Woman on the Edge of Time eBook ¹ the Edge PDF/EPUB

Woman on the Edge of Time [Reading] ➶ Woman on the Edge of Time Author Marge Piercy – Buyprobolan50.co.uk Hailed as a classic of speculative science fiction Marge Piercy’s landmark novel is a transformative vision of two futures Harrowing and prescient Woman on the Edge of Time will speak to a new gener the Edge PDF/EPUB Á Hailed as a classic of speculative science fiction Marge Piercy’s landmark novel is a Woman on ePUB ´ transformative vision of two futures Harrowing and prescient Woman on the Edge of Time will on the Edge PDF/EPUB ¶ speak to a new generation on whom these choices weigh heavily than ever beforeAfter being unjustly committed to a mental institution Connie Ramos is contacted by an envoy from the year who shows her a utopian future of sexual and racial euality and environmental harmonyBut Connie also bears witness to another potential outcome a dystopian society of grotesue exploitation One will become our world And Connie herself may strike the decisive blowThe classic feminist science fiction novel – reissued on its th anniversary with a new introduction by the author Harrowing and prescient – and often compared to The Handmaid’s Tale – Woman on the Edge of Time will speak to a new generation of readers.

  • Kindle Edition
  • 432 pages
  • Woman on the Edge of Time
  • Marge Piercy
  • 21 May 2015

About the Author: Marge Piercy

the Edge PDF/EPUB Á Marge Piercy born March is an American poet novelist and social activist Woman on ePUB ´ She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers a sweeping on the Edge PDF/EPUB ¶ historical novel set during World War IIPiercy was born in Detroit Michigan to a family deeply affected by the Great Depression She was the first in her family to attend college studying at the University of Michigan Winning a.

10 thoughts on “Woman on the Edge of Time

  1. Max Gordon Max Gordon says:

    It’s interesting how the lens of three decades of life experience can sharpen the focus of certain stories—and even parts of stories When I first read Woman on the Edge of Time not long after it was published 1976 I was barely into my 20s and already a reliable cog in the corporate machine At that time I enjoyed Marge Piercy’s story of a 37 year old Chicana woman in New York whose already complicated life takes a twist for the bizarre when she begins to communicate with an ambassador from the year 2137 but I found little to identify with personally beyond the yearning for a egalitarian utopian world I read the book again when I was around the age of the main character Consuela Ramos and found considerably to love—and ponder I had naively thought when I first read the book in the late 70s that sexism racism and ethnocentrism were on the wane—outmoded concepts that were slowly but undeniably going the way of other counterproductive human behaviors like burning witches at the stake or euating nonconformity with insanity Silly me The 80s and 90s taught me otherwise so that by the time I dipped into Woman in the late 90s I realized how prescient some of Piercy’s observations were And when I reread the book yet again recently I finally found the story far richer and nuanced than in any of my earlier readings I am a gay single mother in my 50s who after a severe depressive episode has seen the inside of a mental institution The short term unit at McLean is a country club for harmless sadsacks compared with the Cuckoo’s Nest setting Connie finds herself in to be sure but it’s a nuthouse all the same So during this reading I found myself especially attuned to Connie’s treatment by “the system”—the way her story of the actions that led to her second commitment are ignored and read as denial and evidence of illness; the emphasis on orderly obeisance and lecturing over individual therapy and understanding; the easy assumption that “noncompliance” is dangerous and must be crushed To be fair I did not encounter frightened uncaring staff during my brief stay but it is still true that patients rarely if ever see actual doctors At best they see counselors in group settings but most interactions are with nurses technicians and pharmacists—just as they were in Piercy’s 1976 hospital Those insights were critical in this recent reading of the book The first time I read the book I was a kid remember I tended to believe that Ramos was indeed schizophrenic and that she had created a very inventive but allegorically instructional alternative world to hide out in to escape the roughness of the real world After the second reading I had no doubt that she had in fact been communicating with and visiting the world in 2137 and that her brave actions at the end of the book played a critical role in averting a disastrous future But after this latest most recent reading I have a different conclusion it doesn’t matter The book works either way because it is above all character study a deeply introspective look at community evolution survival identity and connectedness Past reviewers have called the future world a “feminist utopia” but this is hardly accurate What they seem to be responding to is the idea that this future shows a world in which capitalism is not the driving force It’s true men are not in charge But neither are women Everyone is on charge in turn It’s not even socialism but communal living taken to a grand scale and extreme It’s a world where everyone matters and is listened to which is why it is important that Connie is not just some average housewife or middle management executive or a neurosurgeon Connie is the epitome of the voiceless ignored part of society—the people we brush off as “nuts” and consider less worthy of our full attention This is not to say that Piercy is suggesting that everyone wearing a foil hat is tuned into reality and we are all fools for thinking them crazy; rather she is contrasting what can happen when one set of people assumes graceless power over another and refuses to listen to allow them to contribute or make their own sometimes bad choices It’s about what could happen if we accept totalitarianism As an aside I was amused to see that several reviewers considered the book dated—not the “present” period mind you which they accepted as a uaint period piece but the imagined future of 2137 What we all forget too easily is that in the time since this book was written we have been barraged by a high tech cinematic view of the future that almost invariably depicts our fate as increasingly electronic automated and conformist Woman was written after the original Star Trek series but predates the movies the spin off and flashy movies like the Star Wars Alien and Terminator franchises And the book helped spawn a generation of the alternative cyberpunk view of the broken dystopian future that gave us Bladerunner and Mad Max But realistically none of us knows what the world will be like 125 years from now Would we have imagined in 1887 that we could cruise down a highway at 80 mph talking to loved ones around the world through an earpiece? That our conversations at busy intersections and streets would be monitored and captured on camera without our knowledge? That pilotless drones would crisscross vast territories collecting data and firing weapons aimed by people on different continents? To think that we have any insight into what will still be “normal” in 2137 is hubris

