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The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore.

July 20, 2014

The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore.  Random House. Available October 2014.

A fascinating history of the creation of the Wonder Woman comic strip, its creator, and its beginnings in the radical feminist world of early twentieth century.

Jill Lepore is an accomplished historian specializing in eighteenth century America. With regular articles in The New Yorker and books accessible to a general audience, she has an exceptional ability to write history for those outside the academic establishment. Best of all, she obviously enjoys discovering interesting tidbits of the past, especially when they concern Harvard, where she teaches. Recently I read and enjoyed her impressive biography of Ben Franklin’s sister, Book of Ages. (See my review.) In her newest book she applies her historians’ skills to the popular comic strip, Wonder Woman, its eccentric creator William Moulton Marston, and the way in which the comic strip reveals a link between the feminism of the early twentieth century and the feminism that surfaced in the 1960s and 1970s.

The major character in The Secret History of Wonder Woman is the comic stripe’s creator, William Marston, a bright and multifaceted young man who attended Harvard, earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees there, as well as his law degree and a Ph.D. in the new discipline of Psychology. While at Harvard he was exposed to the militant feminism emerging in the United States which followed the example of Ernestine Pankhurst and the English suffragists. Sadie Elizabeth Hollowell, his strong, outspoken girlfriend, and later wife, was attending Mount Holyoke and shared her devotion to women’s equality with him. While still an undergraduate, Marston was involved in Harvard’s psychological laboratory’s attempts to create a device that could accurately prove if a person was telling the truth. He went on to perfect and promote an early lie-detector, but he failed to succeed in his efforts to earn money from his device, or to begin a business or to climb the academic ladder.

Marston and those around him constantly told lies, in part to keep his unconventional household secret. In addition to his wife, Marston brought home Marjorie Humpery, a woman with whom he was sexually involved. Over the years she stayed with the couple for long periods of time. In addition, when he was teaching at Tufts, Marston became involved with a student, Olive Byrne,who joined his household permanently. She was the daughter of Margaret Sanger’s more radical sister. For much of the 1920s and 1930s, Marston’s wife supported the family with editorial and administrative jobs while Byrne kept house and raised the children, two of her own and two of his wife’s, all sired by Marston.

Marston’s household was full of discussion of birth control and other ideas espoused by the new feminism. Lepore traces the ways in which younger women rejected the ideals and images of sacrificial motherhood which characterized the older women’s rights movement. They focused instead on individualism and pleasure for women. Although often little known and over-looked, these women laid the ground work for the feminism that emerged in the mid to late twentieth century. Lepore argues that instead of having had two “waves” of advocacy for women in the United States, feminism has been a river with Wonder Woman and those around her creation linking the years between the 1920s and the 1960s.

Although Marston welcomed the images of the New Woman being advocated by the feminists, he ran his household as something of an old-fashioned dictator. He believed, like the women’s rights advocates of the last century, that women were superior to men, stronger and “better” in every way. He also believed that women enjoyed being dominated. In fact for him, their enjoyment of domination was essential if the world was ever to know peace.

When comic books were an instant success in the 1930s, Marston was intrigued. In 1941, just as his nation entered World War II, Marston grabbed the opportunity to publish Wonder Woman comics, featuring a strong woman from Amazonia, a woman comparable to Superman and Spider Man. In it he drew on earlier utopian feminist novels by Charlotte Gilman and Inez Hayes. His character, however, was beautiful and scantily clothed. In his comic, Wonder Woman and the other women were regularly tied and bonded, to the dismay of Marston’s critics.   The public at large loved the comic and it became an icon of the period.  (I am currently reading a novel about life in New York city during World War II in which the little girl loves Wonder Woman.)    By the mid-1940s, however, Marston was ill and dying.  Those who took over the series took away Wonder Woman’s strength and made her subservient to men. When feminism reappeared in the 1960s and 1970s, Wonder Woman had a brief revival. While popular she never reached her former stature.

My summary hardly does justice to all the stories that Lepore has interwoven into her account. I highly recommend the book to all who are interested in the curious mix of information The Secret History of Wonder Woman provides. Lepore writes excellent popular history and provides useful insight into twentieth feminism.

Available October 2014.

 

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Surviving Peace, by Olivia Simic.

July 16, 2014

Surviving Peace: A Political Memoir, by Olivera Simic.  Spinifex Press (2014), Paperback, 188 pages.

