A Short History of Women
Motivated to read A Short History of Women by a glowing review in the New York Times, I wanted to love it. 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.S.A.
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...more
This is 5 generations of women's lives all star...more
The premise is simple - this is the story of five generations of women struggling to find out who they are and what their places are in the world. The story begins with the oldest, Dorothy Trevor Townsend, who starves herself to death for women's suffrage in 1914, leaving be...more
Walbert’s novel moves fluidly from the time of Florence Nightingale, who screamed into the void to be heard, to the age of the...more
After being catatonically underwhelmed by "Let the Great World Spin", I have been deeply moved and deeply impressed by "A Short History of Women", . I have read Kate Walbert's two previous books, and this one, I believe, catapults her into the universe of excellence. I can understand why it was one of the Ten Best Books of 2009 as selected by the NYT.
Interleaving the lives of five generations of an English/American family, Walbert uses the fight...more
"A Short History of..." is a trend in titles over the last few years, perhaps borrowing from the popularity of Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, a book that pays back its promise of a layman's ruminations of pop science unconcerned with order or specialization, just a little (not to say "short," that's Bryson's misnomer) book of raw wonder. But there is no wonder here.
Conversely, it is short,...more
I enjoyed the book -- after I got past the first 33 pages. The writing style was annoying at first. It seemed cryptic and confusing. When the book got to the first chapter of Dorothy Townsend Barrett, the writing changed and it was a much more pleasant read. I did have to keep going back to the lineage chart to remember who was who - too...more
I'm really disappointed in this, because I liked the idea of a novel that tells the stories of several generations of women...more
A Short History of Women chronicles the struggles of the...more
The book's structure is a triumph. Walbert jumps through the decades, from character to character and then back to character, gradually showing the influence that each gener...more
Walbert's writing is beautiful, no doubt about it. I also think the greatest strength of this nove...more
I love stories about families, and author Kate Walbert had a great concept. It follows t...more
Walbert's narrators include and descend from an early 20th century suffragette, who starves herself to death to call attention to "The Woman Question," and, seemingly, to justify her life. She leaves behind two children. He...more
Unfortunalely, I thought the book was horrible. There are 15 chapters. I assumed the book would be written in chronological order and...more
After reading reviews that criticized the book as a collection of disjointed vignettes that end just as they got interesting, I picked it up again with confirmation that it might not get better.
But I was wrong. The characters come to full life -- all five generations that a...more