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Woman on the Edge of Time Paperback – 1 May 1979

4.4 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 May 1979
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The Women's Press Ltd (1 May 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0704338378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704338371
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 2.5 x 12.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 447,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Genius...Marge Piercy is every bit as imaginative as H. G. Wells or Isaac Asimov or any of the great fantasists, but she is also a fierce and devoted activist who wants us to be more than passive readers...I urge you to read Marge Piercy now." (Gloria Steinem)

"Marge Piercy’s characters are complex and very human" (Margaret Atwood)

"Here is somebody with the guts to go into the deepest core of herself, her time, her history, and risk more than anybody else has so far, just out of a love for the truth and a need to tell it." (Thomas Pynchon)

"One of the most important novelists of our time" (Erica Jong)

"Marge Piercy is the political novelist of our time. More: she is the conscience" (Marilyn French) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The classic feminist dystopian novel - reissued on its 40th Anniversary with a new introduction by the author --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 20 Nov. 2000
Format: Paperback
You won't believe this book is over 20 years old. There are many themes - the role of women and men, the position of minorities, an examination of whether human nature can ever change, society's definition of mental illness. Boy am I making this sound a dull book - but it isn't! The story itself is terrific, with warmly-drawn characters, and the pace varies nicely. For each passage to make you stop and think, there is a passage that will have you turning the pages as fast as you can.
This book changed the way I thought about the world as well as being a cracking read. There aren't any other books I can say that about.
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By A Customer on 8 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Connie has struggled all her life with poverty. Her husband is dead, killed by gang wars: her lover died in prison, her child has been taken into care, and she herself is constantly in and out of mental institutions. When her niece Dolly is attacked by her pimp, Connie defends her, is arrested for assault and locked up yet again in another mental hospital, where they fill her with drugs. In hospital she begins to receive visits from a woman from the future, who she at first thinks is a dream. The woman is from a time-travelling project organised by a village in a society where life is very different, a kind of anarchist utopia. The book is about this vision of the future and how it gives Connie the strength to fight back against the system. Piercy's future is bright and airy: the whole village is a family, people do what they like and what they're good at, children are born in a breeder and have three mothers, pronouns are neuter and sexism no longer exists - but it's not perfect: everyone works very hard, people stil argue, etc, and the characterisation of the villagers is good enough to stop it being too good to be true. It's an interesting and well-imagined utopia which contrasts very strongly with the horror and violence of Connie's real life. A fascinating and enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback
An important (if flawed) example of feminist SF, Women On The Edge Of Time escapes that old cliche that nothing dates so quickly as visions of the future, which really speak only to the time of their imagining. But this might have more to do with the persistence (or resurgence) of the patriarchy which it critiques than with any quality of the book itself. The alternation between worlds is nicely imagined and thankfully free from a certain kind of technical obsession that we think of as 'masculinist'. The future citizens manage to take on a life of their own but lack the contradictions that make a work like LeGuin's The Dispossessed superior in so many ways. The language is itself a little pedestrian and reads a little too much like a morality tale - despite her incarceration in a mental institution and her outbreaks of violence and drug-taking, Connie is not quite complicated (or multivalent) enough to break cover into believable autonomy. Many of Piercy's central concerns, and more than a few features of her utopian future, are reminiscent of Joanna Russ's The Female Man. That is a much better place to go for the pleasures of feminist speculative fictions. Nevertheless, this has something going for it, even if that says more about politics and patriarchy than about literature.
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Format: Paperback
While, yes, certainly Piercy's work is dated, its theories of a feminist utopia are firmly set in the perhaps more `idealistic' 70's, this is still by no means a worthless read. In fact there is much to celebrate in her feminist, cum social critique, cum science fiction drama. The story of Connie's abuse at the hands of a pimp, the state and the resultant removal of her daughter, Angelina, into care creates an insight into a world of forced hysterectomies, unequal sexual relationships and discrimination of the poor and ethnic minorities. These are issues still affecting many women in American (where the book is set) and the rest of the world, today, and are therefore still relevant and worthy of analysis. Connie's resultant decent into so called `insanity' forces the reader to question just how mad Connie really is. Is she deserving of a lobotomy that will ultimately erase her memory and her ability to do what she believes is time travel into the future, or is the state interrupting and enforcing control over what they classify as a `dissident', a `rebel'? For insight into the plight of the poor and the often despicable treatment of the mentally ill this book stands alone as an extremely important late 20th century novel, up there with `The Bell Jar', `Girl, Interrupted' and `Prozac Nation.' The sub-plot, set in the future world of a so-called feminist `utopia' equally calls the reader to question just how utopian and improved the conditions really are. Certainly in comparison to Connie's existence in a sexist, discriminatory America were gender and class are definers of social standing, the future Connie finds herself exploring offers many improvements.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read - Marge Piercy's savage story of Connie Ramos is the kind that gets you nice and hooked and then throws in alternatives, twists and characters which you would never have suspected in a million years. This book really does change the way you view difficult issues like mental illness, genetic engineering, domestic violence and poverty without ever being boring or lecturing.
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