Germaine: The Life of Germaine Greer

Elizabeth Kleinhenz. Scribe, $30 (480p) ISBN 978-1-947534-78-0
Kleinhenz (A Brimming Cup), a former teacher, delivers a wide-ranging, incisive biography of iconoclastic, controversy-courting Australian second-wave feminist Germaine Greer. Drawing on an archive of Greer’s papers at the University of Melbourne and interviewing a few who know her—Greer herself has responded with hostility to biographers, including this one—Kleinhenz pieces the layers of Greer’s life together: misfit childhood in Australia (“too tall, too clever, too noisy,” Greer said), intense schooling under nuns and dons, hippie life in London’s ’60s counterculture, stunning success with The Female Eunuch in 1970, various romantic relationships with men (including Warren Beatty and Federico Fellini), attempts to have a child, and subsequent books and fame. A natural scholar, Kleinhenz writes, Greer loves Dickens, Shakespeare, and Byron. At 80, she has finally grown close to her botanist sister and to their homeland. Kleinhenz portrays Greer as contrarian, often harsh, sometimes bullying, yet also original, media-savvy, and occasionally charitable. In graceful, unobtrusive prose, she considers both sides of the numerous controversies in which Greer has been involved; she doesn’t shy away from describing Greer’s unpleasant or unpopular actions but does so nonjudgmentally. Originally, she explains, she’d set out with this biography to expose the Greer “behind the mask” but found “there is no mask.” Greer’s fans will enjoy this respectful, yet thoughtful, examination of her life. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 05/31/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-9786-7897-2
Paperback - 796 pages - 978-0-3693-1241-9
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