A Short History of Women by Kate WalbertThe novel opens in England in 1915, at the deathbed of Dorothy Townsend, a suffragist and one of the first women to integrate Cambridge University. Her decision to starve herself for the cause informs and echoes in the later, overlapping narratives of her descendants. Among them are her daughter Evie, who becomes a professor of chemistry at Barnard College in the middle of the century and never marries, and her granddaughter Dorothy Townsend Barrett, who focuses her grief over the loss of her son by repeatedly defying the ban on photographing the bodies of dead soldiers returned to Dover Air Force base from Iraq. The contemporary chapters chronicle Dorothy Barretts girls, both young professionals embarrassed by their mothers activism and baffled when she leaves their father after fifty years of marriage.
Walbert deftly explores the ways in which successive generations of women have attempted to articulate what the nineteenth century called the woman question. Her novel is a moving reflection on the tides of history, and how the lives of our great-grandmothers resonate in our own.
A Brief History of Women
Kate Walbert on A Short History of Women
What a treasure it would be to have a book that provided through brilliant character portrayal a bridge from Virginia Woolf's London to the subsequent waves of feminist thought and experience in the U. Reading, I felt unsatisfied, and by the end I wondered at the reviewer's taste. The book's clever structure dominates rather than supports the story. The writer's presence thus becomes unw. The writer's presence thus becomes unwelcomely apparent. For the most part, the reader's access to the characters depends on brief and therefore somehow shallow episodes. Real participation has no time to develop.
Nearly everything about Kate Walbert's new novel is wickedly smart, starting with the title: “A Short History of Women.” Does it connote modesty.
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By Eryn Loeb Thu Jun 18 But the author was getting stuck. Walbert meant for the short story to be just a temporary diversion, but it soon became part of the novel itself. The book that binds them together, A Short History of Women, is an elegant, ambitious exploration of how the choices and circumstances of earlier generations resonate for their descendants, specifically for the women of one family over a period of years. In chapters that jump from one era to another and studiously avoid chronology, the orphaned Evelyn matriculates at Barnard College and grows up to become a well-regarded chemistry professor.
Thank you! Five generations of willful, restless women struggle to find an identity beyond that of wife and mother. Dorothy Trevor Townsend bequeathes one heck of a legacy when she dies at age 34 in The British suffragette starves herself to death as an act of civil disobedience, leaving behind two fatherless children and a married lover. Her act is doubly shocking, occurring as it does during the carnage of World War I. Daughter Evelyn endures wartime deprivations at boarding school before finding her way to America as well. She becomes a well-known chemistry professor at Barnard, eschewing traditional attachments and family life.