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Fear of Flying

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  18,662 ratings  ·  1,617 reviews
Bored with her marriage, a psychoanalyst’s wife embarks on a wild, life-changing affair

After five years, Isadora Wing has come to a crossroads in her marriage: Should she and her husband stay together or get divorced? Accompanying her husband to an analysts’ conference in Vienna, she ditches him and strikes out on her own, crisscrossing Europe in search of a man who can in
Paperback, 461 pages
Published November 4th 2003 by Berkley Books (first published 1973)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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 ·  18,662 ratings  ·  1,617 reviews

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I swear if I have to take another page of this rich, uppity bitch's incessant whinings and first world problems, I'll rip all my hair out.

Isadora Wing sooooo envies the fact that German streets are cleaner than those in the US. She won all her college poetry writing contests, edited the literary magazine, got published, kept receiving communication from publishers and yet remains soooo insecure about her writing prowess. Her equally rich, married and annoying sisters have procreated and produced
iw69: hello. i want you now

mannyrayner: do we know each other?

iw69: not at all, that's the point. i thought we could just have a completely no-strings-attached sexual encounter for its own sake, and then say goodbye. wouldn't that be poetic and beautiful?

mannyrayner: um, well, maybe. i'm sorry, i guess i should just be doing this and not analyzing it. can i at least have a name or will that ruin everything?

iw69: i'm isadora

mannyrayner: that's a pretty name. pardon me for being so old-fashioned

For whatever reason (possibly because someone I recommended it to wasn't that thrilled by it), I feel a bit like I need to defend this book lately, and since I reviewed it when I first joined this site and most people were writing shorter reviews, I'd like to give it a better write-up.

The premise of Fear of Flying is fairly simple: Isadora White Wing is in a marriage she isn't exactly happy with. Her husband isn't especially warm to her, nor is he incredibly supportive of her career (like Jong,
Summer, 1972

A top editor at a publishing firm in NYC pokes his head into a break room and says to a young, male intern who is pouring coffee, “Hey, kid, come into my office for a minute, will you?”

The “kid” is a recent lit grad from Columbia University with a penchant for Joyce and Hardy and an innate distrust for this particular editor. He starts to sweat immediately at the man's request, but stays outwardly calm as he puts down the coffee cup and follows the editor into his office.

The editor m
Jul 19, 2018 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: 1001
Speed dating with books 1/6
Since I am moving my books from one room to another and building a new bookcase I realized (again) that I have way too many unread books. I decided to choose 6 (for the beginning) of the ones waiting on my shelves for a long time or that I do not know if I would like, read 50 pages and decide if I want to continue with them or send them away. This week and the next I will share with you the results.

I bought this novel almost 10 years ago because, well, I was afraid of
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rather neglectful of reading duties (I shall admit to this very vulgar crime) for the lethargic days of summer, it was truly a rare treat to sporadically go back to this, a sly and sinful read. Yeah, it is DATED-- but, even in the late 90s, weren't the "Sex and the City" gals, too? That "50 Shades" is such a success should not be surprising-- it's just that the reminder that other people are having sex while you are (or are not) is.

I've been quoted before as saying that "sexual non-adventure is
Paul Bryant
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
I found myself walking round this book and poking it nervously instead of reading it. This went on for days. Fear of Flying - famously feisty, fearless, feminist and full of fucking. Also well known to be zipless. It was like having a landmine on the table, if I opened it I could lose a leg, or some other fleshly part. I’d have to learn to type with my ear.

When I did summon up the courage I was a little bit – well, deflated. As opposed to being flated, which I had been. It was like pages of sta
da AL
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eons ago, I'd heard this book consisted wholely of sex & zipless fucks.

Surprise! Jong writes insightfully about the between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place that women resided in during the early 1970s, and at times still do. The protagonist isn't what I consider terribly likable, yet her bold intelligence, self-awareness, and wit carry her through myriad messy bits.

Jong states in the author interview at the end that she'd like this book to be considered a modern classic - which it is! - so I've marked i
Mar 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
20 million copies sold? A seminal feminist classic? I am nothing short of incredulous. I'd say it was the pseudo-intellectual self-absorbed ramblings of a spoilt 29-year-old 'poet' that does not stand the test of time.