  2. Joe Valdez Joe Valdez says:

    Disclaimer The fact that I have to throw another time travel novel into my abandoned book locker may prompt me to be even harsh in my comments than I should I want to travel back in time to stop Marge Piercy from publishing this novel There would be plenty of enjoyable things to see and do in 1976 New York experience the Bicentennial celebrations watch the Cincinnati Reds sweep the Yankees in the World Series check out Blondie perform at CBGB but erasing this novel from history would be my duty Woman on the Edge of Time is the adventure of Connie Ramos an unemployed widow who lives in a tenement somewhere in the Lower East Side Connie is visited by her pregnant niece who's been beaten by the pimp whose child she's carrying The pimp breaks into Connie's apartment with a back alley doctor to finish the job When Connie breaks the pimp's nose with a bottle she's beaten unconsciousThe pimp carts Connie off to Bellevue where she's been interned once before after spiraling into alcoholic malaise over the death of her second husband and breaking her daughter's arm Administered Thorazine and carted before uncaring social workers Connie is unable to get anyone in the system to listen to her If things weren't bad enough Connie may be receiving visits by a traveler from the year 2137I'm sticking pins in this novel all over again just summarizing the oppressively downtrodden and plodding story That's not entirely Piercy's fault; I was just in no mood to follow where she wanted to lead meI hated Connie Ramos one of the most insufferable protagonists in science fiction I would've gotten behind this character if she wanted something to reunite with her daughter perhaps working three jobs to save enough money to move out of El Barrio and make that reunion possible maybe I know it's hard out there with Gerald Ford in the White House but sitting around watching TV and letting your fool niece mix you up in her troubles didn't endear any sympathy from me I wanted her institutionalized honestly where three suare meals a day socializing with nuts and being kept safe from pimps seems like an improvement on her current situationI hated the time traveler Who goes back in time and appears before a mentally unstable woman one hallucination away from being committed? Oh yeah that's a sound plan I'm open to the possibility that Connie is hallucinating the visitor altogether which would be an even depressing journey for me to continue onI can see where Piercy is going with this novel charting the mental frailties of a woman ostracized by society due to her gender her ethnicity her social class I stuck with it through 88 pages but Connie is such a course miserable crank her past behavior deplorable and her visitor so oblivious to the misery it's causing that I just didn't want to continue with the book

