REVIEWS

REVIEWS (cont.)

Women Writing War

Kingstone, Lemmon, Barker, Sebba, and so many women writers throughout the world make the silence surrounding women, especially in war zones, a little less deafening.

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A Soul Turned Inside Out: Clarice Lispector, Hélène Cixous, and L’écriture Féminine

Benjamin Moser’s thorough biography of Clarice Lispector, Why This World, struggles, and wonderfully fails, to bring us closer to the writer he describes as, “weird, mysterious, and difficult, an unknowable mystical genius far above, and outside, the common run of humanity.”

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Our Generalized Amnesia

Inseparable is a magnificent act of textual archeology, an exquisite excavation of literature. Donoghue’s focus is on what has been ignored regarding the theme of love between women.

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Holly Golightly Needs a New Dress

Sam Wasson’s Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman is a little black dress of a book: sleek, suggestive, and elegantly subversive.

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Our Cleopatra Moment

We are in a Cleopatra moment. Three books featuring the notorious Egyptian queen have been published in the past few months of which Cleopatra: A Life by Pulitzer-Prize winning biographer Stacy Schiff is generating bombshell-size buzz.

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Very Like A Sloth

Feminism is very like a sloth; in order to take a step forward, she first takes several steps backward. It seems after a long while in retro mode, feminism may be experiencing one of her periodic advances. This is the heartening message of two feminist political thinkers, one a cartoonist, Nicole Hollander, author of The Sylvia Chronicles: 30 Years of Graphic Misbehavior from Reagan to Obama, the other, Rebecca Traister, a journalist covering politics and gender for Salon, and author of Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women.

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Cordelia Fine, Neurosexism, and My Mother (again)

According to cognitive neuroscientist Cordelia Fine’s explosive new book, Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference, gender bias has potentially worsened by going underground, becoming unconscious and unintended.

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Lisbeth Salander, the Millennium Trilogy, and My Mother

My mother had been urging me to read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. Like her, I love a good thriller but a ways into the first book, I had my doubts. There just wasn’t much thrill in this thriller.

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The Dangerous Emily Dickinson

At the end of Lyndall Gordon’s Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds, the biographer describes the source of the poet’s genius as: “…a hidden life like a ‘Bomb’ in her bosom. The poetry it fueled,” she advises, “must be seen in terms of New England individualism, the Emersonian ethos of self-reliance which in its fullest bloom eludes classification.”

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NARCISSUS ASCENDING by Karen McKinnon

I was in the waiting room of the Florence airport recently, eavesdropping on the cell-phone conversation of a young American woman. My flight was delayed, and although I had the International Herald Tribune and an issue of the New Yorker with me, I listened, riveted, to the entire conversation about the petty slings and arrows of my fellow traveler’s not so outrageous fortune…Reading Karen McKinnon’s first novel, Narcissus Ascending, I was immediately transported back to that sinfully pleasurable voyeuristic space.

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