Lisa Vegan's Reviews > Woman on the Edge of Time

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
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The most important thing to know about this book is that it was first published in 1976. This is such a late 1960s-early-mid 1970s story! It’s funny because part of it takes place in the mid 70s and part takes place in the 22nd century. The 22nd century appears as though imagined in the 1970s. So, the future seems dated somehow. I suspect I would have thought it was brilliant if I’d read it over three decades ago. Now, I cringed quite a bit and thought it was unintentionally humorous at times.

The story is about a woman in the 1970s who’s a mental patient (it did remind me a bit of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) but she can communicate with those in the 22nd century. Those in the 22nd century she has the most contact with are still at war but otherwise are living in an almost utopia.

The author seems to say a lot about an egalitarian society, communal living, sexism and class and racism, much about the environment; quite a bit about computers. It’s a cautionary tale and must have seemed quite impressive back in 1976.

I loved the language imagined 150 or so years into the future, how English evolved, done in a way that makes use of the vernacular of the 1960s and the 1970s; it’s adapted from that time. It doesn’t work that well in 2010 but it was splendidly constructed, and I enjoyed revisiting the time of three and a half decades ago.

It took me about 50 pages to start enjoying the book but then I had times when it was difficult to put down. (I did really want to read this: I got first one moldy library copy then another identical edition that was also just as moldy, but I’m glad that I read it.)

I can’t say too much about it so I don’t give anything away, but I found the ending somewhat unsatisfying, but I think that the author was very deliberate about how she ended it.

I wasn’t sure whether to give it 3 or 4 stars. I opted to give it 4 because the story was told in such a creative way.
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Reading Progress

December 3, 2009 – Shelved
February 8, 2010 –
page 1
0.27% "I'll try to read this next, depending on whether I can stomach the moldy smelling library copy I have."
February 15, 2010 – Started Reading
February 18, 2010 –
page 51
13.56% "Really disgusting library copy & not much time to read so taking forever to read this book. Interesting though."
February 20, 2010 –
page 51
13.56% "Still on page 51. Moldy copy & having a hard time getting into it, but have time to read today so I'm going to try to make some progress."
February 22, 2010 –
page 99
26.33% "Starting to get into it but it's very dated. One of settings in the far future but very 60s-70s, which is when it was written."
February 24, 2010 –
page 209
55.59% "Getting very interesting. Still very 60s-70s sensibilities-I remember well that era."
February 24, 2010 –
page 232
61.7% "I'm very curious about what's going to happen/how things will resolve."
February 25, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Lisa (last edited Feb 18, 2010 12:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Thanks anyway, Chandra, but I need to read this asap, and if you have it you should keep it: you might want to read it. Well, it's hard to read this copy. I'm not that far into it (page 51) and just started getting into it. I think I might end up liking it.


Lisa Vegan Elizabeth, I don't think I'd have continued if it hadn't been for a book discussion group but once I hit page 50 I was glad I'd kept reading.


Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters Thanks and great! I’m interested. 💖


Lisa Vegan Elyse wrote: "Thanks and great! I’m interested. 💖"

Elyse, you’re welcome. You might like it. I think that our generation will certainly have a unique reaction to it.


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