  3. Charlotte Charlotte says:

    “We can only know what we can truly imagine Finally what we see comes from ourselves”I solemnly swore not to get behind this year and here I am two months later with a backlog of reviews to write Classic Charlotte Today’s book is Woman on the Edge of Time written in 1976 by Marge Piercy There should be no major spoilers in this reviewSo What’s It About?Connie Ramos a woman in her mid thirties has been declared insane But Connie is overwhelmingly sane merely tuned to the future and able to communicate with the year 2137 As her doctors persuade her to agree to an operation Connie struggles to force herself to listen to the future and its lessons for todayWhat I Thought The F WordBefore I dive into the minutiae of this review I do think the most important thing to do is take a step back and evaluate the matter that is at the heart of Piercy’s book her vision for a feminist utopia I’ll admit to trepidation on this front before reading the book the 1970s were an incredibly important time for feminism but I’d also argue that some of the radicalcultural feminism from that era is deeply dated at this point; I pretty much tune out as soon as people start talking about internal goddesses and separatism With that in mind I wasn’t sure how Piercy’s vision would withstand the test of 40 yearsAs a whole Woman on the Edge of Time holds up very well I think Some of the particulars of Piercy’s politics remain extremely relevant to issues that are at the forefront of feminism today I was especially intrigued by Piercy’s exploration of gender neutrality the people of the feminist future in Mattapoisett while still aware of sex as a construct do not extrapolate from biology any other sort of attribute or identity and instead practice gender neutrality including the use of the neutral pronoun “per”Entirely contrary to my fears surrounding the use of gender essentialism because of the era of the book’s publication the people of Mattapoisett have not found the solution to patriarchal control to be the essentialization of womanhood – instead of celebrating a divine female essence as so many cultural feminists did in the 1970s Piercy argues that such practices simply etch the gender binary further into stone and that our goal should instead be to eliminate that binary and allow each individual to shine through in their uniueness Connie’s reaction to this is rage at first when she finds that motherhood is no longer a practice tied to gender – if motherhood no longer belongs to women if they no longer have one thing that makes them special in a world that almost universally denigrates them then what’s left? Luciente’s answer is simple the further we entrench ourselves into false dichotomies the greater our sorrows growLuciente’s future is one where egalitarianism is painstakingly realized in every aspect of the world building I’ve already identified the points that were the most thought provoking to me but that’s not to say that Piercy has not also given eual thought to matters of economic and environmental justice mental health childcare shared leadership and decision making and sexuality There are a few notable exceptions to my general appreciation for her vision however It’s apparent that Piercy views all sex work as inherently exploitative and violent a position that I take issue with I’m also uncomfortable with the young ages at which teenagers in the future seem to be sleeping with adults much older than them Perhaps the hottest and bizarrest take of all is Piercy’s heavy handed insinuation that Connie’s experiences of incest as a young child were totally above board and harmless Like what???I’d also be remiss if I neglected to explore Piercy’s examination of ableism and the horrific treatment of the mentally ill by the systems that are allegedly designed to help them This part of the book anticipates intersectionality by depicting the manner in which poor people ueer people and people of color who are also neurodivergent experience heightened marginalization dehumanization and violence in the mental health system It’s a brutal unflinching look at the way that those with mental illness are treated as though they are subhuman with invasions of privacy the stripping away of basic human rights and at best humiliating infantalizationConnie is a powerful choice for a protagonist for this book because as a poor woman of color who has been deemed insane who has been abused her entire life she so powerfully contrasts the differences between the callousness of the present day world and the compassionate utopia of Mattapoisett Perhaps most importantly Piercy insists that though she is the most voiceless of the voiceless the most denigrated of the denigrated the most forgotten of the forgotten she still matters She still deserves the peace that Mattapoisett offers; she is still a human being with agency no matter how the world tries to strip it away from her and she still has the capacity to make a difference and potentially change the course of the futureIf this is all sounding uite transformative and impactful that’s because it is Here’s the thing though while Piercy’s ideas are extremely powerful and resonant I take issue with the manner in which she chose to communicate them Put simply I find her methods didactic in the extreme For all that Connie comes to think of Luciente and the people of Mattapoisett as family I really can’t say that I felt much of an emotional connection between any of them at all Most of their conversations consist of Socratic style info dumps I’m not necessarily saying that I could come up with a better way of conveying a vast amount of information about society building over the course of a 400 page novel but I AM saying that the impact of Piercy’s ideas is hobbled by the means of their conveyanceI have a few other uibbles with the time travel aspect of the story It seems bizarre to me that Luciente and per people had so entirely little knowledge about Connie’s world and how it functioned Was there some kind of event that caused a loss of information about the world before it was restructured? If I traveled 200 years into the past I think I would have a much better understanding of how it functioned than Luciente did of Connie’s world I was also frustrated by how bizarrely dismissive Luciente was of Connie’s experiences in the institution On some occasions it felt like person or less entirely ignored the horrific things that were happening in Connie’s life to jump right back into lecturing about per society I additionally would have appreciated it if Connie had been a little bit inuisitive about the future people’s vocabulary because I struggled with some of their slang and vocabulary and having a few explanations about that would have helped a great dealIf I had time I would dive down into how Piercy’s version of a gender neutral world contrasts with Le Guin’s take in The Left Hand of Darkness I fear I’m already straining at the limits of my hypothetical reader’s patience however so I think I’ll leave well enough alone for now Another day another classic of feminist spec fic tackled here at Charlotte Read dot com Thanks for joining me and hopefully I’ll be writing another post soon No guaranteesAbout the AuthorMarge Piercy’s biography is a fascinating one and I’d highly recommend reading it in full You can do so here

