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Winter Love (Lesbian Landmarks) ebook

by Han Suyin

Winter Love (Lesbian Landmarks).

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Thus Han Suyin, writing in 1968, recalls an exchange she had in 1942

Thus Han Suyin, writing in 1968, recalls an exchange she had in 1942. It was nine in the morning, on the centre courtyard at the Horsham Science College. And so I go on, to go on, as autumn deepens, and darkness draws in to another constricting winter, towards a cold so cold, short days so short you must turn on the lights by four in the afternoon; so I turn on the lights, and the radio loud, and draw the curtains against the night. Warning: May contain spoilers.

A many-splendored thing Jan 1, 1952. by Suyin Han. Hardcover.

It's so cold and frozen And every bricks of the walls Are so close to falling appart. I’ve never loved you back Am I insane Oh, this world is too cold to be able to feel anything Tonight I’ll love you the next I will not The fuck is wrong, what are we looking for?

It's so cold and frozen And every bricks of the walls Are so close to falling appart. I’ve never loved you back Am I insane Oh, this world is too cold to be able to feel anything Tonight I’ll love you the next I will not The fuck is wrong, what are we looking for? You can't pull me out of my mistakes At the back of my mind, I can't see anything My reminiscence of this life was fake The more things change, the more they stay the same

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Confessions of the Other Mother book.

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Suyin Han. Red is a married woman with children. But, since adolescence, she has been desperate to conceal from herself and others the true significance of her feelings for women. Now, with middle-age approaching fast, her thoughts turn to her student days.

lt;< Previous bookNext book . Winter Love. 1962) A novel by Han Suyin. Genre: General Fiction. Used availability for Han Suyin's Winter Love. March 1994 : UK Paperback.

Best West
An extremely well-written story, with convincing characters and setting.
Narrator Red (Bettina) is a physiology student in the last year of WW2 London. The cold, grotty digs and joyless existence are well-portrayed, as Red and her female colleagues are absorbed in their studies and same-sex crushes. Then Mara joins the college - a beautiful , well-off and married woman, to whom Red is immediately drawn...
But Red is a more complex character than first appears, shaped by the culture of the time, which forbids such relationships; and, through her upbringing, to be excessively parsimonious, even when she comes into money...
Winter Love
by Dr. Han Suyin.
B. September 12th Year of the Dragon 1916

I can't quite recall how and where I first saw this title mentioned, except that it was in the rather solemnly pompous pronouncement of some self-appointed male arbiter of tasteful writing, who commended 'Winter Love' for its delicate and sensitive treatment of a difficult subject, by which of course he meant he was praising for being the kind of novel which, despite its lesbian subject,it ended 'circumspectly', and thus did not transgress the decent and proper constraints of heterosexual values and good taste.

At any rate, by a lucky chance, I became aware of this particularly well-written and semi- autobiographical lesbian novel I had not even heard of before, and for this I am exceedingly grateful.

This tautly written novel is set in the bleak sulphurous greyness of WWII England and its dangerous uncertainties, where two young women, Mara and Red, meet in medical school. The writer, Elizabeth Comber was the daughter of a Belgian mother and a Chinese father who wrote under the nom de plume/guerre of Han Suyin, unceremoniously plunges us, her readers into the miasmic atmosphere of dreariness and near Dickensian shabbiness of that world; a microcosm of which is the squalid boarding house in which Red lives.

Red's grubbiness is in contrast to elegant and perfumed Mara, whose prosperous businessman husband can afford a warm and comfortable flat with hot running water. Red, an orphan, doggedly fends for herself, and her barely suppressed anger is a prickly foil to Mara's tender nature.

Red has had previous relationships with women, (Mara has not) but she is resistant to looking at either her experiences or herself in the context of its significance. She cannot grasp the truth about herself, and is therefore unable either to see or accept herself in a way that would allow her to be happy and self-affirming. She is pursued by the ghosts her previous involvements, and when the inevitable happens and Mara and Red fall in love with each other, Red is unable to to keep the taint of her past from infecting her present.

