Commune of Women

( 30 )


On an ordinary Los Angeles morning, the lives of seven women are about to become inextricably entangled, as they converge upon LA International Airport for various purposes. Suddenly, the morning erupts into chaos, as black-clad terrorists charge into the terminal, guns blazing. As the concourse becomes a killing field, six of the women dodge a hail of bullets to find refuge in a tiny staff room. Betty, a Reseda housewife, Heddi, a Jungian analyst, Sophia, a rugged and savvy mountain woman, Erika, a top-level ...
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On an ordinary Los Angeles morning, the lives of seven women are about to become inextricably entangled, as they converge upon LA International Airport for various purposes. Suddenly, the morning erupts into chaos, as black-clad terrorists charge into the terminal, guns blazing. As the concourse becomes a killing field, six of the women dodge a hail of bullets to find refuge in a tiny staff room. Betty, a Reseda housewife, Heddi, a Jungian analyst, Sophia, a rugged and savvy mountain woman, Erika, a top-level executive, Ondine, an artist just returning from France, and Pearl, an ancient bag lady, all traumatized or injured, barricade the door and cower down, hoping to survive. As four days drag by, their expectations of an early rescue dashed, the women find a way to dominate their panic and terror by telling their life stories. As their situation becomes increasingly grave, the women begin to reveal their most intimate secrets, as their stories descend deeper into the dark shadows of their lives–and they discover that part of survival is simply surviving one another. At the same time, in a similar small room close by, the sole female terrorist, dubbed simply X by her so-called Brothers, has the task of watching a bank of surveillance monitors. Apparently forgotten by her co-conspirators, she nevertheless is the best informed of the happenings in the outside world--happenings that are not easily understood. Why are the police and FBI so slow to respond? What has motivated this attack? Who are these terrorists and what do they want? And will the women survive to tell their tale? Answers to these questions slowly reveal the terrible web of conspiracy and deceit into which they all have fallen. But the most profound revelation of all is how each has betrayed herself.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611881103
  • Publisher: Story Plant, The
  • Publication date: 9/10/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 345
  • Sales rank: 1,452,946
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Commune of Women

By Suzan Still

Story Plant, The

Copyright © 2013 Suzan Still
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61188-110-3

Day One

Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles, California
Monday, 8:37 AM


The noise as Erika steps out of the cab is deafening. She’s screaming at Amelia, “Just call Dallas and tell them...” and the fucking phone cuts out. She spins around, hoping to pick up the signal again. It’ll take Amelia ten minutes to settle down and remember that she already knows what she’s supposed to tell the Dallas office. They went over it yesterday. Christ!

The cabby’s on Mexican time. He’s taking her bag out of the trunk like he’s doing it underwater. She’s got forty minutes to dash through the terminal, get through fucking Homeland Security, and catch the flight to Berlin. Come on!

Every loser in Creation is in her way. Why do most people look like genetic throwbacks? They mope along,
looking dazed – no sense of direction; no focus. How do they manage to feed and clothe themselves? What must their sex lives be like? She’s like a shark among guppies. If she has to, she’ll bite her way through this sea of zombies!


The thing Heddi always hates about LAX is the frantic pace. Traffic swarms around entrances and parking spaces like bees around a disturbed hive. Once she’s run that gauntlet, dealing with the mess inside the terminals is a piece of cake.

Thank God Betty insisted on driving her today. The thing with Hal has her so upset! And this Wellbutrin’s so strong she wouldn’t trust her own driving. Betty – big and solid as a navy-and-red mountain, her grip on the wheel like a strangler’s; her jaw, lost in a pudding-like sack of triple chins – is navigating the traffic like one of the Norns clutching the reins of the Car of Fate.

She’s never let a patient drive her anywhere before and this is the first time she’s ever come to the airport to pick one up. Heddi has a special spot in her heart for this arrival. According to her own analyst, Dr. Copeland, Ondine represents some part of Heddi’s shadow which is why Heddi always finds her so marvelously aggravating.

“Offer her particular hospitality,” Dr. Copeland advised her. “She has much to teach you.”

The digital read-out of Arrivals says Flight 3742 from Paris is on time, probably taxiing up to Gate 34 at this very moment. Which means she has at least half an hour to use the loo and then read a few pages of the murder mystery that’s got her hooked – if she can hold Betty at bay – before she even has to start looking for Ondine in this mob. And to make herself suitably hospitable, whatever that might entail.


