The Seven Ages

Eva Figes, Author, Tom Engelhardt, Editor Pantheon Books $14.95 (186p) ISBN 978-0-394-55540-9
Figes's Patriarchal Attitudes is one ofthe more imaginative and valuable studies in the literature of the women's movement. Her novels, Waking and Light, reveal close observation of the natural world and a painterly, copious prose in rendering it. This new novel is concerned far less with narrative in the usual sense than with a kind of fictionalized history of women across a millennium from preChristian England to the present day. Voices of women from all periodsmedieval to Elizabethan, Victorian to the age of Strontium 90emerge from the obscurity in which they dwell in conventional versions of history. Here, the central character, an English midwife who has retired to the country, remembers her grandmother's stories of women's ancient ways and immemorial ordeals. Through the consciousnesses of a multitude of women, a vivid sense is conveyed of the realities of existence for the female sex throughout the centuries as givers, preserversand victimsof life. In the end, Figes's contemporary woman will come out of her retirement to join a younger generation in their protests against nuclear weapons. If the novel reads at times like a polemical feminist tract, it is also informative, stylistically distinguished and very timely. (January 6)
Reviewed on: 10/28/1986
Release date: 11/01/1986
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-345-35199-9
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