  4. Megan Baxter Megan Baxter says:

    There were times when I was so frustrated with the main character She was driving me crazy She was walking through an entirely different world and assuming everything was the same I realized why this was bothering me I was wanting and expecting her to react like a science fiction reader And many science fiction charactersNote The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision hereIn the meantime you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  5. Isis Isis says:

    Hands down one of my all time favorite books I'm certain some of that has to do with the point in my life during which I read it however it shall always remain an ultimate favorite The issues the Ms Piercy so deftly addresses are both the main focus of the story and completely secondary almost an after thought I never got the feeling of being preached at yet so many important and delicate subjects were addressed throughout this novel Mental illness racism gender euality or rather ineuality socio economic injustices all these and are deftly covered in this touching story of a woman struggling to make her way in a world where she starts with multiple strikes against her simply by the color of her skin and the fact that she was born female rather than maleThis story switches between a present day world in which we live with all the messes that actually exist in the real world and a utopian future that is on the brink of destruction fom the very same dangers that got us to the mess we are currently in This novel presents some interesting ideas of how we could live versus how we are living raising the uestion of if we are living or simply struggling to continue to existWhile this book may sound like a very heavy possibly dry read it is anything but Once you pick it up you will be hard pressed to set it down until you have finished it This is a definite 'not to be missed' read

  6. Lisa Vegan Lisa Vegan says:

    The most important thing to know about this book is that it was first published in 1976 This is such a late 1960s early mid 1970s story It’s funny because part of it takes place in the mid 70s and part takes place in the 22nd century The 22nd century appears as though imagined in the 1970s So the future seems dated somehow I suspect I would have thought it was brilliant if I’d read it over three decades ago Now I cringed uite a bit and thought it was unintentionally humorous at timesThe story is about a woman in the 1970s who’s a mental patient it did remind me a bit of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest but she can communicate with those in the 22nd century Those in the 22nd century she has the most contact with are still at war but otherwise are living in an almost utopia The author seems to say a lot about an egalitarian society communal living sexism and class and racism much about the environment; uite a bit about computers It’s a cautionary tale and must have seemed uite impressive back in 1976I loved the language imagined 150 or so years into the future how English evolved done in a way that makes use of the vernacular of the 1960s and the 1970s; it’s adapted from that time It doesn’t work that well in 2010 but it was splendidly constructed and I enjoyed revisiting the time of three and a half decades agoIt took me about 50 pages to start enjoying the book but then I had times when it was difficult to put down I did really want to read this I got first one moldy library copy then another identical edition that was also just as moldy but I’m glad that I read itI can’t say too much about it so I don’t give anything away but I found the ending somewhat unsatisfying but I think that the author was very deliberate about how she ended itI wasn’t sure whether to give it 3 or 4 stars I opted to give it 4 because the story was told in such a creative way

