Sue Thomas brings together forty-seven short stories from contemporary female writers in this anthology. They range from the well known Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker and Isabel Allende to less familiar writings from, most notably, Tanith Lee (Bloodmantle), Meena Alexander (Stone-Eating Girl) and Karen Karbo (Keep Your Guts).
Arranged in eight parts the collection of short stories explores themes of love, sex, surviving and female knowledge. The scope is very wide and despite most of the stories coming from Western American/European culture there are still very good examples of different cultures mixed in.
The stories themselves hang together very well and each have a slightly different flavour unique to its author. With few exceptions (the badly misjudged The Queen's Chamber by Anne Rice being one) the standard of writing is very high and insights to women's lives from all over the demographic and geographical spectrum are displayed with wit, verve and poetry.
My only real criticism is of the title. Thomas presents us with as many victims and martyrs as she does strong, resilient "wild" women. Only the first segment of the collection really deals with women's wildness and this, arguably, is the most original part. Also it would have been better to see more original material as many of the stories I have read before in different books.
This is a very well rounded and intelligent anthology of stories about women by women- some points may be a little to abstract and poetic to meet everyone's tastes however and the collection can never create as much resonance as a short story book by a single author. Nevertheless this is a very good and thought provoking work to stretch your imagination.