From the Publisher
A timeless classic!
Ask any woman born pre-1970 to name the books which she found life altering and you can bet that Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy appears among them. Woman on the Edge of Time is the moving story of Connie Ramos, a thirty-seven-year-old Mexican-American, unfairly incarcerated in a mental hospital, whose survival instinct is greatly tested. On a larger scale it is a Utopian epic that makes you question the system that institutionalises her. Although originally published in 1975, this Womens Press classic has endured the test of time and is greatly relevant to the 21st century reader interested in the idea of the position of women in the world.
Erica Jong One of the most important novelists of our time.
Thomas Pynchon Here is somebody with the guts to go into the deepest core of herself, her time, her history, and risk far more than anybody else has so far, just out of a love of the truth and a need to tell it.
Time Anyone who wants to learn what the revolution against the fat society is all about should read Marge Piercys novel.
New Internationalist Marge Piercy succeeds brilliantly in pitting the imagined idealism of the future against the poisoned and despoiled present each illuminating the other- and the book stands as one of the classic feminist utopias, alongside Ursula LeGuins Dispossessed and Always Coming Home and Joanna Russs The Female Man. In Connie and Luciente we have two wonderfully rounded characters, fallible, often wrong-headed but brave, full of spirit and immensely life affirming.
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
She hated being around the shock shop. It scared her. Regularly some patients from L-6 were wheeled out for shock. One morning there would be no breakfast for you, and then you would know. They would wheel you up the hail and inject you to knock you out and shoot you up with stuff that turned your muscles to jelly, so that even your lungs stopped. You were a hair from death. You entered your death. Then they would send voltage smashing through your brain and knock your body into convulsions. After that they'd give you oxygen and let you come back to life, somebody's life, jumbled, weak, dribbling saliva - come back from your scorched taste of death with parts of your memory forever burned out. A little brain damage to jolt you into behaving right. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes a woman forgot what had scared her, what she had been worrying about. Sometimes a woman was finally more scared of being burned in the head again, and she went home to her family and did the dishes and cleaned the house. Then maybe in a while she would remember and rebel and then she'd be back for more barbecue of the brain. In the back wards the shock zombies lay, their brains so scarred they remembered nothing, giggling like the old lobotomized patients.
On that Wednesday she was sitting there hopefully, but Fargo was deep in gossip with another black attendant. Connie had gone up once for a light - the only way inmates could get a match was to beg for one - and had been told to wait a minute, honey, half an hour ago. Four other patients were waiting too with small requests. She knew better than to approach again. On her lap was spread yesterday's paper, a present from Fargo for cleaning up vomit, but she had read through it, including births and deaths and legal notices. Mrs. Martinez approached her, eyes meeting hers and then downcast in a gesture that reminded her suddenly of Luciente's orange eat. Several weeks had passed since she had been in contact with the future, although almost daily she felt Luciente's presence asking to be let through. Here in the violent ward she was afraid to allow contact, for she had to watch her step. She was never alone, not even in the toilets without doors, never away from surveillance.
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