Woman on the Edge of Time: A Novel

Woman on the Edge of Time: A Novel

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Hailed as a classic of speculative fiction, Marge Piercy's landmark novel is a transformative vision of two futures-and what it takes to will one or the other into reality. Harrowing and prescient, Woman on the Edge of Time speaks to a new generation on whom these choices weigh more heavily than ever before.

Connie Ramos is a Mexican American woman living on the streets of New York. Once ambitious and proud, she has lost her child, her husband, her dignity-and now they want to take her sanity. After being unjustly committed to a mental institution, Connie is contacted by an envoy from the year 2137, who shows her a time of sexual and racial equality, environmental purity, and unprecedented self-actualization. But Connie also bears witness to another potential outcome: a society of grotesque exploitation in which the barrier between person and commodity has finally been eroded. One will become our world. And Connie herself may strike the decisive blow.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781515959731
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Marge Piercy has written seventeen novels, including the national bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women; nineteen volumes of poetry, including The Hunger Moon, The Crooked Inheritance, and Made in Detroit; and a critically acclaimed memoir, Sleeping with Cats.

Tanya Eby has been a voice-over artist for over a decade. She is an Audie-nominated and AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator. Besides narrating, Tanya spends her time teaching creative writing classes at the collegiate level, blogging, and working on her own novels.

