Books by Elizabeth Hand

Elizabeth Hand grew up in Yonkers and later in Pound Ridge, New York. In 1975 she moved to Washington, D.C., to study playwriting at Catholic University. After seeing Patti Smith perform that autumn, Hand became involved in DC and NYC's nascent punk scene

CURIOUS TOYS by Elizabeth Hand
Released: Oct. 15, 2019

"Richly imaginative and psychologically complex."
Chicago, 1915: In the midst of a steamy summer, a rash of child murders terrifies the city in Hand's (Hard Light, 2016, etc.) latest. Read full book review >
HARD LIGHT by Elizabeth Hand
Released: April 19, 2016

"A must for fans of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy and Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike novels."
Hand explores the darker side of the human psyche in this gripping urban suspense novel, a sequel to Available Dark (2013).Read full book review >
Released: April 2, 2012

"An impressive blend of biography and magical realism. (author's notes; select bibliography) (Fantasy. 14 & up)"
A 20th-century teen artist and 19th-century French poet Arthur Rimbaud transcend time and place in this luminous paean to the transformative power of art. Read full book review >
AVAILABLE DARK by Elizabeth Hand
Released: Feb. 14, 2012

"Yet another author tries to capitalize on Stieg Larsson's Scandinavian success. But this entry from Hand (Illyria, 2010, etc.) reads more like a grotesque fairy tale gone wrong."
A moody loner heads to Helsinki and beyond, while murder and general creepiness follow. Read full book review >
ILLYRIA by Elizabeth Hand
Released: May 13, 2010

Growing up in a large, eccentric, extended family in Yonkers in the late 1960s, two first cousins exist in their own private world. Born on the same day, 15-year-old Rogan and Maddy are the youngest children of identical twin brothers and great-grandchildren of a famous actress. The "kissing cousins" routinely tryst in an attic room, where they discover a toy theater that foreshadows their future. With his fey appearance and mesmerizing voice, Rogan's tormented, a bit dangerous and afraid of nothing, in sharp contrast to the bright, devoted and supportive Maddy. Their latent dramatic talents emerge when they star together in the school production of Twelfth Night, but their overly close relationship triggers parental intervention, forcing Maddy to choose between the wayward Rogan and a possible acting career. Maddy tells their tender story in the past tense, recalling the passion, isolation and urgency of their relationship and its repercussions many years later. This intense, sensual and bittersweet love story unfolds in hauntingly lyrical prose and should appeal to mature teens. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

"Some redundancy and sketchiness are only slight blemishes in another rich display of this gifted visionary's enticing wares. "
Myth and magic are the ingredients assembled to sometimes stunning effect in this vivid gathering of previously collected and recently published stories from the award-winning fantasy author. Read full book review >
MORTAL LOVE by Elizabeth Hand
Released: July 1, 2004

"Great fun, in an impressive synthesis of bygone times and forgotten lore. "
In fantasist Hand's crowded seventh novel, the collision of our known world with the lushly erotic, magic-inflected one of "faerie" bedevils mortal protagonists. Read full book review >
BLACK LIGHT by Elizabeth Hand
Released: April 1, 1999

In Hand's new fantasy, as in Waking the Moon (1995), two opposing groups of magicians, the Benandanti and the Malandanti, struggle to control human destiny. Kamensic is a spooky town, populated mostly by celebrities. High-school senior Charlotte "Lit" Moylan always felt like an outsider, but recently she's experienced unsettling presentiments and mystical visions. Sure enough, notorious movie director Axel Kern, Lit's godfather, has returned to his ancient, decaying mansion, Bolerium, to throw a Halloween party that everyone is commanded to attend. But at the entrance to Bolerium, Lit touches a phallic carving and is spellbound by horribly real-seeming visions involving hunting and bloody pagan rites. At the party, Professor Balthazar Warnick (we already know he's an immortal Benandante) claims she's the reincarnation of his lover, a Malandante whom he was forced to betray. As the party grows weirder yet—the film crews, drink, drugs, black lights, hallucinatory or perhaps occult occurrences, all bound up with ancient Dionysian rites—Lit learns that the entire town is dedicated to the Malandante. Her task is to sacrifice Axel, the avatar of Dionysos, so that the god may live again. Instead, she learns how to open the portals the magicians use to move instantly from place to place, and visits Warnick's remote Orphic Lodge. He pleads with Lit to stay but she refuses and returns to Bolerium to confront her destiny. Vivid, evocative, and well informed if heavily symbolic, with accurately limned teenaged characters; the problem's not so much a slender plot that doesn't cohere as the failure of the characters to adopt any recognizably purposeful course of action. Read full book review >
GLIMMERING by Elizabeth Hand
Released: March 1, 1997

