Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
By Natasja Hellenthal
After being unjustly committed to a mental institution, Connie Ramos is contacted by an envoy from the year 2137, who shows her a utopian future of sexual and racial equality and environmental harmony.
But Connie also bears witness to another potential outcome: a dystopian society of grotesque exploitation. One will become our world. And Connie herself may strike the decisive blow…
To celebrate International Women’s Day I have chosen to write about one of my favourite books! Despite it being a classic book from the 70s it still is relevant today and can be enjoyed by many. I tend to re-read it from time to time, because no matter what era we live in, it has a lot to offer, more so now than ever. It is by no means dated, but brilliant and a call to action without becoming preachy. It might change your perspective on life forever!
Though classified as speculative or utopian it has several layers of truth and interesting ideas and is above all very human. It tends to reflect the social revolution that just started then and is based on history.
The main character, Connie, lives in New York and all of her female friends live in their own personal hell oppressed by the men in their lives. Connie also has an abusive family who imprisons her in a mental hospital, but she is far from insane, despite the fact she finds out she can time-travel! The beginning is a bit dark, but it will get better, trust me! The prospect of time-travel alone in the blurb kept me reading this book, so that made up for the things that happened in the mental hospital, though historically correct.
Connie is having hallucinations – in the form of a character from a future Utopia, Luciente. Luciente allows Connie to travel to her time – a future world where small communes co-exist peacefully with nature, rather than using and abusing it. In Luciente’s Utopia, there is a perfect marriage between a traditional American-Indian lifestyle alongside technology (they have wrist-worn “kenners”, a device people cannot live without; eerily close to the smartphones of today), where humanity has taken control of its own breeding alongside a non-exploitative agricultural system. Gender inequality is unknown – men may be nurturers and women, fearless. But is this truly a perfect world, and how free is this possible future really?
All in all, this is a multifaceted story that can be read almost as if it is really happening, you get so invested in the character’s lives, and as a metaphor for some of the issues, the world and society are facing. Marge Piercy is a visionary and exceptional author. The writing is descriptive and colourful and you really feel like you’re in the mind of Connie.
This book is one not to be missed and should be read by all, you’ll never be the same!
Or maybe you’ve already read this book? What did you think?
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