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Mercy: A Novel

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  101 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
If Andrea Dworkin is the Malcolm X of feminism, then this novel is her version of his autobiography. . . . She is brilliant, her anger is a polished and dangerous instrument, and even some of the people she's marked as enemies can hope she finds her way. –– Madison Smartt Bell, Chicago Tribune
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 1993 by Thunder's Mouth Press (first published 1990)
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"...each day I sit down in purposeful concentration to write in a notebook, some sentences on a buried truth, an unnamed reality, things that happened but are denied. It is hard to describe the stillness it takes, the difficulty of this act. It requires an almost perfect concentration which I am trying to learn and there is no way to learn it that is spelled out anywhere or so I can understand it but I have a sense that it's completely simply, on the order of being able to sit still and keep you ...more
Sep 29, 2007 Irene rated it really liked it
This book leaves me feeling like scorched female earth. I wish it weren't all true.
I did not enjoy reading this book, to be honest. However I am thankful that I read it. It definitely “expanded my horizons” and not in a clichéd way. The style is unlike most novels I’ve read and it was tiring for its format not just its content. I almost gave up on this book several times because it was so disturbingly graphic and overall a real downer (I felt physically ill at several points in this book), but in the end I completely believe it was worthwhile to read. I am not a victim of sexu ...more
Dec 22, 2008 Marissa rated it liked it
It'll piss you off, it'll make you sick, but you need to read it.

A good male friend hipped me to Andrea Dworkin a long time ago, and I'm glad that he did. Mercy is an honest telling of the mental, physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual burdens, preconceptions, discriminations, and injustices that women have inherited from the beginning. Andrea Dworkin is a fearless, scathing, intelligent, and compelling writer. She seeks out the emotional core of an issue and doesn't back down. Her zeal, co
Alex Lee
Jan 22, 2016 Alex Lee rated it really liked it
This is a hard book to read. Dworkin admits that its a difficult thing to write as well at the end, because of the brutal repetition. Like many 'experimental' works, it's hard to describe because there's no frame to compare it to. Still, this work leaves you with a definite impression. By the end you are left exhausted which is the title. The novel takes you to a place, merely because of the position you are left in the beginning with; this the rage that spawned feminism, outlining the need for ...more
May 14, 2007 andrew rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: do you want to hurt?
this is eaisly the most intensely violent and horrible book ive ever read.every page is like being stabbed in the yeah,its pretty good.
Mar 16, 2013 Apoorva rated it it was amazing
This is brilliant stuff. One of the most painful books I've read in a very long time; & never before have I empathized more with a character. And yet,the brilliance of Andrea-the-author lies in the fact that after having you more or less totally convinced that a reductionist feminist like Andrea-the-character is perfectly justified in feeling the way she does, the Epilogue offers the distanced-intellectual stance, which seems to you equally reductionist.
Oh and it's poetic too, despite the n
May 14, 2008 Kim rated it it was ok
Wow. This book is 344 pages of sheer pain and rage. I can't say that I enjoyed it, but I am glad I read it. It made me think about a lot of things that I would rather not, but that I needed to.

