Mortal Love

Mortal Love

by Elizabeth Hand


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In the Victorian Age, a mysterious and irresistible woman becomes entwined in the lives of several artists, both as a muse and as the object of all-consuming obsession. Radborne Comstock, one of the early twentieth century's most brilliant young painters, is helpless under her dangerous spell.

In modern-day London, journalist Daniel Rowlands meets a beguiling woman who holds the secret to invaluable — and lost — Pre-Raphaelite paintings, while wealthy dilettante-actor Valentine Comstock is consumed by enigmatic visions.

Swirling between eras and continents, Mortal Love is the intense tale of unforgettable characters caught in a whirlwind of art, love, and intrigue that will take your breath away.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060755348
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/28/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

A New York Times notable and multiple award– winning author, Elizabeth Hand has written seven novels, including the cult classic Waking the Moon, and short-story collections. She is a longtime contributor to numerous publications, including the Washington Post Book World and the Village Voice Literary Supplement. She and her two children divide their time between the coast of Maine and North London.

What People are Saying About This

Peter Straub

“ I think she has written the best book of her generation.”

Michael Dirda

“A brilliant novel like Elizabeth Hand’s recent Mortal Love deserves all the readers it can get.”

Kelly Link

“You don’t so much read this novel as drink it down, like absinthe.”

Bradford Morrow

“Elizabeth Hand is a writer whose vision, and whose writing into that extraordinary vision of hers, is exceptional…”

John Crowley

“Don’t turn the pages too fastif you can help it.”

Alisa Kwitney

“Mortal Love is a wildly intelligent, dangerously sexy read.”

James Reese

“A great gothic read, and one that dishes up all the dark delights.”

Customer Reviews

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Mortal Love 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
kmaziarz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three narrative threads intertwine in this dark fantasy of artistic inspiration and madness. In late Victorian-era London, young American painter Radborne Comstock meets and becomes obsessed with the beautiful Evienne Upstone, an auburn-haired and green-eyed artist¿s model who has already served as the muse for several other artists and who has driven many of the insane by virtue of her sheer beauty and otherworldly presence. Decades later, Comstock¿s grandson Valentine views his grandfather¿s paintings of Evienne and is in turn inspired to create intricately detailed artworks in which a red-haired, green-eyed woman is at the same time a lush fairytale landscape. Valentine¿s obsession with the woman¿whom he named Vernoraxia¿drives him, too, to the edge of madness and he ends up medicated and numbed. In contemporary London, American writer Daniel Rowlands is researching the legend of lovers Tristan and Iseult and ends up caught in the spell of Larkin Meade, a red-haired, green-eyed woman whose strange passion leaves him deranged and obsessed. Parallels and emotional resonances shared between the three narratives suggest that, somehow, Evienne and Larkin are the same woman, or the same being¿a muse, perhaps, or a force of nature too strong for mere mortals to love without madness but whom artists and writers are compelled to render imperfectly over and over in painting, poetry, and legend. Rich, evocative, lyrical, and vibrant, ¿Mortal Love¿ wonderfully captures the exquisite lunacy of artistic expression and the urge to create. Authentic period detail and references to real-life artists combine with lushly poetic language to captivate readers much as the mysterious red-haired muse about whom Hand writes captivates artists.
BobNolin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A book that seems to be trying to emulate John Crowley (more ¿Love & Sleep¿ than ¿Aegypt¿). Fairly successful, though it is confusing. It jumps back and forth across three generations, and the guy in each time frame seems to be very much the same, though he¿s ¿mortal¿ and there¿s no reason for him to be a clone, far as I can tell. It seems more a case of the writer not sufficiently separating each. The characters are undifferentiated, as though she can only write about one kind of hero/main character guy. Maybe there was a point to that which I¿m missing¿whatever. Kept me reading, but I don¿t think I¿ll search out more of her stuff.
kougogo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Hand is one of my favorite writers, and this is my favorite of her novels. Mortal Love is about a muse, whose name changes depending on the time and to who she appears, but whose eyes are always very bright green, and the men who are taken under her spell. Probably the thing I like best about this novel is its nimbleness and balance. Hand is equally comfortable writing in Victorian London as she is in a bohemian and ramshackle mansion on the coast of Maine in the 1970s. This is a powerful novel of romantic and artistic obsession. It is terrifying and sensual and wise.
Mendoza on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was so hard to get through. I had to set it down every few pages and then had to force myself to pick it back up. For an avid reader who will read just about any fictional story out there it's a bad sign.Admittingly, I skimmed the last fifth of the book - but I don't think there was any way it would have gotten better.A very hard read.
LadyLucyLehn More than 1 year ago
I could not get into this book at all. I was still not interested in the storyline half way through but I kept reading hoping it would get better. It didn't. I am a huge fan of historical fiction, art, and magic/whimsy and this book has a little of it all tied into one story but surprisingly it was a terrible combination. Few of the characters were interesting, almost none could be related to, and the storyline was confusing and jumped around--and not in an interesting way. I really wanted to enjoy this, but it was just awful.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't really like this book when I started it, but by the time I finished it I was hooked. The book and its characters draw you in.