Fin-de-siäcle/apocalyptic yarn from the author of Waking the Moon (1995), etc. Earth's atmosphere, destroyed by pollution and ozone depletion, coruscates with bizarrely colorful discharges, banishing night and hiding the stars. In 1999, everyone's seemingly crazy, drugged, fanatical, or dying of AIDS. Photographer and ``sociocultural pathologist'' Leonard Thrope gives AIDS patient and former lover Jack Finnegan a new drug whipped up by a former Japanese WW II medical experimenter; Jack soon feels better but starts to see. . . ghosts? visions? Then Leonard jabs fundamentalist rock singer Trip Marlowe with a new synthetic drug, IZE, that's addictive, psychotropic, and confers the ability to see. . . what Jack sees? Trip spends a blissful afternoon in the arms of attractive waif Marz Candry, who then disappears. In despair, Trip tries to kill himself, but instead he's rescued from a Maine beach by AIDS victim Martin Dionysos, another of Leonard's exes. Later, Marz will turn up at Jack's, only to die in childbirth before a recovered Trip arrives. The Golden Family corporation, inventor and distributor of IZE, claims to be able to restore the atmosphere, but its fix-it airships are destroyed by ecoterrorist bombs. Leonard, meanwhile, revels in all the millennial weirdness he's helped create. Flashy and downbeat, a sort of pre-post-cyberpunk as depressing as it is pointless. Read full book review >
WAKING THE MOON by Elizabeth Hand
Released: July 1, 1995

Men have been in charge too long, and at this moment the moon goddess Othiym Lunarsa slouches toward Washington, D.C., to be born—in this fourth novel and first hardcover from Hand. The main setting here is called the University of the Archangels and St. John the Divine—the secret American center of the Benandanti, a group whose origins are lost in prehistory but whose magic now rules the world. But as Yeats's gyres foretell, the goddess cult will rise, so the Benandanti have already taken arms against it. Katherine Sweeney Cassidy has no idea why she's been elected as a student for Divine, but her professor of Magic, Witchcraft & Religion, Balthazar Warnick, knows very well: Sweeney must ultimately oppose fellow student Angelica di Rienzi, the superhumanly ravishing incarnation of the Moon Goddess—though Angelica doesn't know she's the goddess until she receives the Lunula, an ultramagical necklace lost in the earth for thousands of years. Also on hand: her consort, the most beautiful man on earth, 18-year-old Oliver Wilde Crawford, a latent schizo whose fund of arcane knowledge would fit nicely into Finnegans Wake. Star-crossed Oliver, however, is chosen as Champion of the Benandanti to oppose Angelica as well. Meanwhile, Hand shows a marvelous talent for sketching in college life, especially Angelica's lesbian second banana, Annie Harmon. Things go wrong terribly early when British archaeologist Magda Kurtz, who uncovered the Lunula at her dig in northern Estavia, drapes the charm around Angelica's neck, then is hurled by Balthazar into a lurid darkness filled with giant insects. As if updating Nancy Drew, this hyperweird murder is observed by Sweeney and Angelica. But, strangely, Angelica takes it in stride, as does Oliver later. Soon a moonswept Angelica assumes her goddesshood, sacrifices a bull, has herself impregnated by Oliver, then disappears—later to bear Dylan, the son she must sacrifice to bring about the Second Coming.... Page by page, great entertainment—with special effects from Industrial Light and Magic. (Author tour) Read full book review >