A Short History of Women (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Five generations of mothers and daughters emerge in a brilliant non-linear narrative of their eras. In 1914, starving herself to death for the suffragette cause in Wardsbury, England, Dorothy Trevor Townsend doesn't even notice her 13-year-old daughter watching. Each descendant of Dorothy takes her own path in richly peopled vignettes, as the world reflects tumultuous changes, all the way into the 21st century! This remarkable tale sports eloquent, unique language, so mastered by Kate Walbert! 

— From Jane


A profoundly moving portrait of the complicated legacies of mothers and daughters, A Short History of Women chronicles five generations of women from the close of the nineteenth century through the early years of the twenty-first.

Beginning in 1914 at the deathbed of Dorothy Trevor Townsend, a suffragette who starves herself for the cause, the novel traces the echoes of her choice in the stories of her descendants--a brilliant daughter who tries to escape the burden of her mother's infamy; a granddaughter who chooses a conventional path, only to find herself disillusioned; a great-granddaughter who wryly articulates the free-floating anxiety of post-9/11 Manhattan. In a kaleidoscope of characters and with a richness of imagery, emotion, and wit, A Short History of Women is a thought-provoking and vividly original narrative that crisscrosses a century--a book for "any woman who has ever struggled to find her own voice; to make sense of being a mother, wife, daughter, and lover" (Associated Press).

Praise For…

"Wickedly smart . . . A gorgeously wrought and ultimately wrenching work of art."

—Leah Hager Cohen, New York Times Book Review (cover review)

"Ambitious and impressive . . . Reminiscent of a host of innovative writers from Virginia Woolf to Muriel Spark to Pat Barker . . . A witty and assured testament to the women’s movement and women writers, obscure and renowned.”—Washington Post

"A subtle and profound book, as thought-provoking as it is moving."

—Ann Packer, author of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier

"What a marvelous book: one part Transit of Venus, one part Stone Diaries, one part incomparable. Actually, that's not true: she write like a female Ian McEwan."--Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America

Product Details
ISBN: 9781416594994
ISBN-10: 141659499X
Publisher: Scribner Book Company
Publication Date: June 15th, 2010
Pages: 239
Language: English