City of Darkness, City of Light: A Novel by Marge Piercy | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
City of Darkness, City of Light

City of Darkness, City of Light

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by Marge Piercy
     
 

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"FAST-PACED . . . PIERCY BREATHES LIFE INTO THE ACTUAL HISTORICAL FIGURES WHO SHAPED THE REVOLUTION."
—San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

In her most splendid, thought-provoking novel yet, Marge Piercy brings to vibrant life three women who play prominent roles in the tumultuous, bloody French Revolution—as well as their more famous male

Overview

"FAST-PACED . . . PIERCY BREATHES LIFE INTO THE ACTUAL HISTORICAL FIGURES WHO SHAPED THE REVOLUTION."
—San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

In her most splendid, thought-provoking novel yet, Marge Piercy brings to vibrant life three women who play prominent roles in the tumultuous, bloody French Revolution—as well as their more famous male counterparts.

Defiantly independent Claire Lacombe tests her theory: if men can make things happen, perhaps women can too. . . . Manon Philipon finds she has a talent for politics—albeit as the ghostwriter of her husband's speeches. . . . And Pauline Léon knows one thing for certain: the women must apply the pressure or their male colleagues will let them starve. While illuminating the lives of Robespierre, Danton, and Condorcet, Piercy also opens to us the minds and hearts of women who change their world, live their ideals—and are prepared to die for them.

"MASTERFUL . . . PIERCY BRINGS THE BLOOD AND GUTS, THE IDEAS AND PASSIONS, OF THE REVOLUTION TO LIFE."
—The Women's Review of Books

"PIERCY'S STORYTELLING POWERS CAPTURE THE TURBULENCE AND EXCITEMENT OF [THIS] LIBERATING ERA."
—The Boston Herald

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Depicting the experiences of three brave women, Piercy (Gone to Soldiers) explores the human reality of the French Revolution, bringing to life the immense role women played in bringing down the monarchy. Claire Lacombe escapes the grinding poverty of her youth by becoming an actress in a traveling troupe. Beautiful and filled with the determination that can be forged by enduring hardship, she becomes an inspiring symbol as she dares to participate in pivotal events. Manon Philipon, a jeweler's daughter, idolizes Rousseau and the life of the mind. Marrying an austere government bureaucrat, she learns that she has an innate grasp of politics. Pauline Lon, the owner of a chocolate shop, is galvanized when she witnesses the executions of poor people rioting for bread. Their three stories are deftly braided with the lives of three menthe incorruptible Robespierre, the opportunistic Danton and Nicolas Caritat, an academician trying to walk the high wire between old and new. Men may be necessary to drive the plot, but women are its engine. It is women who take to the streets looking for "justice, bread and freedom," and who win concessions on issues like divorce and inheritance rights. Piercy skillfully juxtaposes the political debates, painfully slow reforms and bloody confrontations against the ironies and absurdities of everyday life. Since the novel offers multiple perspectives, events sometimes overlap and readers must pay close attention to the dates listed with chapter headings. This is a minor obstacle, however, in a novel that adds fresh, powerfully grounding perspective to accepted historical fact. QPB featured alternate. (Nov.)
Library Journal
The best-selling author of epic novels, poetry, and short stories (e.g., The Longings of Women, LJ 1/94) here records the fictional exploits of three influential women who helped pilot the French Revolution.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780449912683
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/08/1996
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
479
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.40(d)

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Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
"A simply superb book, truly a mastepiece."

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City of Darkness, City of Light 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
JBronder 4 months ago
This story takes place during the French Revolution but focuses on women during this time. We follow an actress, and aristocrat’s wife and a chocolate shop owner among others. We follow along as each is affected by the Revolution and how each finds their own ways to change its outcome. I love how we have a variety of people from different social standings. You have a shop owner fighting day to day and an aristocrat’s wife writing his speeches. This book gives the untold stories that you don’t hear about. I admit that I don’t know much about the French Revolution. But after reading this story I am interested in researching what happened. As you read you can tell that Marge Pierce has done a lot of research because the story is rich with details. The only thing that I have as a negative is that the book was slow to start. But I do understand since we started before the revolution and they don’t just start in the middle of all the action. If you like the French Revolution and would like to find out more about the female aspect in it, this book would be great for you. But if you are like me this book may inspire you to look for more information. I received City of Darkness, City of Light for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago