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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A very enjoyable book, about a woman who loves the forest and nature and freedom. One day, a man walks into being in her forest .. and she sees him change from sunshine into human. A man who wants to become human, but cannot quite do it. He is stuck in another world .. without freedom. His grandfather cursed his father, and the village wonders where this new man fits into the curse and the story. Roise, the woman who loves freedom, sees more than most, and so has the ability to know Corbet is more than he appears and also to fight with him for his freedom.

Two characters are known to chase after what they cannot have. Perhaps not to chase physically, but to so long for it that they begin to waste away, to care about nothing else, to cease living fully in this world. How hard for those around them to watch .. and to see them choosing poorly. They both care about a man and he goes away, and part of them is carried with them. These men go to another world .. a parallel world, perhaps, and the women cannot follow them. But they try. One is described as slowly taking up less and less space, belonging less and less to this world -- eating less, breathing less, feeling less, giving up self. Makes me wonder how we do this in less visible ways - seeking things we cannot have, searching so strongly for things that are gone that we begin to lose what is right next to us, becoming preoccupied with the past or future so the present loses its power. How easily we humans can be distracted from this business of living, choosing instead those things which lead to death and lifelessness.

The lives of Roise and Corbet become slowly intertwined, and in that other world the possibility of them becoming inseperably intertwined is very real. Roise loves nature and the woods, and is always bringing home beautiful flowers and tasty mushrooms and healing herbs. Corbet is stuck in the woods (in a sense), and she goes into them to bring him out. In one of the last scenes, the Woman of Winter (who has control over this other world) promises Roise that she and Corbet (who she loves) will be together forever, the ivy and roses growing together so one cannot live without the other. This woman has turned Corbet into ivy a number of times before, so it stands for and is part of him. Roise is given the opportunity to be married to him and to have children with him .. but in this other place, with no option for freedom. She will not accept it and fights for their lives. But the image of ivy and roses growing together is beautiful, crosses the lines between worlds, and full of meaning.

Title:Winter Rose
Author:Patricia McKillip
Date published:1996
Number of pages:262
Notes: Repeat reading (and more to come!)


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