  7. El El says:

    This is one of those situations where I had it in my head that I had to read this my freshman year in college but because I have a shitty memory I couldn't actually remember any details so I figured it would be good to re read it now Except I don't think I ever actually read this book We may not even read this in school at all Maybe we read something else by Marge PiercySo it's good I took the time to read this now Just in case I never actually did beforeThe story begins with 30 something year old Connie Ramos living in NY The reader is under the impression early on that she's had some mental health issues in the past but when we first meet her she is living on her own Her niece visits and that's where the real trouble begins Through a short seuence of events that escalated uickly Connie was again confined to a psychiatric hospital against her willBut it's not entirely a story of her time in a psychiatric hospital though that alone is pretty fascinating and eually horrifying The other part of the story is that Connie is able to communicate with the year 2137 She meets Luciente a woman from this future time who takes Connie in spirit anyway to 2137 so she can see their utopic society Connie's time to Luciente is a part of history a reminder of the way things used to be When things were really pretty shittyAs tends to happen in utopic society stories the utopia portion is pretty holier than thou and preachy I understand why that happens in books like these but it's irritating to read anyway Connie herself is difficult to embrace as a character because while these things are happening to her she's still pretty resistant to the idea that Luciente's society in Mattapoisett is all that much better Considering she just got beat up by her niece's boyfriend and tossed in a hospital against her will you would think she would be excited to witness the way a society could be when a lot of those issues are obsoleteAt the same time some of what Luciente had to say was ahead of its time considering the publication date of the mid 70s'Besides I confess I am afraid to eat here It's not true is it the horror stories in our histories? That your food was full of poisonous chemicals nitrites hormone residues DDT hydrocarbons sodium benzoate that you ate food saturated with preservatives?'p54What the fuck would Luciente say about 2016? The shit in our food is worse now than it was when Piercy originally wrote this bookOverall the story is better than a lot of utopians I have read I've mentioned that there's some preachiness here but I would say it's less abrasive than other novels trying to do similar things I was interested in Mattapoisett and their society especially their use of non gendered pronouns Things that matter so much to so many people still today just don't matter to those in Mattapoisett in 2137 and I have to admit that was refreshing to read about nowNINO Nonsense In Nonsense Out It means your theory is no better than your practice or your body than your nutrition Your encyclopedia only produces the information or misinformation fed it p66I want to tattoo NINO on everyone's bodies especially these days when people share things through social media with no concept of whether or not the information is accurate or not It's all one sided drivel everyone has an agenda no one truly wants to know all sides of the story NINOIn Connie's regular life she has a battle of the doctors and nurses at the hospital during a time there were few rules or regulations about how patients should be treated in psychiatric hospitals Things were done to Connie that were difficult for a strong stomached reader as myself to read and on than one occasion I couldn't help but think about that other hospital novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest written in 1962 Not much had improved apparently in the 10 years before Piercy wrote her novelIn addition to the treatment of patients with mental illnesses or perceived mental illnesses Piercy covers a lot of other ground such as the previously mentioned environmentalecological concerns She touched on racism perceptions of stereotypes gender in both timelines etc Again strangely very little has truly changed since 1976 in the treatments of these issues I can't say things have gotten worse but it's in our worlds with prevalence due to the fact that everyone has a camera and social media the blessing and the curse helps move along the stories much uicker than they moved in 1976The point is we can all learn something from Piercy's novel It's a good read but importantly there are important topics being discussed in this book I'm glad to have taken the time to re read or read for the first time if that is in fact the case now My heart broke for Connie as frustrating as she was No one is perfect and I don't expect my fictional characters to be perfect either I wanted her to understand what she was capable of and understand the gift she was receiving to be able to see that changes could be made instead of scoffing at any of it But I do believe Connie grew into that understanding as the story moved along and that's what I really ask forHighly recommended to anyone who likes time travel novels And then share with me your thoughts on whether or not you think Connie did indeed travel through time Fasure