Betty never thought she’d be the kind of person who’d go to a shrink. She’s as normal as apple pie. Dish water. Laundry soap. Whatever. But things happen to you in this life; things you don’t expect and that are painful.

That was a surprise. She grew up so normal and still that was no proof against suffering. During their last session, Heddi said that Betty survived her normality by staying unconscious – not, like, out cold, but by not really thinking about the things that were wrong. That’s why things got so crazy – because Betty
wasn’t bringing any of the stuff to consciousness.

Betty steals a sidelong glance at Heddi, so cool and aloof in her short blond do and pale blue silk pencil skirt that glints like surgical steel, so slender and self-contained, and she feels a shudder run through her. She’s not sure if it’s from pleasure at being of service to such a svelte, sophisticated creature, or from pure terror of her.

At their last session, Heddi also said that Betty has made a fetish out of plastic flowers. She says Betty is living in a very primitive state of religiosity. That religio is the root word, meaning careful consideration of the dangers.

“What dangers?” Betty asks.

“The gods,” Heddi says. “The gods will have their way with us.”

“Gods? I don’t believe in them.”

“It doesn’t matter. They believe in you.”

Betty doesn’t get it. She’s new at this. If her friend, Em, hadn’t sworn that this was the best thing for her to do right now to save her sanity, she’d quit. It’s all a mystery to Betty, but at least she’s up out of the BarcaLounger and doing something positive – if navigating L.A. traffic, especially LAX traffic, can be considered positive. It does kind of perk her up, getting her adrenaline going like this. And Heddi’s surely in no shape to drive. Betty’s never seen her so somber. Maybe it’s this mystery person who’s arriving that she’s thinking about.

It doesn’t matter if Heddi doesn’t even say a word to her. All Betty wanted was to get out of her house before she took a butcher knife and drove it straight through her own heart.


Ever since she lost her spot in front a Pop’s Diner, Pearl’s been a gypsy. She tried settin up at the pier, but
either the wind was too sharp or the sun got ta her. Then she tried a couple a blocks back from the ocean, by the Safeway. But people was too busy, bustlin in, bustlin out. Nobody paid her no nevermind.

She went from a good, solid twenty-dollar day at Pop’s ta almost nothin. It’s been two weeks an Pearl purdy near starved ta death, til José come along, him an his cab.

“Pearl, I been looking for you,” he says. “All over town.”

José was one of Pop’s regulars, an he never stiffed her. Ever single time he put somethin in her can –sometimes a dollar, sometimes two, or even five. Always with a smile an a “Buenos dias, Madre.”

Madre! Callin the laks a Pearl Mother! Well, if that don’t beat Hell!

“What you are doing now, Pearl? Where you are sitting?”

“José, I ain’t got no spot no more. Since Pop up an died on me, I’m double homeless. Ain’t got no home an
also ain’t got no business establishment.”

“Dis is turriblay.” He rattled off them r’s lak he’d got achill. “Terrible, Pearl. You got to come wit me.”

“Whar we goin?”

“I don’ know. You get in. We theenk about it.”

“What bout mah chariot? Cain’t leave mah cart behind.”

“You get in, Pearl. I poot eet een de trronk.”

Pearl smiles at how these Mesicans can mangle the language. And sure enough, he hefts that damn thing in thar lak it warn’t nothin, an off they go. “Whar you takin me, José?”

“I don’ know, Pearl. We got to theenk. How about de pier?”

“Tried that. Most froze mah tush off.”

“How about de shelter?”

“Nope. Ain’t goin ta no shelter. If’n I gots ta sleep in the sand on the beach, I’ll do that. But I ain’t goin inta no shelter.”

By now, theys out on the freeway. Don’t ax her which one, cuz she ain’t never drove a car in her life. She barely done rode in one. José is real quiet an Pearl’s thinkin he’s regrettin takin her up. But then he shouts, “I got it! Pearl, I know where you got to go! You have good business there.”


“De airport!”

“Now how the Hell am I gonna get ta the airport?”

“I take you.”

“Now listen, young man. I don’t need no one-day gig. I gots ta do this ever day.”

“Jes. Jes, I understand. I take you every day.”

“Are you crazy?”

“No. Listen, Pearl. I got to go to de airport every day, anyways. That’s where most of my fares come from. I take you in de morning and pick you up, my last run at night.”

Well, Pearl argued a piece, but José was so enthusiastic, she finally done give in an said she’d give it a try. It’s illegal as Hell, she’s sure. But the amazin part is, she’s made more in the first hour then she usually makes all day. She’s keepin a low profile. Hangin out mostly in the bathrooms. She cain’t ratly believe how many a them suckers they is. They gots more bathrooms then a pig’s got poop.