But let me first say, I'm not one to dole out 1* reviews. This is my first, and as an author myself, I've wondered what can motivate a reader to such an action. But now, thank you Erica, I have seen the light! It's when the distance between the reader's expectations and what is del
Oct 09, 2007 marked it as aborted-efforts
Recommends it for: zipless fuckers?
Recommended to Jessica by: i'm not so sure anyone did....
Earlier on this evening I was talking to my sainted mother on the telephone, and she noted that I seemed to be "reading a lot of intellectual books lately," to which I reacted with vehemently indignant daughterly rage: "I am NOT, Mom!"

Why my mother's comment should seem so thoroughly offensive is a fitting subject for my analyst (a mythical figure about whom I love to fantasize but probably wouldn't enjoy much if he actually existed), though not so much for the internet, but I've got poor bounda
Jun 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me start off by saying that I liked this book - I really did. Isadora Wing (with a name like that, Erica Jong brings the concept of 'thinly veiled autobiography' to new heights) is an exuberant and lovable character. I thought the writing was very good in parts, even though other parts read as if a six-year-old Erica was sitting in her bedroom with a Barbie and two Ken dolls, mashing them together and transcribing the dialogue (she does say she fell in love with her husband because of his sm ...more
Jun 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Zipless Fuck

My one and only one-night stand.

A review

to come

in more ways than one.
Megan Scaison
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: iconoclastic women, women who wish they were iconoclastic
Recommended to Megan by: my grandmother, second-wave feminism
I remember that when I called my grandmother to tell her that I was going to be in the vagina monologues, I expected her to react to the name: I expected her to be unaware of Eve Ensler and what V-Day is about. She simply said, "You should read Fear of Flying- it's like the first vagina monologue."

As it happens, she was so right. It's the kind of book you really regret not reading years earlier, when you really needed some of this information. If I'd read it as a teenager, would I have felt so c
Apr 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with phobias of zips
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Liberté, égalité, sexualité or Pteromerhanophobia

When this book was first published the general consensus was something along the lines of "ooh madam"! and a lot of raised eye brows. I imagine people covertly reading this wrapped in brown paper and hoping that no one was looking over their shoulders on the bus or on the tube. And of course it would be the sort of thing that one simply had to hide from ones husband. Of course nowadays you could just download it onto your Kindle and make the text
Aug 17, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, erotica
Isadora Wing, welcome to my shit list.
Lubinka Dimitrova
Twenty-nine-year-old Isadora Wing (who’s recently published her first book, a volume of erotic poetry) is traveling with her Chinese American psychiatrist husband to a convention of psychoanalysts in Vienna. Emotionally frustrated and sexually bored in her marriage, Isadora is tormented, on the one hand, by her yearning for adventure, sexual rapture, freedom, and creativity, and on the other hand, by her need for the security and protection of a husband. She opts, at least temporarily, for adven ...more
Mar 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Poor storyline: the book consists of repulsive episodes of the life of a selfish, neurotic, hysterical woman. And I honestly don’t get why it is labelled as feminist prose.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
{Cue ominous narration guy}

In a world, a woman wrote a book about the literal fear of flying and a bunch more problems that was hailed as a classic of Second Wave Feminism. 45 years later, two women will read it. At least, they will try to read it.

Summary: Erica Jong "Isadora" is afraid to fly. Isadora is obsessed with analysts. Isadora is obsessed with analysis. Isadora is not obsessed with her analyst husband. Isadora is obsessed with the “zipless fuck” (a one-night stand, basically.) Isadora
Feb 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners

Description: The radio premiere of Erica Jong's bold and bawdy novel about a young woman's quest for sexual liberation was a controversial best-seller in 1973.

1/5: Isadora Wing has been married to psycho-analyst Bennett for five years. But's she restless and yearns for the perfect, guiltless, zipless sexual encounter.

