Read Longings Of Women by Marge Piercy Free Online
Book Title: Longings Of Women|
The author of the book: Marge Piercy
ISBN 13: 9781570420443
Edition: Time Warner AudioBooks
Date of issue: March 1st 1994
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 27.54 MB
City - Country: No data
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Reader ratings: 5.7
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Is it possible to like a book when the characters are almost uniformly unpleasant and the writing style can be irritating? Yes! This was a very disorienting book for me, yet I read it compulsively. If there is a category for "feminist soap opera", this title would be in it.
The plot revolves around the lives of 3 women from different generations and social classes whose lives intersect in crisis. Mary is an aging divorcee, formerly part of the more affluent middle class, but thrown into poverty and, eventually, homelessness when her husband leaves her and her children erase her from their lives. Leila is a middle aged professional woman (an academic at a Boston area college) who is in the midst of her own divorce from her chronically unfaithful spouse, Nick. Becky is a younger woman (mid twenties) who has clawed her way out of the working class through hard work and study and. later, through marriage. When Becky's marriage to solidly middle class Terry begins to falter she is thrown into panic at the thought of losing everything she has worked so hard to acquire.
Like so much of what I read in my one Women's Studies course in college, in this world men suck. They are all portrayed as losers...or selfish wankers...or brutal...or stupid...or ineffective. Certainly many men do fit the descriptions of the guys in this book. A few prizes exemplify almost all the crap qualities depicted in Piercy's male characters in one big hunk of human garbage. But it has always struck me as very unbelievable when an author portrays a world where 98% of one gender is beyond redemption. What saved this book for me was that, by and large, the female characters were equally awful..
Leila was the central character and, I believe, she was supposed to be the person the reader would sympathize with and relate to in point of view. Leila had some good qualities...she tried to hold her family together and she was a responsible professional woman. But, oh! The yuppie angst! The naval gazing! The boomeresque self-involvement spun as enlightenment. Leila would go on for paragraphs about how much weight she would shoulder for others...and how much the people around her expected/demanded...and how painfully difficult it is to be "the strong one, the stable one." Lord, don''t I know it, lady. But shut up already! Either be the stable one and help your friends or tell them to back off and give you some "me time"! But don't bludgeon us all over the head with how wonderful you are, while giving off the scent of resentment with each do-gooding act you perform.
Becky was portrayed in the fashion my despised Generation X is often characterized by older writers. Becky comes off as a slick materialist...clever and "sharp" more then bright and "intellectual" and ruthless in her ambitions to gain fame and the good life. The persona of Becky is allowed some of the reader's compassion, however, when her back story is revealed -- a hardscrabble childhood in an over crowded and dirty home with the usual downtrodden-but-kindly ethnic parents.
Mary was the most interesting and admirable character, in my estimation. She exemplifies the biggest horror story in America...the unacknowledged concept that is very possible to become downwardly mobile to the point of falling out of the middle class and into abject poverty, through a small series of unfortunate events beyond one's control (especially if you are female.) We just don't believe anyone ever falls down in our society...unless they "make bad decisions" (drugs, booze, being unfortunate enough to pick the wrong spouse at age 22). Mary's character refutes that delusion and offers the reader a nice hot cup of dismal reality.
This book was like a good Woody Allen movie. The characters are neurotic and horrid people. Listening to people like Leila and Nick converse with one another makes you want to withdraw permanently from the human race and embrace misanthropy rather than endure anymore psychobabbling ME-isms disguised as "insight". Yet you watch (and read). You are mesmerized and compelled. And the plot is good! You want to know how it ends. It all ties together. And each chapter leaves you ready for more drama. If you are not such a snob that you cannot admit that a good ol' women-driven soap plot is, at it's best, a wildly entertaining thing, you can admit that this story was a very readable page turner from soup to nuts.
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Read information about the authorMarge Piercy (born March 31, 1936) is an American poet, novelist, and social activist. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers, a sweeping historical novel set during World War II.
Piercy 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 Hopwood Award for Poetry and Fiction (1957) enabled her to finish college and spend some time in France, and her formal schooling ended with an M.A. from Northwestern University. Her first book of poems, Breaking Camp, was published in 1968.
An indifferent student in her early years, Piercy developed a love of books when she came down with rheumatic fever in her mid-childhood and could do little but read. "It taught me that there's a different world there, that there were all these horizons that were quite different from what I could see," she said in a 1984 interview.
As of 2013, she is author of seventeen volumes of poems, among them The Moon is Always Female (1980, considered a feminist classic) and The Art of Blessing the Day (1999), as well as fifteen novels, one play (The Last White Class, co-authored with her third and current husband Ira Wood), one collection of essays (Parti-colored Blocks for a Quilt), one non-fiction book, and one memoir.
Her novels and poetry often focus on feminist or social concerns, although her settings vary. While Body of Glass (published in the US as He, She and It) is a science fiction novel that won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, City of Darkness, City of Light is set during the French Revolution. Other of her novels, such as Summer People and The Longings of Women are set during the modern day. All of her books share a focus on women's lives.
Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) mixes a time travel story with issues of social justice, feminism, and the treatment of the mentally ill. This novel is considered a classic of utopian "speculative" science fiction as well as a feminist classic. William Gibson has credited Woman on the Edge of Time as the birthplace of Cyberpunk. Piercy tells this in an introduction to Body of Glass. Body of Glass (He, She and It) (1991) postulates an environmentally ruined world dominated by sprawling mega-cities and a futuristic version of the Internet, through which Piercy weaves elements of Jewish mysticism and the legend of the Golem, although a key story element is the main character's attempts to regain custody of her young son.
Many of Piercy's novels tell their stories from the viewpoints of multiple characters, often including a first-person voice among numerous third-person narratives. Her World War II historical novel, Gone To Soldiers (1987) follows the lives of nine major characters in the United States, Europe and Asia. The first-person account in Gone To Soldiers is the diary of French teenager Jacqueline Levy-Monot, who is also followed in a third-person account after her capture by the Nazis.
Piercy's poetry tends to be highly personal free verse and often addresses the same concern with feminist and social issues. Her work shows commitment to the dream of social change (what she might call, in Judaic terms, tikkun olam, or the repair of the world), rooted in story, the wheel of the Jewish year, and a range of landscapes and settings.
She lives in Wellfleet on Cape Cod, Massachusetts with her husband, Ira Wood.
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