Pearl figgered out rat away that she could take a paper towel an wipe the counter an the bowl, fore a lady washes her hands. She knows they laks ta plunk they purses down – an them wet spots jes gives em the shivers. Some jes brushes her off, but more often then not, they’ll dig in a pocket or a purse an hand her some change, or even a bill.

Pearl cain’t hardly believe her good fortune. Only trouble is, she cain’t smoke her pipe. Other then that, thins is lookin real good.


When you lift off from Orly and climb above Paris, you can see the inner ring – the Périphérique, the freeway that follows the ancient fortifications of the city. It makes a huge mandala in the midst of the urban sprawl and confirms Ondine’s deeply held conviction that Paris is the Center of the Universe. And at its beating heart, on the tail of the Île de la Cité, the Great Mother is enthroned – Notre Dame Cathedral. That view never fails to bring tears to her eyes.

Flying in over L.A., on the other hand, brings a different kind of tears to her eyes. It doesn’t matter that the full name of the city is La Ciudad de la Madre de Los Angeles. Somehow Our Lady, Mother of the Angels, has gotten squeezed out of the center of things – or asphyxiated by smog.

Ondine gropes for her seat belt, as the jet angles down steeply over the web of freeways in final approach. She drags her maroon leather hobo bag from beneath the seat and rummages for her cosmetic bag, refreshes her lipstick, flicks pretzel crumbs off her pristine aqua lapel, pushes the usual errant lock of auburn hair back from her face and glances again out the window.

There is no center here. No there out there, as they say. She’s diving down into an eye-smarting jumble. Into chaos.


Sophia had a dream last night, on the eve of her departure for Los Angeles. She dreamed she was flying.
No plane around her; just her arms outstretched and the wind rushing over her. She simply rose up from her mountain cabin until she was up high enough to see the Pacific Ocean on her right and the white phalanx of the Sierra crest on her left. Her plaid flannel shirt and blue jeans flapped in the wind and her scuffed Red Wing work boots trailed behind her, weightlessly. Her hair arced out around her like long, gray wings. She just flew and flew. It was exhilarating.

Which is a good thing because in actual fact she hates to fly. It raises her blood pressure until she thinks blood will squirt from her ears. And she hates Southern California even more than she hates flying. She loves the Earth. She loves all the creations of the Goddess, right down to the humblest nematode. But Southern California’s a wasteland, with all natural life suppressed under asphalt and buildings. If the conference on goddess cultures wasn’t too good to miss, she’d never have come.

Sophia does like air terminals, though. She loves seeing the people arriving from foreign flights, especially: the women in saris, the men in turbans, the Africans with deep ritual scarifications on their cheeks, and the little huge-eyed children. Since her bus for Pasadena doesn’t leave for an hour, she’s decided to come over to the international terminal and get a dose of the exotic that simply never penetrates into the hills where she lives.

She settles her denim derrière in a molded plastic chair and watches what must be a tour from China coming at her – several dozen Chinese, all talking too loudly in that nasally singsong and

Excerpted from Commune of Women by Suzan Still. Copyright © 2013 Suzan Still. Excerpted by permission of Story Plant, The.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 30 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    How will a group of 6 women survive when a group of terrorists takes over LAX?

    Who would have thought that an unplanned, unexpected event would unite six, very different women from all walks of life and bind them together forever?

    When a group of extreme terrorists take over the international terminal at LAX, gunfire erupts, killing random people, from the oldest to the youngest without so much as a thought for their welfare. As bodies begin to pile up where they once stood and in some cases ran for cover, a group of women find themselves locked behind the shelter of an employee break room door. Now as the gun fire slows, they huddle in silence unsure of where their fate lies.

    While one of them remains wounded with bullet hole in her shoulder, each of these women will play a part in helping them survive until help arrives.

    Sophia, who is the largest woman, most have ever seen becomes the official leader of the group. She maintains control over the security of the room, moving a vending machine in front of the door to prevent anyone from gaining entry into their hideaway. She tends to Erica, a young, black woman who is shot and needs to control the bleeding before she sleeps any further into shock. She utilizes needle and thread she obtains from Pearl, a homeless woman who was sleeping in the room before the chaos broke out in the terminal. Pearl seems to be their saving grace with all kinds of things she has kept with her along her travels on the street. She has been named the official person you'd want to have with you if you found yourself stranded on a desert island.

