Corruption of innocence (The)
Lesbian Pulp Fiction Type
Protagonist's Status at the Beginning
Protagonist's Status at the End
Female Protagonists Meet or Introduced to the Reader
Ratings and/or Awards
Damon, Gene. "Lesbiana" Ladder, vol. 11, no. 7, May 1967, pp. 11-12.
Paradox Lost is a first novel, and suffers the flaws common to all first novels, but it is also a Lesbian novel which belongs in every collection of the subject and it has been simply ignored. Marianne Sinclair was 18 years old when she wrote this book, and it is made clear on the cover that she is the Novel’s heroine. For once there is not “fiction disclaimer” to deal with. But, while the novel’s heroine Anabel, is the catalyst, she is a pale figure beside Chris, possibly the most engaging fictional character since Beebo Brinker.
Most of you will remember Beebo’s memorial seduction scene in I Am a Woman (by Ann Bannon, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1959). Now here is how Marianne Sinclair introduces Chris:
“On one stool, Chris sits. There is such ease in her that she is unnoticed. The ambiguity of her many natures makes her more whole than anyone in the streets of Paris. She has a style of her own, a coolness of the outer world that chills the conflicts within her. Her mouth has comprised so long between a grin of ingratiation and an equivocal sneer that it seems only to attract what it will also repel. She has changed the grace of her body into chopped masculine gestures so that she moves with precise curtness in an economy of beauty. The way she lights a cigarette with a flip twist of the wrist, smokes it pinched between thumb and index, snaps her head back to inhale is studied, unnatural, but it is in now way affected, for it is now her being, the essence of Chris.”
The world of Chris and Anabel is the night club, “The Four Winds.” It is not an exclusively Lesbian club, but a conglomeration of all types and kinds of people. Much of the book is devoted to short acid sketches of the inhabitants of the club. The patronne, a fat old sister, laments the prevalence of Lesbianism but she likes Chris better than most in the club.
The relationship between Chris and Anabel cannot last – and the reader knows this from the novel’s first sentence. Anabel will go on into another world. Chris will remain, perhaps she is still there today. One advertisement for the book described it as the story of “An innocent young girl of 18 who falls in love with a corrupt and seasoned bitch of 40.” There are several things about that ad which are misleading, and the primary one is the vowel in “bitch”.