I have a problem with porn in general because I think it objectifies women and gives men an unrealistic idea of what women should look like and act like. I think women participate in it not because they like sex or think it's fun or whatever, but because they need the approving male gaze to believe that th
Maddie King
Jul 27, 2015 Maddie King rated it liked it
im not sure if there's ever a good time to read this book, but i can say with a lot of certainty that it felt especially wrong during the holidays. intensely violent, this book is essentially one extended rape scene. a manifesto of the broken. if someone told you to read this in the context of a feminist education, maybe dont- this novel is not necessary to understand the ideas of andrea dworkin and the whole waging a war on men thing might be a lil off putting if youre reading this book as expl ...more
Feb 15, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hard book to read because of the heavy material and syntax. It's power comes from first person stream of consciousness narrative, long sentences, no paragraph breaks, and the buildup of repeated details. Suffocating. Downright poetic. One of the most brutal books I've ever read. I had to take breaks but I had to finish it as well. It's a critique of rape culture, masculinity, patriarchy, and everything.
Jan 14, 2016 Alma added it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I couldn't finish it. It was just too much, it was destroying me. Yet I am grateful for every world I was capable of reading because every single one was worth it. And as some other reviews say, it manages to be poetic between the rape scenes, there's actually a lot more than those. It's depressing as hell but there's something that screams "I'm alive", otherwise Andrea would have killed herself by, I don't know, the third chapter. Also, I kind of think this book might help males to understand . ...more
Rosa Vertov
Aug 27, 2015 Rosa Vertov rated it really liked it
I actually think Andrea Dworkin was one of the most badass persons in history. I often disagree with her & her opinions, but she was an excellent writer and had ovaries of steel. I mean, how in the world is this worse than Paradoxia: A Predator's Diary? In fact, it's better. But Lydia Lunch is a countercultural icon and Dworkin is boring and sanctimonious and FAT (the worst sin) and blah-blah-blah ask anyone. Well, like, shut up.
Oh, and the way she writes about sex would do honor to any of h
May 23, 2012 Christine rated it did not like it
Anti-porn movement is often described as a group of fat old women who are anti-porn and anti-male because they think filth flying and out of different orifices is disgusting instead of arousing. Andrea Dworkin, radical feminist and anti-pornographer, fits to this streotype. Her novel Mercy is a victims purifying act against misogynist filth, Tarantino trash from artsy perspective. It is not good book, it is not enjoyable book, but it is full of victims rage against perpetrators of violence.
Aug 28, 2007 Dayna rated it really liked it
human beings are miracles...
Jo Watson
Jul 15, 2012 Jo Watson rated it it was amazing
Dworkin at her best
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Andrea Rita Dworkin was an American radical feminist and writer best known for her criticism of pornography, which she argued was linked to rape and other forms of violence against women.

An anti-war activist and anarchist in the late 1960s, Dworkin wrote 10 books on radical feminist theory and practice. During the late 1970s and the 1980s, she gained national fame as a spokeswoman for the feminist
More about Andrea Dworkin...

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“...each day I sit down in purposeful concentration to write in a notebook, some sentences on a buried truth, an unnamed reality, things that happened but are denied. It is hard to describe the stillness it takes, the difficulty of this act. It requires an almost perfect concentration which I am trying to learn and there is no way to learn it that is spelled out anywhere or so I can understand it but I have a sense that it's completely simply, on the order of being able to sit still and keep your mind dead center in you without apology or fear. I squirm after some time but it ain't boredom, it's fear of what's possible, how much you can know if you can be quiet enough and simple enough. I move around, my mind wanders, I lose the ability to take words and roll them through my brain, move with them into their interiors, feel their colors, touch what's under them, where they come from long ago and way back. I get frightened seeing what's in my own mind if words get put to it. There's a light there, it's bright, it's wide, it could make you blind if you look direct into it and so I turn away, afraid; I get frightened and I run and the only way to run is to abandon the process altogether or compromise it beyond recognition. I think about Celine sitting with his shit, for instance; I don't know why he didn't run, he should've. It's a quality you have to have of being near mad and at the same time so quiet in your heart that you could pass for a spiritual warrior; you could probably break things with the power in your mind. You got to be able to stand it, because it's a powerful and disturbing light, not something easy and kind, it comes through your head to make its way onto the page and you get fucking scared so your mind runs away, it wanders, it gets distracted, it buckles, it deserts, it takes a Goddamn freight train if it can find one, it wants calming agents and sporifics, and you mask that you are betraying the brightest and the best light you will ever see, you are betraying the mind that can be host to it...

...Your mind does stupid tricks to mask that you are betraying something of grave importance. It wanders so you won't notice that you are deserting your own life, abandoning it to triviality and garbage, how you are too fucking afraid to use your own brain for what it's for, which is to be a host to the light, to use it, to focus it; let it shine and carry the burden of what is illuminated, everything buried there; the light's scarier than anything it shows, the pure, direct experience of it in you as if your mind ain't the vegetable thing it's generally conceived to be or the nightmare thing you know it to be but a capacity you barely imagined, real; overwhelming and real, pushing you out to the edge of ecstasy and knowing and then do you fall or do you jump or do you fly?”
“So you go away from where you were afraid. Some stay; some go; it's a big difference, leaving the humiliations of childhood, the morbid fear. We didn't have much to say to each other, the ones that left and the ones that stayed. Children get shamed by fear but you can't tell the adults that; they don't care. They make children into dead things like they are. If there's something left alive in you, you run. You run from the poor little child on her knees; fear burned the skin off all right; she's still on her knees, dead and raw and tender.” 8 likes
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