Winter Love (Paperback)

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The raw account of a life-altering affair in wartime London—“Han Suyin’s outstanding achievement . . . her finest novel.” (Alison Hennegan)

As a college student in London during the bitterly cold winter of 1944, Red falls in love with her married classmate Mara. Their affair unleashes a physical passion, a jealousy, and a sense of self-doubt that sweep all her previous experiences aside and will leave her changed forever. Set against the rubble of the bombed city, in a time of gray austerity and deprivation, Winter Love recalls a life at its most vivid. “Probably the best thing she has ever written” (Daily Telegraph), it is also Han Suyin’s most unexpected, tender, and stirring work.

About the Author

Han Suyin (ca. 1917–2012) was born to a Chinese father and Belgian mother in Xinyang in the north-central province of Henan. She qualified as a doctor in London, thereafter moving to Hong Kong. The success of her novel A Many-Splendored Thing (1952)—adapted into the Hollywood film Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, starring William Holden and Jennifer Jones—enabled her to give up her medical career and focus on her writing. She went on to publish more than thirty books, including novels, memoirs, biographies, and volumes of cultural and political history.

Praise For…

“[A] silvery, suggestive novella of love and friendship. The year is 1944, the place is London, and all the young men are at war. We find ourselves at Horsham Science College with a group of women who spend their time dissecting mammals and navigating material privations (bombs go off, pipes freeze) and emotional detonations (ruptured affairs, thwarted tête-à-têtes). It’s a bleakly cinematic book, full of unkempt gardens and smoky cafes . . . Read if you like: Sally Rooney, E.M. Forster, the Todd Haynes film Carol.”
— Molly Young

“Suyin—best known for her heavily autobiographical 1952 novel, A Many Splendored Thing—is an artist of emotion, and her renderings of early romantic obsession, frustration with oppressive social mores, and the dullness of love lost are endlessly quotable . . . Dashes of early Margaret Drabble crossed with the youthful diaries of Patricia Highsmith; my pencil went dull with all the sentences I underlined.”
— Keziah Weir

“The progression of their intimate connection, interwoven with Red’s coming-of-age, is entertaining . . . Red’s story offers peeks into several versions of not-so-covert lesbian life in the 1940s . . . For the contemporary reader, this novel, originally published in 1962, feels like an astute observation on how compulsory heterosexuality has impacted and stifled society for generations. A rumination on a life that could have been, this novel encapsulates queer history often left untold.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This intense, atmospheric novel set in wartime London—all silvery sheen and cigarette smoke—rivals Alfred Hayes for the clipped gloom it brings to the subject of mankind’s greatest trial: love . . . All sad stories should be this much fun to read.”
— John Self

“Lesbian drama set in wartime London. Enough said.”
— Lambda Literary, Staff Picks

“Steeped in a pool of volatile emotions—from jealousy to doubt to tangled-up frustrations—and set against the gray, grim austerity of fascism and war, the novel walks to the edge of enduring rubble, and compels us to stay and look.”
— Snigdha Koirala

“Originally published in 1962 and reissued in 2022, it’s a rare depiction of a queer relationship . . . vividly brought to life with the taut, stylish writing.
— Laura Chouette

“The private world of bliss, frustrations, lies and substitutes involved in a love outside the canon of western mores is bitterly and movingly told.”
Times Literary Supplement

“The volatile emotions at work in an all-female college, the bulk of whose students are still close to their mainly genteel schooldays, may seem ludicrously removed from the brutalities perpetrated by the blueshirts and brownshirts of fascist China and Germany. But part of Han Suyin’s purpose is to suggest the connections between the cruelties and betrayals of private life and the larger horrors of world conflicts . . . a magnificent study of the genesis and mechanism of what we might now call internalized self-oppression, although the book was written years before the phrase was current . . . [It is] Han Suyin's outstanding achievement . . . her finest novel.”
— Alison Hennegan

“A remarkable performance . . . A novelette only in its length.”
— Anthony Quinton

Product Details
ISBN: 9781946022257
ISBN-10: 194602225X
Publisher: McNally Editions
Publication Date: February 8th, 2022
Pages: 160
Language: English