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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > November 2016 > Forbidden lives

Forbidden lives

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE A FORBIDDEN LIFE? SOPHIE WARD HEARS FROM THE PANELISTS SET TO DISCUSS THE TOPIC AT THIS YEAR’S HOMOTOPIA FESTIVAL IN LIVERPOOL

“Do people always fall in love with things they can’t have?”

“Always,” Carol said, smiling, too. Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt (Carol)

So it must have seemed to Patricia Highsmith and the women she encountered in the New York of the 1950s. Impossible attractions, to be pursued in secret if at all, with the understanding that such love might be more enhanced than diminished by the nature of the forbidden.

Highsmith, educated and independent, lived and wrote in a time when lesbianism was certainly unacceptable but was also, unlike male homosexuality, inconceivable. As Todd Haynes, director of the recent film adaptation of Carol, discussed in an interview with Film Comment last year, “the just unimagined notions of what love between women might look like and how it might be explored” are at the centre of Highsmith’s novel, and how this opacity allowed for a certain amount of freedom in society.

While neither Carol or her lover Therese escape from their affair unpunished, such a concept of the “forbidden” with its frisson of naughtiness and taboo hardly bears the weight of biblical consequence; a fruit which must not be tasted lest the wrath of the Creator banishes you from paradise. Or your religion, country, society and home. Or perhaps, that is too superficial an understanding of the women’s torment. Perhaps, they truly do lose paradise.

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About DIVA Magazine

Double Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams is this month’s cover star! Read our exclusive interview and get a boxing lesson from the “Baby-faced Assassin” in a fab video, available only to digital readers. Also in this issue… Jemma Redgrave on #Berena Hockey champs Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh talk exclusively to DIVA’s Roxy Bourdillon about winning gold in Rio. Hoops and dreams: Carrie Lyell looks back at 20 years of the WNBA. Master Of None star Lena Waithe tells DIVA about being a queer black woman in Hollywood Trans punk rocker Laura Jane Grace on love, sex and heartbreak Desert Hearts: 30 years on Sinitta: Why I’m an LGBT ally DIVA Awards PLUS: Travel, family and much, much more!
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