    While Sophia tends to Erica, who remains in and out of consciousness, Pearl begins to round up the food supplies from the vending machines, and helps Betty, an overweight, woman deal with the affects of the situation by vomiting in the bathroom, and then cleaning it up to maintain a sense of normalcy.

    Heddi, is the psychiatrist who has been treating Betty in her practice while coming to LAX to retrieve another patient, Ondine, who was arriving from France when the shooting began. Heddi feels she needs to be the one to take a leadership role since she is the one with a college degree in psychiatry and needs to do whatever it takes to help these women keep calm until help arrives. She insists that they tell stories about their lives to help them get to know one another, and a way to pass the time until they can be rescued.

    In the novel, Commune of Women by Suzan Still, the stories that the women share during their time locked in a room awaiting rescue, will help the women unite in more ways than one, through the telling of some graphic stories of how each has arrived at where they are at today not just in being at the airport but who they are in spite of their circumstances. Some of the stories are horrifying and filled with graphic images of just what some of these women have endured in their life, but in the end, it will unite them and bring about some positive changes in each of them.

    I received this book compliments of Pump Up Your Book Tours and Suzan Still's for my honest review. The story is well written and the situation one that could happen to any of us. There are some strong uses of profanity and graphic sexual images that come across in some of the stories that are told that may offend some readers. However, these stories allow the reader to understand the people that are present in the room today and how these life events changed them. I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars based on my rating criteria.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting read, more like a 3.5~!

    Commune of Women is a dramatic thriller.

    Seven women have been drawn into a web of terrorism as each of them arrive at Los Angeles International Airport.

    Heddie is a psycho-analyst who is traveling with one of her patients to pick up another from the airport. She is calm, cool, collected and has been raised with a silver spoon in her mouth or so she wants everyone to believe.

    Sophia is a natural born leader. She is strong, caring, compassionate and knowledgeable. She carries with her demons from her past when she was a medic during the Vietnam war.

    Erika is a high profile business women with a vulgar attitude and vocabulary. She believes everything and everyone should center around her and after she is shot, she is extremely irritated that her business world may come crashing down around her.

    Pearl is a wizened bag lady who arrives at the airport because of friend of hers told her that the money was good. She is one person who is bound to have everything one might need in order to survive, she's been doing it for a long time and knows what is needed in times of duress. Her story is a sad one and yet she always seems to find something good in all that is around her.

    Ondine is a neurotic free spirit whose has a terrible guilt over a past event she had no control over. She is currently under Heddie's care and working through her demons. She's coming out of a bad marriage and tends to run from the stresses in her life.

    Betty is also one of Heddie's patients and she puts all her time and energy into plastic flowers arrangements that she is passionate about creating. Her passion has driven a wedge between her and her family. She doesn't see what she is doing wrong until her life is threatened and she realizes her values had been wrong all the time.

    X is a militant who grew up in the Jafar camp in Palestine. She comes from an area of the world where walls surround her country, checkpoints are needed to go through to leave and people are systematically killed. To be a women in Palestine means you are bred of strength, determination and perseverance. She is proud of the women in her life and feels she is just in her reasons why she is attacking the airport. However, along the way she begins to see things in a new light and vows to correct all the wrongs that have ever happened to her.

    Each of these women must survive four days while they are held in the airport, too afraid to leave their hiding place. The six women have no idea where the terrorists are, why the FBI hasn't come for them yet nor how they are going to survive when their only food is to be found in an employee vending machine and bullet ridden soda!

    Each of them delves into their inner psyche to find the demons that have haunted them in order to find the strength to survive.

    This wasn't a bad read! I truly enjoyed the women's characters, each one of them was written in a well-rounded manner and with believable back stories. My favourite of the women was Sophia, a woman who listens to the world's weave and reacts to it instinctively. She was very strong in character and belief.

    I wasn't so fond of Ondine, I found her overly whiny and her maternal instincts were severely lacking. Not that she was a badly written character, just out of them all, I'd have disliked her the least if I met them as they were written.

    Many of the back stories shard were wonderfully written. It was rather hard to read Pearl's for the first half of t

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012


    Good premise, not bad but could have been much more

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2012

    Beautifully written.

    The stories of these women stay with me. The writing is lyrical and poetic, especially when told from the perspective of Ondine, the woman whose shell has grown until it obstructs her very self.

    Each character is a player in an unexpected trauma. How they experience their vulnerability varies with their level of health, and appearances are very deceiving.

