City of Darkness, City of Light

City of Darkness, City of Light

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by Marge Piercy
     
 

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Marge Piercy brings to vibrant life three of the women who played prominent roles in the most tumultuous turning point in European history, and tells the intimate stories of the men whose names we know so well. Claire Lacombe escapes the grinding poverty of Pamiers by joining a traveling theatrical troupe as an actress. Defiantly independent, strikingly beautiful, she…  See more details below

Overview

Marge Piercy brings to vibrant life three of the women who played prominent roles in the most tumultuous turning point in European history, and tells the intimate stories of the men whose names we know so well. Claire Lacombe escapes the grinding poverty of Pamiers by joining a traveling theatrical troupe as an actress. Defiantly independent, strikingly beautiful, she will become a symbol to many as she tests her theory: if men can make things happen, perhaps women can too...Manon Philipon, a jeweler's daughter, worships Rousseau and the life of the mind. When she marries Jean Roland, a minor provincial bureaucrat, she finds she has a talent for politics - albeit as the ghostwriter of her husband's speeches, and the hostess of his salon...Pauline Leon, owner of a chocolate shop in Paris, witnesses the torture and execution of common people who riot for bread. As the Revolution gathers momentum, Pauline is certain of one thing: the women must apply the pressure, or their male colleagues will let them starve. And so the Revolutionary Republican Woman are born...

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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 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago