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Winterlong (The Winterlong Trilogy Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Hand
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Elizabeth Hand’s dynamite debut novel, a sensual dystopian journey through a world unburdened by moral taboos

Set in the surreal, post-apocalyptic City of Trees, Winterlong centers on Wendy Wanders, a girl who can tap into the dreams and emotions of the people around her, and her long-lost twin brother, Raphael, a seductive, sacred courtesan to the City’s decadent elite. During their voyage, they encounter man-made and godlike monstrosities—both hideous and gorgeous—in their effort to stop an ancient power from consuming all.
Blending science fiction and fantasy, Winterlong is a dark fairy tale about a land where societal and sexual taboos have disappeared, and what’s left is a world that is both lyrical and terrifying, familiar and striking.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Elizabeth Hand including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

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.

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3291 KB
  • Print Length: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (October 30, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009O3ZQQW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,127 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winterlong - a poignant tale of dark beauty May 12, 1997
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Some things make worlds tilt.... January 16, 2000
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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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Complex story she just couldn't deliver 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?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping yet ultimately unfulfilling August 8, 2002
By Dyanne
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shattering November 2, 1999
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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars darkly beautiful April 21, 2000
By A Customer
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seamlesly blends the sensual, gothic, and gristly. April 27, 1997
By A Customer
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars well, I really liked the first half January 4, 2013
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Early Hand, unpracticed and unsuccessful, despite the strong style....
In a futuristic dystopia, siblings from entirely different backgrounds are haunted by the same alien figure. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Juushika
1.0 out of 5 stars An Incohate Mess of Overwrought Hyperbole
Prose purple to the point of throbbing, all of it describing action devoid of characterization, this book presents a world so strange that this reader couldn't be bothered to care... Read more
Published 11 months ago by joshroby
1.0 out of 5 stars Feels like homework...
This is an extremely difficult book. I'm not sure I'm going to finish this book, much less the series. But I get why people like it; it's beautiful, like a poem. Read more
Published 18 months ago by J. M. M.
2.0 out of 5 stars I didn't care for this book.
I could not get in to this book. It was not very engaging for me and a little confusing who was who and what was going on.
Published 18 months ago by jgtyler3000
3.0 out of 5 stars Very strange concept
Hard to catch onto. Found it difficult to envision what author was trying to convey. Kind of biblical in a sense but so very strange in descriptions.
Published 19 months ago by marjane
2.0 out of 5 stars very confusing
The author throws you into the middle of the action in at least the first book, but there's a lot of background information about the type of world that you occupy that's missing. Read more
Published 19 months ago by JT
2.0 out of 5 stars Gave up
I tried to read an enjoy the story but after about an hour I just couldn't continue. It is not my style.
Published 19 months ago by K. Weirich
1.0 out of 5 stars weird
This world is too confusing to be interesting to me. I like a mystery, but this one left me with not enough info to care one whit for the characters.
Published 20 months ago by shilo nielsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
One of the best books I have ever read.Hand is amazing writer.This series is a must read for those who love thought provoking speculative fiction.
Published 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is like an old friend
I'm glad they finally made an e-book of Winterlong; I read it many years ago and really loved it. A few years ago I picked up a used copy on that big auction site. Read more
Published on March 10, 2013 by Meghan
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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.

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