  8. Yona Yona says:

    The book tells the story of a hispanic woman Connie who has the ability to communicate with a group of people from the future The story cuts back and forth between her 1970's life in a mental institution which has nothing to do with her ability to talk to people in the future and the future communityI thought this book spoke well to three broad topics What it meant to be a mental patient in the 70's What the future could be like if we continue to pollute our planet and our bodies with synthetic harmful chemicals What the future could be like if we were intuned to natureThis book is in eual measure a criticism of Piercy's times and a hopeful ision of what our society could be Personally I would love to live in a society where culture is not tied to race where food is grown locally where people discuss their problems person to person until they are resolved and where people learn their entire lives long Some have criticized the book for being dated but I don't think so at all The language was poetic and evocative The characters have remained with me and each one reminds me of someone I knowI have recommended this book to many of my friends so that we can discuss the implications of Piercy's vision of the future

  9. John John says:

    TL;DR I see where others may appreciate the work but the stuff I have listed in my spoiler section killed it for meI want to like this book It’s one of those rare science fiction books that contains many great ideas in action and it represents segments of the population that rarely get a say in the genre After reading a lot of science fiction that panders to white people I felt like this was a great change of pace I was primed to enjoy it to hear new perspectives on distant horizonsWith that in mind I hope that you can understand my reluctance in writing a review that says that I did not—could not—even finish the bookBefore I give my reasons why let me say that I can understand why this book would appeal to so many people Again it represents undervalued voices in science fiction giving life to something other than other than English; other than white brilliant scientists; other than intelligent men; other than swooning intelligent white women; other than perfect black women Clarke’s The Songs of Distant Earth does a good job of putting a few of these in Since Woman on the Edge of Time features a strong Latina woman who dips freuently into Spanish has family problems that crush her life and finds herself in a literally disadvantaged voiceless position I felt like I was going to get to see new vistas Those vistas certainly offer the appeal that I can see other people appreciatingBut they simply do not appeal to me I will tell you why but first I have to say in big bold lettersHERE BE SPOILERSI’ll just list the reasons I couldn’t finish the book Maybe others will come along and argue and tell me to keep going that it gets better Maybe other potential readers will think “I could soldier through that” Maybe someone will find some use from my experience I’ll rate my spoilers from MILD they won’t spoil the plot too much to BIG they are kind of critical MILD The novel lacks a clear plot I know I know some will say “The plot is” but my counter is rather simple The novel did not contain a significant conflict in the first 175 pages about how much I read Connie the main character is put into a psyche ward She is pulled into the future She is not going to be rescued That’s it What is the conflict here that I am supposed to stick around as a reader to find out? Effective narration is conflict withholding resolution and then the payoff of multiple strands coming together to resolve it ie King Lear This has none of those characteristics MILD Tied to the last point I can add this The entire novel seems to be an excuse for the author to put together a utopia that a naïve woman from the 20th century can explore The future stuff has NO weight in the narrative Consuela goes to visit She comes back seemingly unchanged and uncritical of what happened to her She goes back when she gets lonely BIG If the payoff is supposed to be whether or not Connie is insane and simply dreaming these encounters I don’t care enough to stick around and find out Again some readers may find reading about a utopia fun I would too if there were a plot to keep me going along with it If the future scenes were supposed to prime Connie to save humanity because there was some fatal flaw the future folk must reveal then I would care If there was doubt about whether or not these episodes were taking place in her own head then I would care because at least I have a sense of the coming tragedy Instead all we get as readers are funerals naming rituals economy lessons government lessons story telling banuets bicycling androgynous characters with identical personalities drugs breast feeding and lessons on future mental health facilities hint they don’t have prisoners None of this makes me want to stick around as a reader because I just don't care enough to read about characters I can't invest in and who keep simply railroading the only character I DO care about from place to place without giving her anything to do I resented the future folk in other words; I wanted Connie to tell me about herself and to react I wanted her to do something Rather than this tour ride I’d instead enjoy an account of utopia; at least a catalog of its characteristics it is honest BIG The main character doesn’t have critical thinking skills Ever She is told that she is a catcher and a thrower What Does That Mean ? Seriously If I were pulled into a future where I were a holographic projection and if I were told this information my first uestions would be about those roles What do they mean? What are their limits? How do I use them? Instead Consuela doesn’t care Her attitude is simply “I’ve been pulled into the future Great I’ll wander around with this androgynous person and complain about how the future isn’t like the past” She never stops to ask why she has been contacted maybe oncebut she doesn’t push the issue She doesn’t seek to find out what happened to the big cities though they are mentioned She makes an assumption that “the big one has dropped” but never confirms it outrightI need than this to stick it out with an author Again I can appreciate what others see but this isn’t for meI will add one thing This novel reminded me a great deal of The Dispossessed by Le Guin This may also have primed me to not like it as I felt like I was rereading her work to some degreethough Le Guin had a plot to guide the action

