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Winterlong Paperback – 14 Nov 1991

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group) (14 Nov. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553403176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553403176
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,054,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 July 2002
Format: Paperback
'Winterlong' can only be described as a unique book, and one in which Ms. Hand succeeds most beautifully in handling the themes of myth and ritual which run through her other writing.
There are three main things which distinguish 'Winterlong' for me: the vividly and richly imagined future setting which forms the background to the story: the amazingly effective use of an essentially mythic/ritual narrative structure: and the bizzarely realistic characterisation which complements them.
It is rare to find a novel which both stimulates the sensual imagination, and makes you think deeply. This book does both for me, every time I read it. The basis of the story in psychological and contemporary reality interacts in fascinating ways with its future setting. If you like history or myth, you'll like this book. If you like total immersion in an imaginative world, you'll like it. If you like Washington DC you'll like it!
(If you don't generally read sci-fi or fantasy, don't be put off. 'Winterlong' is neither, having in some ways more in common with magical realism).
The writing style is rich and poetic, concise and elegant. In short, this is one of the best and most original books I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and I recommend it without reservation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Winterlong - a poignant tale of dark beauty 12 May 1997
By A Customer - Published on
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
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Some things make worlds tilt.... 16 Jan. 2000
By Travis Hays - Published on
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.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Complex story she just couldn't deliver on... 11 Dec. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
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? You cannot say that you didn't want it to take away from the story itself because it was already a part of it. You chose to have these Houses as part of the story, a big part yet you did not take the reader into their world at all. You couldn't even write effectively enough about the main character's struggles with sex to make the reader get how significant that piece was. Why shy away from that when it's such a big part of the world you built?

Again, so much potential but it just didn't deliver.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Gripping yet ultimately unfulfilling 8 Aug. 2002
By Dyanne - Published on
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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Shattering 3 Nov. 1999
By Stephanie Flatley - Published on
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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