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Woman on the Edge of Time 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Woman on the Edge of Time' is not meant to be science fiction so much as a comment on the nature of power in US society. Some of the negative reviews on this site seem to respond more to the politics of author Marge Piercy's criticism of late 20th century institutions of authority. In my opinion as a former mental health worker and lifelong social critic, and a reader of much of Piercy's work, this is among Piercy's most ambitious novels,and one of her strongest. It is bitingly political without resorting to polemics it is a highly readable and engaging story about despair, power, love, and violence of many types. The protagonist is a woman striped of legitimacy in society: a Mexican-American living in New York City who has been labeled as mentally ill. She has lost her much-loved daughter to the child protection system and her lover, the tender blind pickpocket, to the penal system in which he has died. And her version of the truth about the world in which she lives, where her niece is being abused by a pimp, is discounted by all - after all, she is a mental patient and a convicted 'child abuser.' Somehow, she is contacted by a utopian agrarian non-hierarchical society in the next century who treat her far better than anyone has or will treated her in her everyday life. These people are themselves in danger from invasion from a parallel-universe dystopian group. Their struggle to survive mirrors Connie's more personal battles,and she becomes a heroic figure while fighting for her own dignity in a system that is designed to strip her of exactly that. Woman on the Edge of Time is a moving tale with the ring of authenticity about psychiatric power and its devastating effects of the poor and marginalized, alongside its science-fiction elements. This book was written decades ago, and its environmental and human rights messages ring at least as true today. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is possibly the best book ever written in the context of future societies, utopia/distopia and warning the possibility of a bleak period for humanity. The truly frightening thing about this book is that the political/economic/military/social factors all seem to be coming into formation for a New Technological Dark Ages to occurr, with the military expansionism of the 'war on terrorism', the eroding of civil liberties with the USA PATRIOT ACT, the rise of the Christian Fascist movements of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and how these forces are a major pillar of backing and influence in the Bush Administration. What has not fully come into formation like the plot of Marge Piercey's book is the resistance to this new technological Dark Ages, that is urgently needed in order to end the oppression of women and help liberate humanity.
CJ1952 More than 1 year ago
I read this book about 25 years ago and loved it. Upon reading it again, I wondered why I loved it so much. I decided that back then I was discovering myself, and this is a book of discovery as well as mystery. It was written in the throws of the "women's movement" (but then again we are always in the throws of the "women's movement"), and that rings loud and clear. It's a harsh look at a world of sadness and pain that I admit, I am not familiar with. I suggested it for my book group, and for the few of us who read the entire book, we had a great discussion. It's difficult to read subject matter wise, but easy to read style wise. I'm a big sci-fi reader, so this doesn't totally fit the bill. It's futuristic which to me can be different from my normal sci-fi need. For me sci-fi is totally "The Matrix" or "Avatar" which of course are futuristic as well. I just like technology and aliens in my sci-fi. Am I glad I read it again? Sure...it's worth the read and I love Marge Piercy's intellect and knowledge. Read her poem "Barbie Doll"...it's my favorite...go figure.
Rhonda Barovsky More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books of all time!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved it!! Woman on the Ege of Time has been my favorite book since I first read it in the mid-1980s. I re-read it at least once a year and always find something new to think about.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was introduced to this book through a friend for Women's History Month - Women Writers. It is now my all time favorite book and I am giving gift copies of it to everyone I know for the Holidays - women and men alike.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't let the first pages stop you, this is a great story with very interesting ideas in it about our society. The ideas about education and child care are surprising. Try it, you'll like it!
Anonymous 9 months ago
This book envisions an idylluc future that is so tangible and beautiful. Definitely recommend!
Virtual_Jo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Is she mad or is she really travelling to a future society? A classic feminist sci-fi.
AriadneAranea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The narrator, Connie, is wrongly committed to a mental institution but escapes (whether really or only by way of an extended fantasy of escape) to a utopian future world. The utopian vision may be problematic in some ways (that's the problem with utopias) but this is a masterful piece of work. Reminiscent of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, but much, much better.
DavidGreene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Influenced my work. Utopia and Dystopia all in one story.
justifiedsinner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The usual preachy, unworkable utopia. Whiney and humorless. Pekins Gilman did this a lot better.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story that tackled an ambitious set of themes: environmentalism, feminism, child rearing, treatment of the mentally ill, socialism, criminal justice, war, racial prejudice, genetic engineering...whew, and in just 376 pages! The basic premise of the plot is that Consuela Ramos is a woman with some history of violence who ends up in an infamous New York mental institution. She has episodes that, from her perspective, involve her traveling in time psychically to about 150 years in the future to a culture that has tackled many of the afore-mentioned issues head-on, and she is given some hints that her life might be somewhat pivotal in determining if that future actually comes to pass. Piercy is coy with the reader about whether these episodes are real or whether they are mental breaks.To some extent, it was a story whose ambition exceeded its grasp. While many of her thoughts are interesting...even fascinatingly novel (men taking temporary hormone treatments so they can experience the mother/child bonding of breast feeding)...there's an overarching ADD quality to the story line as Piercy tries to keep so many balls in the air. Moreover, it's difficult to read this as a quality example of any subgenre of science fiction.We can disregard technological science fiction right away; Piercy is too careless of the implications of future technology to make it satisfying. Piercy does make an attempt at an alternate futures story. The future characters state it explicitly, "...at certain cruxes of history...forces are in conflict....Alternate futures are equally or almost equally probable...We are struggling to exist." Unfortunately, she doesn't remain focused on it and is too vague in presenting the cause and effect that will make one future or another come true. Further, she commits the cardinal sin of introducing the Grandfather Paradox and then simply dropping further consideration with it unresolved. At best, we have to ignore this subplot and consider the time travel as merely a weak mechanism that allows Piercy to present her society.We're left with its social science fiction persona, the cautionary tale