A reading of love between women
A mature and divorced woman meets a 19-year-old girl, with whom a love that is difficult to explain for its time will emerge. If among your resolutions for this New Year is to read more books, a different option is Carol, a novel by the renowned author Patricia Highsmith.
This was a work ahead of its time. Written in 1948, it took her five years to find a publisher that was willing to publish it, since lesbian love stories were not well regarded at that time.
Today, when there is more openness, it is possible to access stories of this type, no matter what your sexual orientation, and learn about other realities through books.
A story with a happy ending
When Highsmith was finally able to release her book, she had to do it under the pseudonym Claire Morgan, not wanting it to be found out that she herself was a lesbian. Due to the theme of the book, the author and the publisher also agreed to change the title to The Price of Salt. This is how the Infobae news portal narrates it, which recently took up the case of this famous author.
Despite all the fears that surrounded it, the book sold more than a million copies, and it is well known that the success of a book is forged by word of mouth recommendations, more than any advertising investment that can be made. Even with that success, the publisher decided not to reprint it, and thus the work was forgotten.
Highsmith, for her part, continued writing and managed to consolidate an important career as the author of suspense novels, some of which were adapted into film versions by creators of the stature of Alfred Hitchcock, considered the pioneer in handling this type of plot on the big screen.
It was 37 years later, in 1989, when Carol was republished with its correct title and with the writer’s real name. Although it also has a tone of psychological suspense, Highsmith’s specialty, it is considered the only love novel in his bibliography.
Moreover, the English newspaper The Sunday Times cataloged it as “the first novel with a homosexual theme that does not end tragically.” This is very important because, for many years, stories about lesbian or gay characters were told, but they tended to focus on the calamities that would hit those people as punishment for their “depraved” behavior or, in other cases, they related the suffering and the loneliness that would leave them a way of being that the rest of the world was unable to understand.
That is why happy endings, in the midst of a society that categorically rejected love between people of the same sex, were considered revolutionary by later generations.
“Representation matters” is a phrase that has been repeated in recent months around the controversies over the presence of Latino, Afro-descendant or sexually diverse characters in books, films or series.
Activists and organizations have emphasized the importance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and Trans (LGBT) people of being able to recognize themselves in a fictional character, who feels and lives the same as them and who exists as he is in the universe even if it’s fictional.
And to better understand today’s reality, there is nothing like taking a look at past realities, such as the one posed in Carol, a novel that today can be obtained as a physical or digital book on different platforms. If you want to expand your library and make it more inclusive, this is a great option.
But if you enjoy film adaptations more, you can also watch the movie of the same name, released in 2015, starring actresses Cate Blanchet and Rooney Mara.
Do not forget that your sexual orientation or gender identity are traits of your personality that deserve respect. At AHF Latin America and the Caribbean we work with this principle to offer our HIV services, where you can get a free screening test or get free condoms. Come to our offices in your country and learn about all our services.