Mara secretly rents a flat where they can be together when Mara's Husband Karl is away on business. Mara, though married to a man, has a clear sense of her own unfolding, and of who and what she is. She is determined to find a way to live an authentic life with Red. She is open and willing to love, and to be affectionate, and to express the sexual feelings which are the natural accompaniment to romantic love. She is beautifully lucid and open to the flowering of her emotions and feelings, and to where they are leading her to her self-identification as a lesbian. In sharp contrast, Red is angry and overcome with jealousy that Mara for the present has to maintain the illusion of a marriage ( albeit completely hollow and loveless ) with her husband Karl. Red expresses her anger and insecurity and jealousy by lashing out at Mara and subjecting her to emotional cruelty. Her sexual feelings are twisted and confused.

Mara's love is unaffected by Red's venom and her unkindness. She refuses to allow herself to be drawn into the distortions that Red's tormented and tormenting behaviour create for the two of them. Mara possess a sanity and generosity that Red, who is parsimonious and bitter, completely lacks.

When the two of them leave together for a holiday in rural Wales,( which turns out to be quite dreadful and dogged with mishaps,) more evidence is offered of the tragi-comedic absurdity of human relationships, and the frailty of human nature, and in particular the oafishness of men.

We as readers know, as Red does not, that against such odds, in order for her relationship with Mara to survive in such an inhospitable climate, that she would have to be tenacious and determined. She simply doesn't know that if she were to have a chance of being happy, that she would have to keep old wounds from festering, and allow herself to be healed in the love lavished on her by Mara. If love were to endure, it would have to be rooted in the soul at a depth beyond the reach of frost, and not in the shallow rocky hard-scrabble of Red's self- disowning heart.

'Winter Love' published in 1952, is a pre-figuring or Sarah Waters 'The Night Watch'. Both are stories set in WWII England of damaged people and their failed and failing relationships. Both stories backwards begin in the present and move into the past. They both ask and answer the question of how the characters came to end up as they did. They both examine the disastrous consequences of blighted love, and the ways in which it destroys the human heart and human potential.

The narrative of 'Winter Love' begins many years after Red's and Mara's love affair has ended. Now Red is a middle-aged woman. Both women have made their choices, and Red knows that hers has not been the right one. The story is related in her voice, with the dry touch of retrospective bitterness that a certain degree of self-loathing makes inevitable, and yet it is also a cri de coeur of longing and regret.

The knowledge that unfulfilled love has resulted in an incomplete self has come too late to Red, and the chance of salvation has been lost with the irreclaimable past. In a futile protest Red cries out her belated recrimination at Mara for not having fought her rejection - But Mara and her past have been left behind in that long-ago Winter in which contentment may have been found if only Red had paid the the price of honesty and courage, and so it happened that the kingdom was lost for a nail.

Despite her name, it is not Mara who is bitter, because she had the courage to take her personal version of Pascal's wager, and so she hazarded the self she knew would be lost anyway, if she like Red had decided to repudiate her true self in return for the dubious inducements of a hollow social institution.

Interestingly Han Suyin herself had four failed heterosexual marriages: the first to a Chinese man, the second to an Australian, third to Englishmen, and the third to an Indian.

A case could be made that this novel is about the perversity of human nature and the futility of love. All the marriages in it are ghastly, and all the relationships repellent, Red's past and present offer her ample evidence that ordinary people fail each other in horrible ways due to lack of honesty and decency and kindness, it is clear to us as readers that in this respect, Mara's unfailing decency shows her as far from being an ordinary person. Yet Red ignores it all, She is grubby and literal, and misses all the magic.

There is an incident when Red leaves town to spend Christmas in the country with the spinster aunt who took her in after the deaths (at different times) of her parents. Mara, in what to Red is an act of huge extravagance, calls her long distance. In the course of their strained inane un-private conversation, interrupted every three minutes by the operator who asks Mara if she wants to pay for the next three minutes. Mara tries to 'break through' by asking Red if she likes Blake and tigers, obviously referring to William Blake's metaphysical 'poem 'Tyger Tyger'.The profound significance of the insight she is trying to communicate is obvious, but Red is only uncomprehending and irritated. All she can hear Mara asking is a pointless and stupid question about tigers.

This incident more than anything else illustrates for me the tense impasse between the two women, which is caused by Red's inability to see beyond the imperfect, and Mara's inspired grasp of the imperative, the conditional and the future.
Winter Love (Lesbian Landmarks) ebook
Han Suyin
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1866 kb
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Virago Press Ltd; New Ed edition (1994)
144 pages
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