vs. utopian vision aspect. Piercy tackles this with gusto, presenting a culture that is focused upon erasing all the ills of our society. As I mentioned above, I found some of her visions interesting (even if they caused me to squirm a bit), particularly in regard to erasing the gender gap and elevating the "female" in our society. Quite frankly, I would have enjoyed this book quite a bit more if she had let most of her other subjects go and explored this a bit more. Yet, even this aspect of the book palled eventually because that society began to feel like the popular image of Michael Metelica's Brotherhood of the Spirit rather than some living and breathing society. It was as if Piercy took all the social dreams from the Summer of Love (1967) through when she wrote it (1976) and packaged them up in an Aquarian Age utopia rather than a logical extension of our future.If this doesn't work well as science fiction...if we take away that veneer...what do we have left? The answer is an indictment of our treatment of the have nots in our society, especially the treatment of the mentally ill. This theme is actually the bulk of the book's content and it's a forceful polemic against the warehousing, the lack of treatment and the basic abrogation of rights that exists in this area. Piercy made a good choice in her protagonist in this regard; Connie is a sympathetic character: poor, minority, likable, well-intentioned, unlucky, and mistreated by her family. And yet, for all that we do like her, she is what they say she is: violent, irresponsible and addicted. Some healing is appropriate. This aspect of the story becomes a grim pounding after a while (cut half of it and use those pages to fill in the gaps in the future story is my advice), but it is effective. In the end, I think this is a story you might
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is difficult to review this book without revealing more than one should know before reading it. Stasia sent me this quote from wikipedia which sums it up well:"Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) mixes a time travel story with issues of social justice, feminism, and the treatment of the mentally ill. This novel is considered a classic of Utopian "speculative" science fiction as well as a feminist classic. William Gibson has credited Woman on the Edge of Time as the birthplace of Cyberpunk."I found the book extremely intense, fascinating and compelling. I also found it often exasperating and difficult to read at times necessitating periodic breaks calm down, relax and to assimilate what I had read. This is a book that invites discussion among people who can argue without getting angry with each other. I would even suggest that it should be discussed in sections as the group is reading¿it would be difficult to discuss it all at once.
mostlyliterary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A friend of mine was reading this book recently, which reminded me I had read it -- a long time ago. I remember liking it, but the details have faded a bit.
gerleliz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did not like this book. I found it dated.
olliesmith160 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Piercy presents us with multiple worlds of utopia and dystopia which are both disorientating and fascinating to the reader. A really important feminist utopian novel which explores some key issues not only of its time, but of times before and after it. The unlikely heroine of the book 'travels' between times and realities to discover a future which is the complete opposite of her expectations. Piercy does not present us with a future of space crafts and techno-centric society. Rather, a wonderful mix of the rural, old and familiar is entwined with progressive thoughts on society and technology.This book is full of wonderful ideas and innovative style. However, it is a challenge to read and can demand a little too much patience from the reader. It can be read as somewhat of a bleak work, but there is beauty and hope in there too.A rewarding, if not somewhat challenging read.
cattriona on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I quite enjoyed this book, despite some of its darker themes. I think the portions about time travel were reasonable, non-sterotypical (rockets and lasers and all) and did not require me to suspend my belief to enjoy the book.
mariajackman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely adore this book because you don't really know if the main character is off her rocker and imagining what is taking place or it's real!!!
Citizenjoyce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Connie's ultimate crime is that she is poor and powerless, a woman and a member of an ethnic minority. People with a great deal or very little power sometimes use her as an example, sometimes harm her for their own enjoyment or to gain some little benefit for themselves but most of all she is ignored. Her capabilities are undervalued at all times and encouraged seldom. Her desires, her understanding of reality are completely irrelevant to almost everyone. There are some people who love and respect her, they mostly are people of color and always are people without power. Is she mentally ill? Does she hallucinate a world in which individuals and the earth are valued while wholesome people war with the ultimate capitalist culture, or does she really visit other times and other places through the strength of her mind? This book is as relevant as when it was written in the 1970's because the same fights remain, the rich and powerful do whatever they want, the poor and undereducated are made to stay in their place and be grateful for what they have. Three cheers for Connie.
ladybug74 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first couple of chapters were actually kind of interesting, then when Connie started talking more to the guy from the future, it went downhill fast for me. It was just a bit too strange and I quickly stopped enjoying it.
thesmellofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this when it first came out several millenia ago. I was working in a rape crisis centre at the time and was immersed in the women's movement in every aspect of my life. This was a very popular book among my friends, and I, being a long time science fiction and fantasy fan, was pleased to have a chance to read it and other sf with feminist themes. The actual book, however, does not stand out in my memory. It didn't move me terribly much as a story, though I liked it well enough to finish it. Still, it was important to have these ideas represented in fiction, and to have a chance to envision the world in these ways. In that sense it is historically important for me, if not in the sense of one of my favourite books.
owen1218 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I kind of hate Marge Piercy's idea of utopia, with its' androgynous people, birth machines, anomie, and cultural appropriation. I did not find her vision nearly radical enough. Yes, the people are now dedicated to restoring the planet, but they still see it as something to exploit for human interests. They still tamper with genetics, watch television, and domesticate rivers. They might not be greedy, but they're still basically self-centered and individualistic. The writing is also at its worst in these scenes. It is not very convincing. As in many utopias, the inhabitants lack conflict with one another (for the most part), and are just simply too aware of their own culture's beliefs and attitudes. Generally speaking when someone internalizes a value they aren't going to have an easy time articulating it, but that isn't the case for people here.On the other hand, I love most everything else about the book. All the scenes outside of the utopian future are excellent, and so are many of the author's insights. Her writing is very strong, and the conclusion was my favorite part of the whole book.
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