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The Gate to Women's Country [Paperback]

Sheri S. Tepper
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Sep 1999

Classic fantasy from the amazing Sheri S. Tepper.

Women rule in Women’s Country. Women live apart from men, sheltering the remains of civilization They have cut themselves off with walls and by ordinance from marauding males. Waging war is all men are good for. Men are allowed to fight their barbaric battles… amongst themselves, garrison against garrison. For the sake of his pride, each boy child ritualistically rejects his mother when he comes of age to be a warrior. But all the secrets of civilization are strictly the possession of women.

Naturally, there are men who want to know what the women know… And when Stavia meets Chernon, the battle of the sexes begins all over again. Foolishly, she provides books for Chernon to read. Before long, Chernon is hatching a plan of revenge against women…



Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; New Ed edition (20 Sep 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006482708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006482703
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,238,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘Poignant and profound… I’m deeply moved’
Stephen Donaldson

‘Lively, thought-provoking… the plot is ingenious, packing a wallop of a surprise’
Ursula K. LeGuin

‘Shocking and entertaining… a wonderful fantasy which explores the role of the sexes’
Fear

‘It’s grand… one of the most involving, serious and deeply felt studies of the relations between the sexes that I have ever read’
Marion Zimmer Bradley

‘Tepper not only keeps us reading, she provokes a new look at the old issues’
Washington Post

‘Remember reading? Really reading, I mean – for knowledge, transformation, survival – that’s how I found myself reading Sheri S. Tepper’
Village Voice

From the Back Cover

Women rule in Women’s Country. Women live apart from men, sheltering the remains of civilization They have cut themselves off with walls and by ordinance from marauding males. Waging war is all men are good for. Men are allowed to fight their barbaric battles … amongst themselves, garrison against garrison. For the sake of his pride, each boy child ritualistically rejects his mother when he comes of age to be a warrior. But all the secrets of civilization are strictly the possession of women.

Naturally, there are men who want to know what the women know … And when Stavia meets Chernon, the battle of the sexes begins all over again. Foolishly, she provides books for Chernon to read. Before long, Chernon is hatching a plan of revenge against women …


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humane, readable and engaging. 8 April 2013
By Behan
Format:Paperback
I greatly enjoyed Grass recently and was keen to learn more about this author, who was new to me. I was a bit surprised to find that she is considered (and occasionally disparaged as) a feminist author; "Grass" has a likeable heroine and - I *suppose* - the villains are all paternalistic men, but for me that book took many more swipes at organised religion and social conservatism, even at women, than it did at men per se.

So "The Gate..." must surely be the incendiary work of feminist ideology that earned Tepper this reputation?

No, not really. In contrast to, say, The Female Man (a book that I found too complicated and whimsical to finish) this is not a thinly-veiled, 400-page dissertation on feminism. The format here is to contrast two wildly different and theoretical social systems - one an oppressive patriarchy, the other a contrived, but benign matriarchy - using the post-apocalypse genre in the same way that Ursula K Le Guin uses space colonies in The Dispossessed to compare unlikely political regimes. There isn't an overt agenda or moral here, just a good story that plays with lots of aspects of gender politics. Also, Women's Country is not a Utopia: it is first portrayed as pragmatic and dogmatic, and then slowly revealed to serve a purpose that is rather sinister.

We can suspend our disbelief in Tepper's gender-segregated society because we are drawn into a kitchen-sink drama about the growing pains of a level-headed tomboy, living with her tough single mother and petulant teenage sister.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars truly a book that should be a must 8 Aug 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I found this book spellbinding. the plot is great, the premise is great, but the real draw is the working through of highly political feminist ideas in a very matter of fact way. shall give this book to my daughter as soon as she hits the strop years.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read 17 July 2003
Format:Paperback
having read the two previous reviews of The Gate to the
Womens Country, I have to wonder if I read the same book? The one I
read was exciting, thoughtful, inventive and offered interesting
insights into the traditional sociological roles of men and
women. Her characters are believably fallible, no stereo types
here! Sheri Tepper has a neat, quirky sense of humour, an eye
for absurities. This is a good read, hell it's a damm good read!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
In the big picture, this is the story of the struggles that a society headed by women face in a post-nuclear holocaust Earth. Inside the cities that have been established the women live; governing and working at their chosen trade. Seperated by the city walls are the garrisons, where Spartan type male warriors are taken from their mothers at the age of five to train in the ways of war. The contrasts between the two societies are great. The women continue to make scientific advances to try and recover what they lost before civilisation was destroyed while the men do war crave the power of past times and scheme to take over the cities from the women. There are also similarities between the two: they both feel the unfairness about the barriers surrounding them. In closer detail the book covers the life in particular of a a girl, Stavia. She suffers the removal of her brother at five, falls in love with a warrior and is eventually betrayed. There is much subterfuge throughout the book and many surprises. Sheri S Tepper Writes it well and creates a very melancholy atmosphere and although it does have the obligatory boy v girl element she shows both sides to the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gate To women's Country 26 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
I read this book many years ago and enjoyed it then, have just recently purchased a copy and am so glad i did, couldnt put it down once i had picked it up.

The story is about survival of the human race, thanks to the women and their selective(ish) breeding, organisational skills and ability to keep it all together, keep the cogs turning, providing all with food and clothes etc. Its not an anti men book, but the women are in reality in control and their select few men that come back to women's country......
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars costing me money 7 Sep 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I've owned this book twice now, and twice carelessly leant it to other ppl and twice had it not returned. This must say something about it!
IMO this is a great book, thought provoking on one level, yet accessible and enjoyable as an SF novel as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The gate to women's country 7 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thoughtful subject matter with more depth than at first appears. A little didactic in tone and at times thin on characterization in places but a good read nonetheless
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insight 8 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first read this book many years ago, borrowed it form the library. But now I have my own copy on my kindle. Love it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The battle of the sexes, literally, a sad story and a page turner
This is an excellent piece of political science fiction, the book itself has an introduction, which provides some interpretation of the text itself, and which should be skipped by... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lark
3.0 out of 5 stars Two-thirds wonderful
Sheri S. Tepper is a fine writer who only needs apply the occasional deft touch to keep her big ideas – here, a society segregated into warrior men and artist/politician/healer... Read more
Published 6 months ago by jxn
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favourites.
Sheri Tepper is like the X-Files - some episodes are amazing and some are pants. This book is very firmly in the non-pants half of her output. It is, quite simply, brilliant. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Fleecy Moss
5.0 out of 5 stars becoming addicted to tepper
I read grass by accident. This one was deliberate. I already bought beauty because I'm totally addicted. Feminist fantasy? Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ebgeekalmighty
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Twist
This is a book I've revisited. Well written and not easy to second guess. An absorbing, thought provoking story, also great escapism.
Published 12 months ago by Silverfish
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book
This book has so many layers of meaning. I wish every woman would read it and think about the issues is brings up.
Published 15 months ago by Alison Jaffrey
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but...
I am a big fan of feminist sci-fi, and I loved the interweaving with the Greek play and mythology, but certain aspects of this novel left me cold. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mini Ninja
5.0 out of 5 stars Such an eye opener!
This was the first Sheri S Tepper book I had ever read and it was such an eye opener! It completely poleaxed me and the ideas in it occupied my mind for a long time. Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2011 by Jess Montrose
4.0 out of 5 stars well worth reading
This introduces such an interesting anlaysis of possiblities in male female relationships. It is though provoking and satisfying to read. Read more
Published on 14 Sep 2010 by skd
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