AUSTRALIAN WOMEN WRITERS

A powerful account by a woman from the former Yugoslavia of the long-term impact of the Bosnian War of the 1990s on her personally and on her people.

In telling her own story and the stories of others about the Bosnian War, Olivera Simic advocates for peace. She believes that war can never be an effective response to violence. Not only are human beings killed and maimed during the war itself, but the social and personal destruction continues after the fighting stops. “Surviving the peace” can be as difficult as war itself, as she shows us in this book.  Calling her book a “political memoir,” Simic is not writing about politics but raising issues about the impact of the public, political actions such as wars have on private lives.

Simic grew up in Banja Luka, a large town in Yugoslavia, governed by the Communist leader, Tito. Whatever problems people had under Communism, the country was peaceful, health care and education were available, and ethnic identities were absorbed in communal national identity. Until after Tito died in 1980, she was not aware that she was Serbian or that her close friends belonged to other groups. When war broke out in 1992, she was nineteen. Then ethnicity became a matter of life and death; friends left to avoid the ethnic cleansing. Simic attended law school in Serbia and endured the NATO bombings there. Although she did not identify with the Serbian cause, her name defined her as a Serb. After the war ended in 1999, she studied in London and Costa Rica, but she was unable to find work when she returned to her home country. Now teaching in law school in Australia and working to advocate for human rights, she has written this book as an exploration of what happens to victims and survivors of war. Hers is not a chronological narrative, but a mix of her personal story with more general analysis of what war destroys.

The signing of the peace treaty ending the war in Bosnia left the region divided and suffering. The war tore apart multi-ethnic communities of people and forced them to accept new identities based only on their ethnicity. As Simic makes clear, such division is simplistic and destructive. To divide a region that has been one nation into states defined by ethnicity sharpens the hatred among them. Ethnicity is only one aspect of who a person is. We need to see each other as multi-faceted and to understand the universal humanity that runs through us all.  Qurratulain Hyder tells the same story in her fine novel, My Temples, Too, about the Partition of India and Pakistan.

Simic challenges the claim that Yugoslavia and the Balkans have been involved in constant warfare as a myth devised by the international community. While the region has experienced a series of wars, at a daily level, ordinary people from the different ethnic groups had learned to live with each other, marrying and being friends. One of the most insightful sections of the book was about how languages of the various ethnicities had blended in Yugoslavia into an inclusive Serbo-Croatian speech. After the country was divided, each has sought to “purify” its language of words that originated with other ethnicities.

Another issue that Simic discusses is the way in which each ethnic group has its own version of truth about what has happened in the region. Her father seldom sees or hears anyone but other Serbians. In his isolation, he is convinced that only the Serbs have suffered and he denies major historical facts such as the Serbian massacre of Bosnians at Srebrennica. All her family disapprove of Simic’s professional interests in such complex questions as why the Serbians committed atrocities allegedly in defense of women like herself. Facing the shared reality of what happened is, for Simic, an essential part of healing from the war. We cannot escape the past by denying its reality.

While Simic now lives in Australia, she returns to the former Yugoslavia on yearly visits to her parents and friends. She reports on the desperate conditions that now exist there. The economy is in dire straits and about half the population is unemployed. Even her friends who trained as professionals are grateful for temporary, low paying work. Hopelessness is wide-spread. People who remained are often full of anger. Those like herself who left and lived as exiles had no sense of belonging anywhere.

For me, the most moving parts of Simic’s book are those which focus on her own post-traumatic stress syndrome. Although her symptoms were classic, she struggled to ignore them; it was difficult to even admit that she had suffered from her experience in the war zone. She believed that PTSD was only for combatants and discounted her own pain as minor. Finally she broke down and began the process of learning to deal with the intrusions of the past into her present life. Dealing with PTSD is an ongoing process in her life, as it is in lives of many survivors of tragic situations. Only within the context of her PTSD is she able to write about the 78 days and nights of NATO bombing of her city.

I was impressed with Simic, and although I have not lived through the same trauma of war in my country, I agree with her assessment of its over-looked costs. We need people like her to make us face what we would like to forget. I also appreciated her insistence on blending the “objectivity” of academia with her own emotional response to what happened. She is not primarily concerned with the battlefield, but with the women whose lives war interrupted. As she points out, war, like so much else in life affects people differently depending on our gender.

Living in a country that fights only in other people’s lands, I had never read about war invading women’s lives until I started to read more globally. I am grateful for the authors who have expanded my understanding. See below.  Yvonne at Stumblingpast has just posted a wonderful piece about “War and Gender” that expands some of the points that Simic makes. Check it out.

