7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The female man,
This review is from: The Female Man (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
This is a fractured novel, showing four points of view of women from different times, places and dimensions. Joanna Russ means to show how one woman is different depending on her environment.
One version lives on the planet Whileaway, where the men died off in a plague but biological sciences enabled women to share reproduction. The woman from this place comes - how we are not told - through dimensions to a version of Earth which we can recognise, where women feel status is conferred by having children and looking after their husbands. Whereas a high-achieving single woman with a PhD, many published books, sports and travels is regarded by them as a threat, perhaps from jealousy.
A wry observation is "Women have feelings. Men have egos."
Russ is making her point at the expense of a plot, because there is no real sequence of events to keep you reading, often just a randomly picked facet of one society or other, such as the lack of violent crime on Whileaway. This is telling not showing and I would have been more absorbed in the tale if we had a straight swop of habitats between two women, each to experience life as they didn't know it could be lived.
My personal favourite of Russ' works is the award winning short story, 'When It Changed,' her first visit to Whileaway. Unless you want to go down the militant feminist road, in my view you are just as well off to read that story and not worry about this book.
By the way, I'm a married female who is a tree surgeon and was an amateur national standard showjumper, with award-winning writing to my credit. I think it's better to go out and live the life you want to live rather than complain about what you can't do.