    I hope that Susan Still will continue to write. I recommend this book in this review, and to all my friends.

    Book club book? Absolutely, as there is a lot to discuss, and perspective will likely change the things one appreciates best.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2011

    Great character study

    DESCRIPTION Seven women from all walks of life become trapped for several days during a terrorist attack at LAX. Cut off from all outside communication and not knowing how or if they will be rescued, they resort to sharing personal stories as a means to distract themselves from succumbing to their fears. CONCEPT/PLOT - 5 stars There are a lot of layers to this book, the topmost layer being that we all have things in common, even if cannot see these commonalities at first. Between the seven women, virtually all important variables were represented: different ethnicities, cultures, religious beliefs, upbringings, education levels, financial standing, and family histories. On the surface, the only thing these folks seemed to have in common with each other is that they were all women. Despite their vast differences and their initial judgments and distrusts, their predicament shined a light on their commonalities in a way that normally would not been seen. An underlying layer was politics and how people misrepresent themselves and exploit others for personal gain. This inclusion really rounded out the story and ends up playing an important role all on its own. WRITING STYLE/EXECUTION - 4 stars The book is written in sections. Each section is introduced by the name of the woman whose point of view is being represented. In the beginning, the sections were short and it took some time to remember who was who. Over time though, each woman's section got longer and I was grateful for that. I enjoyed the stories and various perspectives. The fact that I could empathize with even character 'X' speaks volumes, as we are conditioned to hate "terrorists." Ms. Still did a wonderful job of allowing us to empathize with the characters yet still disagree with some of their actions. FORMATTING/EDITING - 5 stars People, cultures, locations, politics, and pyschology were all well-researched and explained. The book was well put together and polished.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    A bigger sample would help....

    A slightly larger sample would have helped me decide if this book was worth the money. A 12 page sample that wastes the 1st 5 pages is not a good sales technique.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Very well written

    Great characters. Would read this author again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Enjoyable book.

    Characters seemed well developed and story line enjoyable. Ending could have been better written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2011

    not what I expected

    I didn't love this book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    Absolutely Amazing!!!

    This was a fantastic read about seven different women and their point of view during an attack on an airport. One is a terrorist while the other six are victims of the attack. The story is told from each person's point of view, which is quite a feat to pull off. Amazing how one can look at each of these characters and feel something, whether a likeness or understanding of their plight and struggle to survive. An amazing story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2011

    Thought Provoking

    Suzan Still has scored a homerun with this tale of tragedy that brings a group of vastly different women together only to show us that deep down they share more in common than they realize. But then again, dont we all?
    I loved that she shared some insight into the lives of the terrorist as well.
    Bottom line is this book is a must read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Real Thought Provoker

    Commune of Women is a book that will make you evaluate your life as the very diverse and interesting characters reveal pieces of their lives. Some will associate with the characters while other¿s will appreciate their dull, safe life. It's a fascinating story that strips things down and lays it out with grim reality.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    All over the place!

    The first few chapters were decent, and then it just got worse.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Strong women, a horrible situation, a fascinating story

    This was a tough book to read at times, as I found myself wondering how I would react in a similar situation. Different women, from different walks of life, find themselves trapped in a small break room after a terrorist attack at the Los Angeles International Airport. We meet them as they arrive at the airport and watch as they find sanctuary in the break room, then try to survive. There is Sophia, a strong "mountain woman" who takes charge and whose medical training comes in handy. Pearl, an old homeless woman who was napping in the room when the attack occurred. Heddi, a therapist who comes up with the idea of sharing stories to help pass the time. Betty, one of Heddi's patients who drove her to the airport to pick up Ondine, another of Heddi's patients. And Erika, a business woman shot in the shoulder, who Sophia tends to during their ordeal. In a separate room is X, the only female terrorist, who is holed up in a control room where she can monitor both the airport and the local news. We learn her story as well, and watch as she tries to make sense out of how she got there and wonders what might happen next. This is a powerful story, as the women share very personal stories. Not knowing if they will survive or not, the stories become more intimate and soul searching as the days pass. I found myself caring about these women, and marveling at their strength and perseverance. I was especially impressed with Sophia and Pearl, who had very different histories, but were both incredibly strong women. Gave this one a 4/5 as I really enjoyed getting to know these characters, was immediately pulled into the plot, and found myself really caring about what would happen to the women. Still is a very gifted writer, and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Gets better with every page

    I enjoy books that not only tell a good story but take us deep into the minds, thoughts and lives of the characters in the story. A Commune of Women takes us on that journey. Seven women who could not be any different are tossed together under extremely dire circumstances and must find a way to endure by working together to survive. Can you imagine being locked in a fairly small room with six other strangers, sharing food, water, trying to help the woman who is injured and not think about the chaos and death that is going on outside that door? I sure can't.