While this is an important book that should be widely read, it has flaws. In her generalizations about the impact of war, Simic is sometimes unclear and repetitive. I wished she had included more about her own research, especially about what can be done to mitigate the social and personal problems. The listing of her other publications in the bibliography indicates that she has considered such issues. Adding her findings about what can be done would have strengthened the book and made it less grim.

I have only presented a sampling of Simic’s observations and experiences. You need to read it to gain her full picture. I strongly recommend you do.

Thanks to Spinifex Press for sending me a copy of Surviving the Peace to review.

 

Here are a few books that have also taught me about women living in war zone.  See my reviews.

My Temples, Too, by Qurratulain Hyder.

Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

A Golden Age: A Novel, by Tahmima Anam.

Memory of Love, by Aminatta Forma.

 

July’s People, by Nadine Gordimer.

July 13, 2014

July’s People, by Nadine Gordimer.  Penguin Books (1982), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 176 pages.

AFRICA READING

A brilliant novel about a white South African family, forced to leave Johannesburg because of the violence against whites, and their former servant who has rescued them and taken them to his village.

Noble Prize-winner Nadine Gordimer is a South African writer who lived through apartheid and its violent ending. In this novel she explores the psychological changes to both blacks and whites when those who were powerful become totally dependent and those who have been powerless suddenly hold life-and-death influence over their former masters. This subtly political novel is not about ideology or revenge, but about how gaining or losing power and privilege affects us as human beings. More personally, Gordimer is looking at the question of where white liberals like herself fit into the new order. As power continues to shift in the post-colonial world, this is an important question for white liberals like myself to consider.

SPOILERS: Sorry, but I can’t discuss this book with addressing its ending.

For fifteen years, July had been the servant of a prosperous, white family living in the suburbs of Johannesburg. When black rebels attacked the city, he saved their lives by taking them to hide in his own village. The novel opens with July bringing them breakfast tea, “as his kind had always done for their kind.” But the familiarity of that act underlines the immense physical and psychological changes that have taken place. The children adapted first, swept up in the waves of children who roamed the village. The new reality of village life is worse for the adults on whom the novel centers. Maureen realizes what is happening:
She was in another time, place, consciousness; it pressed in upon and filled her as someone’s breathe fills a balloon shape. She was already not what she was. No fiction could compare with what she was finding she didn’t know, could not have imagined or discovered through imagination.

The sheer physical deprivation of life in the village was overwhelming to both Maureen and Bam. As Gordimer vividly describes, there was no privacy, no ways to keep clean, and dull repetitive food, but the psychological shifts were even more dramatic. The total dependence on the villagers was also disorienting. They had no point of reference for what was happening to them.

Bam and Maureen also changed in how they related with each other. Sexual desire between them had ended and they no longer made love. “Lack of privacy killed desire–if there had been any to feel.” But the rift between them went deeper. “Back there” they had pulled together when trouble threatened. Now Bam had no idea of what Maureen might say or do. She had been raised to be dependent on men and when she saw her husband as helpless, she distanced herself, still wanting him to be the refuge and protector he had been in the past. Briefly she longed “to go over to the man and sink against, embrace him, touch someone recalled, not the one who persisted in his name, occasionally supplying meat, catching fish for the people.”

July’s People is not simply about how the whites respond to change, but also about July and the people of the village. It is never easy to write about those who are outside one’s own frame of references, but Gordimer had been attentive and respectful enough to listen to how black Africans thought and felt before she wrote about them. She is able to skillfully reveal the differences between the mask that July presented as a servant and the person he became once that mask was removed. He went from being polite, accommodating, and servile to showing himself as a village leader. He no longer carried his passbook, but he didn’t dare throw it away. Although he continued to bring them food and fuel, his attitude toward them changed. He made clear in little ways that he was now the one in control. He took the keys to the vehicle in which the group escaped and went off to get supplies without telling his former masters. When Bam’s gun disappeared, he refused to try to find who took it.

July’s wife and mother were polite to Maureen, but they did not befriend her. Instead, they complained to July that the whites could not be as helpless as they seem and that it was dangerous to hide them in their midst. They viewed Maureen as particularly clueless. She had to be taught “the difference between a plant that even a cow knew better than to chew, and the leaves that would make her children strong.”

