic sci-fi.

If you like painfully beautiful, ambisexual, amoral characters, then you should *definitely* check this book out. A must-read for fans of Anne Rice's _Interview With the Vampire_, as this book captures the feel of that novel in a way that Rice hasn't been able to since
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Travis Hays on January 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have never read something so completely jarring and overwhelming as this. I initially picked it up in a used bookstore before going on a trip as something to pass the timed and quickly became mired in the words and feelings and depth of this timeless piece of work. The reader feels the characters, the setting, the stories in a way that no other writer I dare say is capable of, with the exception of maybe Thomas Harris. But just like other novelists of her caliber, Elizabeth hand is underrated and forgotten all too quickly. Her writing is timeless, and this novel is the best example.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dyanne on August 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
I truly enjoy Hand's writing - lyrical, expressive and detailed. As an example of her early work, this novel is a phenomenal piece of writing. Her characters are magnificent and she breaks just about every taboo you can think of without losing her sense of style. However, I found the ending to drag slightly, as she had left a great many loose ends to tie up. At this point I often found myself loosing sight of the plot. Certainly worth a read, but I would recommend Aestival Tide and Glimmering over it.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Angela Brill on December 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really, really wanted desperately to love this book. The bones for a phenomenal story were there. They were right there waiting to be used. The characters had the potential for much depth. The society set up did as well. To me, the downfall of this book was too much emphasis on minute setting/environment description and not enough on storytelling and character development. I felt like I had just started to get to know and understand the two main characters at the end of the book.I mean the very end. It took me that long to BEGIN to absorb the extremely complex world she was try to jam into the reader in much too large of pieces. That's what it felt like, like being forced to swallow too much food at once, too fast. That world and its story just wouldn't all fit the way she was trying to feed it to the reader and forget being sorted and broken down into enjoyable pieces.

I like the characters. I like the idea. But in order to pull off a story with such a very complicated plot and setting, the author must be, above all, a good storyteller. Hand has a beautiful Dickens-esque quality to her descriptive writing but she needs to pull her story together into a cohesive piece that can be understood and absorbed by the reader. I didn't feel compelled either by being lightly floated through the story or plowing through it in excitement or invested so much that I turned the pages w/ apprehension or even swept away. I know it's too late now but I'd love to see her rewrite this. Sit down and really invest in the story in its entirety.

One last thing, this actually irritated me a quite a bit. You had an entire section of the society you created dedicated to the pleasures of the flesh but yet you could not or would not write a decent sex or lovemaking scene?
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Flatley on November 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
One of the several works of Elizabeth Hand's that I picked up after being inspired by "Waking the Moon," this novel left me with a sense of chilled desolation. The characters touched a nerve that I don't want to feel again. Although I probably could not read "Winterlong" again, I am glad for the experience, and still give it high marks for its creative integrity and Ms. Hand's remarkable style.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A gothic sci-fi tale with great depth of character and evocative imagry.

Wendy Wanders is an innocent but deadly telepath who explores the darkly sensual post-apocalyptic ruins of Washington, DC.

The imagry is truly unique and stunning, and keeps you captive. Strongly reccomended for sci-fi fans who seek truly "other-worldly" imagry within the familiar.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Every once in a while a book comes along that changes the way you look at the world. This was one of those books for me. It's gorgeously written and full of deep symbolism and mythic imagry (don't even try to understand it without 1st looking into the myth of Baal and Anat,) But on many levels, it is, as one reviewer stated, shattering. This is a book for those who are willing to brave dense language, seemingly wandering narative, and difficult imagry (on more levels than one,) but it is worth the work.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ionia Martin TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
For the first half of this book, I might have given this book four or five stars. I swear though, it is almost like another writer picked up the proverbial quill for the second half of the book. The writing in the second half felt long and drawn out and just didn't go where I thought it might based on the first half. I liked the characters well enough and the author can spin and excellent and compelling tale, but what happened to the last half of this book? It showed so much promise but it just fell flat half way through.
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