    I admired every one of these women for different reasons. I have to say my favorite was Sophia. I would love to be as able and calm as she was in such a high stress time. She never panicked and seem to be very confident as to how to go about things. I couldn't wait to find out more about her. I hung on her every word imagining myself in her shoes.

    Pearl, the street lady was my least favorite. I very much wanted to like her but I had a very hard time reading her. The author wrote her using the back woods talk that is very real but was hard for me to understand. When her narratives came around the story stopped the smooth flow because I had to read very slowly and re-read a lot of her conversations. BUT, I think she had the most common sense and the brightest way of looking at things. Pearl's cup was always half full!

    The plot is really right out of the news with a terrorist attack at an airport. It was scary in many places because it could happen, has happened. I don't know if I could be as brave as these women.

    Get ready for be in for the long haul once you open the cover. The story takes off with a bang and never slows down until the end.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    7 out of 10 hearts

    Commune of Women by Suzan Still
    Release Date: July 16th, 2011
    Publisher: The Fiction Studio
    Page Count: 380
    Source: From author, via Pump Up Your Book, for review, as part of the virtual blog tour

    On an ordinary Los Angeles morning, six unrelated women converge on Los Angeles International Airport. A hornet's nest of chaos ensues, and the women find their survival depends on their ability to navigate a web of interpersonal and cultural conflict.
    Sophia, adept at the arts of survival, who takes the lead;
    Pearl, an ancient bag lady whose wisdom becomes guidance;
    Erika, a top executive whose business trip is cut short by a bullet wound;
    Heddi, a Jungian analyst who must use her skills to help the others;
    Betty, an overweight, histrionic housewife who endangers everything;
    Ondine, a wealthy and neurotic artist whose self-absorption turns to action;
    Each much use her slender resources and innate abilities to survive.

    For four days, the women sustain themselves by telling their life stories, which grow darker and more intimate as the days pass. Meanwhile, Najat, abandoned by her male companions in a control room with a view of the entire terminal and of televised rescue efforts, struggles between her own conscience and the dictates of her group, the Brothers.

    Commune of Women explores what happens when ordinary citizens meet their worst nightmare. It is a novel of travail, gritty determination, compassion, and the will to prevail.

    What Stephanie Thinks: Suzan Still takes an insightful and deep approach to women's fiction in this novel of multiple perspectives that all have one thing in common: control. Or rather, lack thereof. Each woman, each life portrayed, couldn't be more different. Each individual, shaped by what they have experienced and developed with, is unique. However, after gathering, each realizes, that they are actually quite the same.

    I enjoy how each protagonist gets their own narrative. Only one of the seven characters speaks in the first person, but all the third-person perspectives are equally intimate. Still is keen on characterization, very much based off verisimilitude, which strengthens the sense of sympathy I gain for each of the main characters. Najat's story especially, the story of the opponent, or in this case, the perpetrator of the initial tragedy, touches me and has me rethinking my values of who I condemn as "good" and who I convict as "bad". Personally, I hate prejudice but it's always in my subconscience; it's in everybody's. Knowing on the other hand, that what we judge has its own mindset itself, is both puzzling and enlightening, but it has the ability to keep us in check, which I think is most important.

    Stylistically, this book is not phenomenal. At best, I would call it lush, in that it is finely detailed. However, there's really no suspense or poise to it. I find it bland and catch myself trudging through it. It doesn't take away from the storyline too much, but it's definitely something that bothers me.

    Commune of Women is a book of interest, but not really something outrageous. I like the story enough to get through it, but not enough to highly suggest it to someone in search of a recommended read. As I personally am interested in depth psychology, I was able to connect with this book, but conventionally, most people may not see it the same way.

    Stephanie Loves: ". . . it's not possible to grieve for anyone else until you've truly grieved fo

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2013

    Riveting. Loved how the author brought such disparate lives toge

    Riveting. Loved how the author brought such disparate lives together and showed that as women we have more in common than we realize.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    I really enjoyed this book. The characters were intriguing &

    I really enjoyed this book. The characters were intriguing & real.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2012

    Commune Of Women

    This book was okay, just a little to slow for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Good read

    This book was inexpensive but definitely a good read. Would recommend

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