As Maureen became increasingly desperate, she tried to approach July and create a sexual bond between them. July wanted none of her attention and responded with
the stored-up bitterness of having done her bidding for years.
How was she to have known, until she came here, that the special consideration she had shown for his dignity as a man, while he was by definition a servant, would become his humiliation itself, the one thing there was to say between them that had any meaning.

The book ends with Maureen running away. A helicopter could be heard landing near the village and, although she had no knowledge of whom it contains, she ran toward it.
She runs: trusting herself with all the suppressed trust of a lifetime, alert, like a solitary animal at the season when animals neither seek a mate nor take care of young, existing only for their own survival, the enemy of all that would make claims of responsibility. She can hear the beat, beyond those trees, and those, and she runs toward it. She runs.

Gordimer’s prose is dense and full of detail. As much as I loved July’s People, I was sometimes unable to follow what was happening. Perhaps Gordimer was intentionally creating a mood of confusion and uncertainty in her writing. In response, I turned to literary criticism of the book. One of the articles I found was Nancy Topping Bazin’s “White Women, Black Revolutionaries.” In it she discussed the ways in which gender and sex are interwoven with politics and power in this book. Having read Gordimer’s letters, she is able to fill in some of her intention in ending the novel as she did. When a film producer was revising the book to make it into a movie, he pushed her create an ending that would be clearer to audiences. Her response was to show Maureen as hoping that the helicopter contained black rebels and that they would accept her.

As Bazin shows from Gordimer’s letters, the author disdainfully rejected the idea of writing a “feminist” narrative. Maureen did not find internal strength to survive alone or to become friends with the village women. She went from dependency on her husband and then on July to the hope that the helicopter would be “manned” with yet another individual or group who would take care of her. A novel as complex as this one may be interpreted from a variety of perspectives, but I found Bazin’s analysis helpful and valid.

I recommend this fine novel to other readers, especially those interested in colonial and post-colonial issues. If her other novels are as impressive as this one, I see why she was awarded the Noble Prize. I also understand why Kinna @ Kinnareads included it as the only novel by a white writer on her list of most important African women’s books.  This is an important book for all of us to read as we try to understand each other across the colonial/post-colonial divide.

Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night, by Barbara Taylor

July 11, 2014

Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night, by Barbara J. Taylor.   Akashi Press: Kaylie Jones Books (2014), Paperback, 256 pages

A melodramatic novel about a family in a coal-mining town, struggling to recover from the death of one of its daughters.

Set in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the early 1900s, this novel traces a Welch coal-mining family seeking to come to terms with the death of their nine-year-old daughter, Daisy. The father turns to drink and leaves the family. The mother withdraws into the company of Grief, a seductive man, invisible to all but her, who encourages her self-pity. Rose, a year younger than her dead sister, blames herself for everything that goes wrong. Flashbacks to events before the girl’s death and incidents surrounding the tragedy slowly illuminate what happened and explain the characters’ reactions to it. A massive snowstorm and an evangelical preacher sweep the story to its climax.

Barbara J. Taylor is a resident of Scranton. She grew up in the town and now teaches school there. Her love of the place and its people give the book a somewhat nostalgic tone, despite the tragedies related in the story. While she accurately describes the enormous risks of coal mining, the community itself seems unusually comfortable and secure. None of the gritty poverty that was typical of such places ever appears. No one ever worries about being hungry. Ethnic divisions are present, but appear to be relatively harmless. The activities of the church goers are mildly amusing, but never vital to the main characters. The death of a loved one and the ongoing risks of coal mining are chilling and real, but overall the town appears as smugly middle-class.

Other readers will probably like this book more than I did.  I prefer books with less nostalgia and more literary merit.

Swallow the Air, by Tara June Winch.

July 9, 2014

Swallow the Air, by Tara June Winch.  University of Queensland Pr (Australia) (2006), Hardcover, 201 pages.

AUSTRALIAN WOMEN WRITERS

INDIGENOUS WRITERS WEEK

A bittersweet story by an Australian Indigenous woman, about a girl who loses her family and searches for her place in the world.

This fine novel consists of a cluster of short incidents from the childhood and teenage years of May Gibson, the Indigenous girl who is its narrator. Her father, more dreamed about than real, had left the family in poverty when she was small. She retained strong love for her mother, an Indigenous woman whose stories warmed her children’s hearts. But “Mum” had been so abused by her violent husband she had lost her will to live.

I remember now, my mother had been a beaten person. She wouldn’t scream at his fist, she wasn’t the kind to fight his torments. She bottled all the years, too; until one day all those silent screams and tears came at once. And with such force they took her away. The screams must have been so deafening, the river of tears so overflowing that the current could only steal her away. The flood breaking so high, that she had to leave us behind. We couldn’t swim either.

