Danika Dinsmore's Reviews > Woman on the Edge of Time

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
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I loved parts of this book and thought others dragged on too long. There was a lot of talking and exposition where I suddenly felt like I was stuck inside Piercy's "What I did on my Summer Vacation: Toured a Utopian Society."

When I take a step back and think about WHEN this was written (early 70's), it's a bit mind-blowing, really. In addition, the creation of an entire way of speaking - all the future slang - is incredible. I'm sure many readers thought this annoying or clunky, but I admired her consistent use of it.

At times it is heart-wrenching, because the "real" part of this story is sadly real. It's an incredible social commentary and an interesting look into the world of the "insane asylum" circa 1970, told from the perspective of an uneducated poor Hispanic woman who lands there unjustly. I like the ambiguity as to whether she is actually time traveling or truly "insane."

I did have a bit of a problem in that all the men in Connie's current time are "evil" (except one gay kid in the hospital with her and Connie's 2 dead ex-husbands).

I did not like the ending, which is probably how I ended up with 3 stars. I didn't mind her actions at the end, not that they are completely justifiable, but didn't like the strange "piece" of her file presented. I guess it's meant to indicate how she spends the rest of her years... (don't want to say more for fear of spoiling). I might have liked it better if it just simply didn't include that part and we are left to wonder.

I'd recommend this book for anyone interested in soft-sci fi / feminist / dystopian-utopian literature.
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Reading Progress

March 30, 2011 – Started Reading
March 30, 2011 – Shelved
May 22, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Hiroshi (new)

Hiroshi Sasaki I'll have to return for a re-read. When I read it as an undergraduate at UCLA in the late 80s (yes, in a feminist dystopia/utopia seminar) I remember loving this book and giving it somewhere between 4-5 stars (I, too, was taken by the depiction of sanitaria and the ambiguity of psychosis vs. time travel): and now I want to re-remember the ending, so I can see why you're so annoyed. But if I had to choose one book that truly kicked my ass that semester, it would be one I've returned to a couple times a decade, Bessie Head's autobiographical A Question of Power by Bessie Head , which rhymes in fascinating ways with Piercy's _Woman_... No time travel, just psychosis, nightmarish oppression of 1960s South Africa/Botswana, intellectual deprivation, and survival...


message 2: by Hiroshi (new)

Hiroshi Sasaki Oh, and I"m reminded, now that I'm mentally going over the syllabus, that Octavia Butler came to our class to discuss her recent Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1) by Octavia E. Butler : wow, that really changed my life as well....


message 3: by Danika (last edited Jun 09, 2015 01:19PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Danika Dinsmore wow, thanks for the tip. haven't read Butler's work. I'll have to check it out... though sounds a bit heavy.

I wonder if I had read Piercy's book a few decades ago if I would have given a different review?


message 4: by Hiroshi (new)

Hiroshi Sasaki You're welcome! Yeah, it's hard to tell what's presentistic criticism and what isn't (at least without hindsight). I do know that some of the books to which I've returned simply seem SO dated; and others appear to transcend.

Just a clarification: Bessie Head = Botswanan feminist/novelist

Octavia Butler = easily the greatest African American female science fiction author: she was addressing race and gender identity in SF, parallel to Sam Delaney, long before it became "hip."


Danika Dinsmore oops, yes... thinking one thing, typing another. Lilith's Brood has been recommended to me before... guess I should officially put her on my goodreads list. lol.


Joanne Renaud This is a pretty fair criticism. The pacing was a bit weird, and the exposition dumps of Hippie Futurelandia elicited a great deal of eye rolling. But I was so invested in Connie, and so enraged by the horrifying way she was treated, that I stuck with it, and I'm so glad I did! I think I liked the ending better than you did... I thought it was KILLER. (Pun intended.)


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