  10. Kara Babcock Kara Babcock says:

    I'm ambivalent about this book The best way to describe my reservation with Woman on the Edge of Time is that I was never comfortable suspending my disbelief I tried to make myself willing to go where Marge Piercy was taking me but never uite got there Although the book steadily improved from its chaotic but very dull beginning it never involved me in the way I reuire to get much satisfaction from reading In the end I was reading the book to finish it instead of because I was eager to find out what happened next—I was not invested in the fate of Connie or Luciente Piercy's utopia is intriguing and creative—and therein lies the problem Woman on the Edge of Time is a good example of how one can take a concept in this case a utopian society and overdo the trope to the point where it distracts from the story one is trying to tell Through the uniue interaction of present well the 1970s with a possible future Piercy weaves a story of power and revolution Her protagonist is one of the powerless the poor the oppressed Society is against her Her only hope lies in her ability to envision something potentially betterThere's a difference between having a detailed portrayal of a utopia and an effective one My new gold standard is probably The Dispossessed The key reuirement is that the description of utopia itself doesn't get in the way of storytelling and I'm not convinced that reuirement is met here Authors often take license with the imagined future especially when it is compared with their present Alone any of the various concepts that Piercy injects into the future—conflict between the ecologically aware and the technology crazed sides of society reproduction via bottle babies a sort of non hierarchical representative by lottery democracy the natural evolution of language and dialect—are interesting and a fine basis for a utopia Together they're overwhelming Piercy's utopia is too crowdedIn contrast Connie's present is far too simple a world We're supposed to sympathize with Connie's misfortunes feel shocked at what the doctors at her asylum are doing when it comes to running experiments on patients The explanations that the doctors offer Connie when she protests that she doesn't belong in a mental hospital are always curt snide—it's all very one sided Connie's brother father and niece are all very unhelpful It is almost enough to make the sceptic in me wonder if Connie is in fact far gone than she believes and the whole time travel part of the book is a delusion I'm forced to conclude that's not the case for Piercy never explores this avenue explicitly except for one particular scene that doesn't confirm the delusion hypothesis Connie's visits to the future are for the benefit of inspiring her to alter her presentI am of two minds on this book Ben the Philosopher appreciates what Piercy is trying to do considers her utopia and Connie's plight and contemplates the power struggles and social conflict philosophy underpinning this book Yet Ben the Reader professes no emotion no feeling stirred by the story A book may have the most profound themes ever imagined but if they don't move me I cannot in good conscience commend the book Still I can say of Woman on the Edge of Time that it strives for greatness and only in failing does it find mediocrity Better to strive and fail than just aim low and for that I can recognize a sincere effort if not a satisfactory one

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