Monday, July 30, 2012

Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time

Although I've always thought of Marge Piercy, the author of Woman on the Edge of Time,  as a poet -  she is also a novelist.  This particular book is an odd and interesting novel which came out in 1976, one of a half dozen novels she wrote. According to Wikipedia it's "considered a classic of utopian "speculative" science fiction as well as a feminist classic."  (I picked this up this classic at Newtown's annual blow-out used book sale. It's a great sale!)

Woman on the Edge of Time is sort of a sci-fi tapestry woven with intricate anthropological/futurist twists, inner-landscape psychological-chatmeup, environmental philosophy and humanity.  It's not a quick read but I liked the heroine Consuelo, and felt compelled to keep reading.

Much of the plot occurs in some bleak present time in an insane asylum where regard for human rights is not in evidence and the abuse of the powerless by those with sometimes only a crumb more power, is rampant.  The other half  unfolds in fits and starts in a egalitarian argraian New England village in the far future where men and women are equals and balance in all things is important.

And it is a book that requires thinking as some aspects of the plot are not particularly obvious until you ponder them in retrospect. It's ending was not was I supposed.

And in the end it's hard to tell what really happened.  Did Consuelo save the future with her violent eposode in the present?  Was she railroaded by the power structure of patriarchy or was she really crazy?  I was also left wondering if Piercy meant to say that the end justifies the means.  Was it the 60s declaring war on what came before and perhaps what came after?

 Each reader must decide for themselves.
Woman on the Edige of Time at Google Books
Woman on the Edge of Time - Wikipedia
Woman on the Edge of Time - Amazon