The sixties was spent doing, the seventies was spent writing and I'm sure that this was racy at the time and many women will have started to
Peter Tillman
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread-list

If you've never read Erica Jong's classic, well, you should. On the re-read list. I have no idea (or record) of when I read it. But I expect you remember the Zipless Fuck! The book has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

Jong explains that it is "zipless" because "when you came together, zippers fell away like rose petals, underwear blew off in one breath like dandelion fluff. For the true ultimate zipless A-1 fuck, it was necessary that you never
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-again, erotic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Morgan
I found this very dated and not relevant to women today. Not only because the zipless fuck is less likely to happen but because the book dosen't seem to approach realtionships with any equality. The psychology of the book seemed like the most outdated part. For me the writting was not good enough to overcome the shortcomings of the story. I appreciate that the the book for the impact it made on women's sexual liberation and freedom, but not relevant in today's sexual practices or norms. More int ...more
When you're ready to graduate from Judy Blume, this is it.
Traci  Medeiros
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could have a more natural visceral reaction to this book but I read it from a state of being all too aware of it's controversy and place in feminism and time. I wish I had discovered a dusty copy in a grandmother's attic or untouched corner of a used bookstore because that is really how it should be read... a discovery filled with self discovery.... but I went out looking for it. It had been mentioned too many times as an example and I had to read it for myself. I did instantly feel a c ...more
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women interested in sex, psychoanalysis, and Isadora Wing!
"Fear of Flying" isn't as taboo as I've heard. While sex is big part of the story it's conveyed through the want for passion, the feeling of immediate desire, and is an element used to not feel lonely for our protagonist. In reading Henry Miller's review of "Flying" I'd say he's right on the money with his want (at the time) for more female writers to be so unhinged when it comes to our most common fears and desires and not to feel like a slut for wanting these things.

While the story has plot p
From BBC Radio 4 - Riot Girls
The radio premiere of Erica Jong's bold and bawdy novel about a young woman's quest for sexual liberation was a controversial best-seller in 1973.

Isadora Wing has been married to psycho-analyst Bennett for five years. But's she restless and yearns for the perfect, guiltless, zipless sexual encounter.

2/5: Isadora Wing has overcome her fear of flying to travel to Vienna with husband Bennett to attend a psychoanalysts' conference. Here she meets a charming Englishman ca
I love books like this, books that challenge my views, ideas and expectations and the reputation of this book alone did that so there was every chance that this would be a let down. But it wasn't. Yes it challenged many aspects of my thoughts and opinions and there were times where I just wanted to shake Isodora back to reality but by the end she had a point, a confusion, a sense of chaos that many of us have felt about various things (and everything) at times that we haven't been able to voice ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 16, 2013 marked it as did-not-finish
I imagine it's hard to read this out of context, but for as much as I've heard about its importance it was agonizing to read. Not sexy, not liberating, it feels like a story about a bunch of people whose lives are dominated by analysis/therapy. Just not interesting at all.
Isadora Wing is an intellectual young poet. She is married (for the second time), but still wants a fling. One that is spontaneous and has no commitments. Her search for and experience of this fling are described with no-holds-barred frankness and irreverence.

Surprisingly, I was not offended by this. Jong has a way of writing that entertains; it is not off-putting (at least to me). I laughed instead of scowled.

This book was written in 1973 and is partially auto-biographical. Which part, I do not
Lauren Smith
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Every kind of independence. Not for everyone, but liberating and identifiable. Go there.

I don't consider myself a radical feminist, (although dare to tell me I can't or shouldn't carry something because I'm a woman, I guarantee you there'll be hell to pay and I'll find a mistake in your grammar to boot), and, while this book was a radical book when it was published, I think Jong addresses issues that are not only revolutionary but also universally relevant (timeless and genderless). I picked thi
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Erica Jong—novelist, poet, and essayist—has consistently used her craft to help provide women with a powerful and rational voice in forging a feminist consciousness. She has published 21 books, including eight novels, six volumes of poetry, six books of non-fiction and numerous articles in magazines and newspapers such as the New York Times, the Sunday Times of London, Elle, Vogue, and the New Yor ...more

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