May and her beloved brother went to live with their aunt, a loving woman, but one vulnerable to her bottle and to abusive men. “She held her booze like a butcher’s knife, cleaving off each part of her self.” The children played in the sea and celebrated small victories, but were hemmed in by poverty and the reality of their black skin. Her brother left when she was 15, and May wandered into the slums of Sydney where she became part of an urban “mob.” She explored the city and made a few close friends, but a surrogate mother convinced her that she needed to leave before she was destroyed as so many others had been. “I knew that I had to get out of the city, get out of the boxes they put you in.” May sets out on a journey to find her mother’s people, but the novel ends with an unexpected and satisfying twist.

Tara Winch is a fine writer. Her prose is rich and descriptive, full of evocative landscapes. Her sentences have bite and power. At times her writing is close to poetry, with poetry’s lack of concern for ordinary grammar. Dreams and nightmares blur into the concrete reality of her narrative. A few explicit Indigenous words are included, but the book is never hard to read.  In the hands of some writers, the plot line of the novel could be grim, but never in those of someone as attuned to beauty as Winch.  She gives May fleeting times of joy, with her beloved brother, her dysfunctional aunt, the African man at the car wash, and other loving individuals she encounters.  In some sense, this is a coming of age story, but not one about sexuality. 

While there is no indication that this book is autobiographical, Winch is able to takes readers inside the life of a character who is caught on one of the paths in which Indigenous people often, but not always, find themselves.  However, Winch, like May, was born in Woologong, and is of English, Afghan, and Wiradjuri ancestry.  She seems to understand the current conditions of Indigenous life and to be able to write from an Indigenous perspective.   At the same time she has created a story that resonates with all of us who have ever wanted to belong somewhere. In doing so, Winch  has written story which is both specific and universal.  For me, such narratives are essential to good literature.  May is a whole person, never reduce to her ethnicity.

I strongly recommend Swallow the Air to those interested in the variety of Indigenous Australian life and to all who enjoy a well-written story.

On Black Sister Street, by Chika Unigwe.

July 8, 2014

On Black Sister Street, by Chika Unigwe.  Random House (2011), Hardcover, 272 pages.

AFRICA READING

GLOBAL WOMEN OF COLOR

A compassionate novel about four Nigerian women working as prostitutes in Belgium and the situations that led them into that life.

Prostitution is humiliating, grim, and exploitive, but the actual women engaging in it are not dull passive victims. In this novel by a Nigerian woman they are shown as unique individuals caught in situations that seem hopeless, ready to grab at an alternative that seems to offer a path to a better life for themselves and others. Sisi, the major character in the book, has a college degree but is unable to find a job in Lagos. Efe is an unwed mother unable to support her child. Ama grew up in a strictly Christian family where she was regularly raped by her stepfather. She escaped his control, but got caught in a dead-end job. Joyce was actually a Sudanese whose family had been killed in the violence there. She had been sent to a refugee camp where she met and fell in love with a Nigerian peacekeeper. He took her home with him, but when his family refused to let him marry her, he sent her abroad to be a prostitute. The four women share an apartment, and when tragedy strikes they share their stories with each other.

In recent years feminists have argued about prostitution. Some have claimed that it is so damaging to women, both those involved in it and women at large, that it should be banned. While Unigwe certainly shows how abusive the practice is, her book offers little evidence that legal measures could be affective in stopping it. The wealthy Nigerian man who runs the prostitution ring that ensnares the women is already acting beyond the law in transporting them to Belgium. He and his employees bribe the police with impunity. Part of the horror of the women’s situation is the rigid control and extra-legal violence with which they are held captive by men.  But to claim that prostitution is a viable choice for women seeking empowerment, as some have done, also seems far-fetched. The four women in the novel have chosen or accepted prostitution, but only because they see no other alternatives. Unigwe tells us that three of the four women are eventually able to pay off their enormous debts, save money, and free themselves from prostitution. What happens to the other woman provides the suspense in the novel.

Chika Unigwe was herself born in Nigeria and later moved to Belgium. She has a Ph.D. from a Belgian university and writes in various formats in both Dutch and English. Her vigorous prose conveys the pain and ambivalence of women whose voices are seldom heard. She allows her subjects to regain a bit of their dignity. On Black Sister Street deals with women’s pain, but Unigwe’s warmth towards her characters keeps the book from being overly depressive.

