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WINTERLONG [Mass Market Paperback]

Elizabeth Hand
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 1990
In the dark years after the rain of roses, two innocents seek each other amid the ruins of a once-great city: an autistic girl given speech by a mad experiment, and a beautiful youth drawn by the seductive vision of a green-eyed boy whose name is Death. Now the two must journey together.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Serious Sci-Fi Dec 17 1999
Format:Paperback
Words, like shadows in a forest, evade me: they are tangled in the web of thoughts and feelings I felt while reading this masterpiece of post-apocalyptic beauty and horror. This is not light reading; it draws on mythic sources and tranmutes them into a world so darkly beautiful and rich, it's almost tangible. It will draw you in with its seductive, elegiac tone, reminiscent of the best writing from Anne Rice and, dare I say it, Edgar Allen Poe! Your mind will linger in this world long after the story is through, and you will keep the book near you while you read it so that you will be reminded that it is not a dream. Read this book and be forever changed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Some things make worlds tilt.... Jan. 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Rich, deep and satisfying. July 3 2000
Format:Paperback
This is the kind of science fiction novel you do not see very often any more. Elizabeth Hand has managed to combine elements of mythology and weird fiction with cybernetic SF and spiced the brew with luxuriant blossoms from the garden of the Decadents. I say it this way because people have misunderstood so much. You cannot think Anne Rice when you read Elizabeth Hand. Yes, one can identify scraps of H.P. Lovecraft, Christina Rossetti and especially Tanith Lee, but Hand is not trying to write like anyone but herself.
And I'm only midway through the first chapter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars darkly beautiful April 21 2000
By A Customer
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping yet ultimately unfulfilling Aug. 8 2002
By Dyanne
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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