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Women In The Shadows (Beebo Brinker #3)

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  313 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Designated the "Queen of Lesbian Pulp" for her landmark novels beginning in 1957, Ann Bannon’s work defined lesbian fiction for the pre-Stonewall generation. Following the release of Cleis Press’s new editions of Beebo Brinker and Odd Girl Out, Women in the Shadows picks up with Beebo’s relationship with Laura waning, as both women become caught in the cultural tumult (gay ...more
Published January 1st 1983 by Naiad Press (first published 1959)
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Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lesbeans, pulps
Welp, this book is something of a miserable slog. You have to hand it to Ann Bannon for going there-- domestic violence in queer relationships, racism, internalized homophobia, lavender marriages-- but it's not a fun ride. I definitely see why this book is historically significant, but "Women in the Shadows" is too melodramatic and dated to be as poignant as it wants to be and ends up being just plain heavy. In a way the characters still make sense: Jack's always been a self-loathing jackass, La ...more
Well, this wasn't a book I probably would have read on my own, but as it was an assigned book for a class on Sex, Gender & Other Difficult Topics in Modern Fiction I found it very entertaining. As an example of the historical outlet for subculture it was fascinating, this was perhaps the most interesting aspect for me. Overall, the basic aspects of the book are fundamental pulp fiction with all the salacious aspects used to their fullest. If you go into the narrative understanding that part ...more
Apr 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the darkest one probably out of the Beebo Brinker chronicles. A really deep sobering look into the chemistry of a disintegrating relationship, all that goes into it and all the ways one escapes such a thing. The ending was sad in its finality and its message, but quite appropriate for the time the story takes places in. Though the book tended to dive into high dramatics now and again, it was also surprisingly serious and offered much insight to the innerworkings of human mind and heart. ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite in the series. So intense and it stirred up a lot of emotion in me. These characters were wretched and tortured and they felt so achingly real.
Nov 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that this is one of Bannon's - and indeed, that of any other author - most difficult books I have ever read. Sometimes... most of the time, actually... what we wish would happen just doesn't and it's not in our power to change it, and it's heartbreaking. This book illustrates this reality in painful terms.

I read it first, agonized because I love these characters so much, because it's clear that Bannon loved them so much too. When I read it again a couple years later, I realized I wa
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is the most controversial of Brannon's pulp novels. It has the gay guy and the lesbian marrying as the gay guy realises he no longer wants to have his heart broken but wants to have a daughter instead. It was a very dark and sad book. There was a lot of internalised homophobia, even from the characters that had been accepting of their situation. When the gay guy married he said he finally felt like "a man" because he had a wife. It was odd to see how they settled into their 50s ster ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Women in the Shadows, by ann Bannon, Narrated by Kate Rudd, produced by Cleis Press and downloaded from

In this, the third book in the chronicles, we continue to follow Laura as she experiments with and learns about love through various relationships. The dominant and darkest one was with Beebo Brinker, who was so desperate to hang on to Laura that she kept track of her every move, abused her and finally did other things to try to keep Laura in the relationship. Also in this book, we
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Feb 06, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-fun, fiction
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May 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-lit
This book was traumatizing.
I read this book for a project I did for school about lesbian pulp novels published between 1950-1965. This book was written by the infamous Ann Bannon, a queer woman who wrote several lesbian pulp novels, most of them a part of the Beebo Brinker Chronicles. This book is the third book in the series. Despite my intense dislike of this book, it is valuable for historical analysis. However, if you are looking for a book that positively portrays lesbianism, queerness, or
Hey Sailor!
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-shit
Every character does so many problematic things i don't know where to begin - marriage by blackmail, extremely abusive relationships, co-dependency, animal abuse, alcoholism. This is a pulp novel though and not a page goes by when the main protagonist doesn't declare her undying love for someone. I don't know why, in a book full of problems, I was most annoyed by Tish's self-hate and racial identity issues. There is enough self-loathing to go around.
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really disturbing book... I normally won't gravitate to this kind of book but I was challenged by my book club members to give my review. It's dark, complicated and an intense often unhealthy narration of love in the lives of this group of gays, lesbian and heterosexuals.
I almost puked at the violence in the name of love as well as the reasons for deciding to bear a child. Kudos to the writer but content quite disturbing
Levi Amichai
This book is hella traumatic. I had to put it down for a moment several times. Not really what I thought I was getting into. I only finished it because it seemed like I needed the context in order to read the next book.

It's interesting as a primer in how homophobia can make gay people destroy themselves without straight people having to lift a finger. (Domestic violence, alcoholism, self-hatred... what fun!)

Mostly, though, Laura is too stupid to believe.
Reading the afterward clears up the author's intentions a bit. But still, this wasn't as good as others I've read. It felt a bit like sweeps week. She pulls out every possible catastrophe or cheap trick and it ends up being dark and a little tedious at points. Interracial relationships, straight marriages between gay people, rape, murder, alcoholism.... and more.
Jun 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this 2 stars out of solidarity, but the fact of the matter is, even with lesbian pulp of the 1950s, I have no patience for total heteronormativity and crazily depressing characterisation.
Not a great read

Not a great read. I liked book 1 from the series better. Laura is a selfish, destructive character. No redeeming qualities. At least Beebo changed for the better in the end. Didn't care for Jack's character either. Too pathetic.

Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, fiction
This was thankfully the last of the series. I wanted to read it to get a sense of what sorts of fiction women had available to them back in the '50's and early 60's. I'm glad I read them but I can't say I enjoyed it. Worthwhile historically, but it's hard for a modern audience to relate.
Diamond Stacey
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this book and all the books in the series.
Awesome cover art. Love the pulp revival movement.
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read it twice
Mar 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little time capsule from queer life before liberation. Overwrought and dated in a pulp sort of way, but delightful and fun both in spite of AND because of those qualities.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great pulp. A quick and delightful read.
Dichotomy Girl
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, 2015, pulp
OMG, these characters are all manipulative sociopaths. I guess that's what makes it fun reading??
Jane Pierce
just a little pulp fiction. just a whole lota of melo-drama.
May 24, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This one was mostly depressing, and the part about Nix was really disturbing, but I <3 Jack so it wasn't a total loss.
rated it liked it
Feb 26, 2010
rated it liked it
Feb 03, 2015
Pamela Hope Snow
rated it it was amazing
Nov 08, 2015
rated it really liked it
Sep 28, 2010
Alexis Reeves
rated it liked it
Jun 02, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jul 16, 2012
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Ann Bannon (pseudonym of Ann Weldy) is an American author and academic. She is known for her lesbian pulp novels, which comprise The Beebo Brinker Chronicles and earned her the title "Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction."

Bannon was featured in the documentaries Before Stonewall (1984) and Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives (1992)
More about Ann Bannon...

Other Books in the Series

Beebo Brinker (6 books)
  • Beebo Brinker
  • Odd Girl Out
  • I Am a Woman
  • Journey to a Woman
  • The Marriage