At times, Unigwe’s book reminded me of Hope and Other Dangerous Illusions, by Laila Lalami, with its clear portrayal of why individuals take the enormous risks of illegal immigration. One of Lalami’s characters is also a prostitute. Both these books support the view that there is no easy legal fix for prostitution.  Its end can come only when all women and men have reasonable hope for living fulfilling lives.

Challenges, 2014

July 6, 2014

CHALLENGES, 2014

Half way through the year seems a good time for me to update what I have read for Challenges and to share my results with other bloggers.  So far I have read a dozen books for each of the regions where I have signed up.  I still have others I hope to read.  I expect the rest of you to add more books that I will decide to read.

This page is permanently available from my blog.

Books are linked to my reviews of them.  I will link the others as I post reviews.   Other books from each region can be found on my book lists for challenges in previous years.

Starred items are ones that are my favorites.

AFRICAN CHALLENGE, 2014

1.  Dilemma of a Ghost and Adwona, Ama Ata Aidoo.

2. *Distant View of a Minaret, Alifa Rifaat.

3.  Daughters who Walk the Path, Yejide Kilanko.

4.  In Dependence, Sarah Ladipo Manyika.

5. *Ancestor Stones, by Aminatta Forna.

6 *The Moor’s Account, by Laila Lalami.

7. *Kehinde, Buchi Emecheta.

8. *Zenzele A letter for My Daughter, by J. Nozipo Maraire.

9.  Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, Laila Lalami.

10.Tropical Fish: Tales from Entebbe,by Doreen Baingana.

11. On Black Sisters Street, by Chika Unigwe.

12. July’s People by Nadine Gordimer.

 

Plan to read:

H Infidel,  by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Women are Different,  Flora Nwapa.

H Woman at Point Zero, by Nawal El Saadawi.

H Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

H Mother to Mother, by Sindiwe Magona.

 

Other possibilities:

No Sweetness Here and Other Stories, Ama Ata Aidoo.

Neighbours,  Lília Momplé.

Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night,  Sindiwe Magona.

AUSTRALIAN WOMEN WRITERS, 2014

1. *Rose Grower, Michelle de Krester.

2.  Love Like Water, Meme McDonald.  Indigenous content.

3.  A Handwritten Modern Classic, Fiona Moorhead

4.  Misogyny Re-loaded, Abigail Bray. 

5. *Mullumbimby, Melissa Lucashenko.  Indigenous author.

6. *Curious Intimacy, Jessica White.

7.  Listening to Country, Ros Morriety.  Indigenous content.

8.  The Coral Battlefield, Judith Wright.

9. *Letters to the End of Love, Yvette Walker.

10. A Change of Skies. Yasmine Gooneratne.

11. My Beautiful Enemy, Cory Taylor .

12. Amy‘s Children, Olga Masters.

 

Plan to Read:

H   Mud Map: Australian Women’s Experimental Writing.  Text Journal Special Issue 17

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, Clare Wright.  [Barnes and Noble ebook]

Swallow the Air, by Tara June Winch.

 

Possibilties:

Kitty’s War  by Janet Butler. [Barnes and Noble]

Toyo, Lily Chan.  [AMZ]

The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane.

 

 

SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN WRITERS

 1.  The Rose Grower, Michelle de Krester.

2.  Ladies Coupe, by Anita Nair.

3. *The Space between Us, Thrity Umrigar.

4.  Pink Sari RevolutionAmana Fontanella-Khan.

5.  A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Mahrani of Jaiper, Gayatri Devi.

6.  A Different Sky, Meira Chand.

7. A Far Horizon, Meira Chand.

8. *The Tutor of History, Manjushree Thapa

9. *The Story Hour, Thrity Umrigar.

10. Twelve Wife, by Indu Sundaresan.

11.*My Temples, Too, Qurratulain Hyder.

12. A Change of Skies.  Yasmine Gooneratne.

(Women of the Raj, Margaret Macmillan.   History by a British/Canadain woman.)

 

Plan to read:

H Leila’s Book, Alice Albinia.

H In Time of Siege, Githa Hariharan,

H The Weight of Heaven, Thrity Umigar

H River of Fire, Qurratulain Hyder.

 

Other possibilities:

New South Asian Feminisms, by Srila Roy (Editor)

The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India, Urvashi Butalia. [Elen]

Breast Stories, Mahasweta Devi.  [Elen] 

 

 

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