Beginning in childbirth and entered like a multiple dwelling in motion, Women and Men embraces and anatomizes the 1970s in New Yorkfrom experiments in the chaotic relations between the sexes to the flux of the city itself. Yet through an intricate overlay of scenes, voices, fact, and myth, this expanding fiction finds its way also across continents and into earlier and future times and indeed the Earth, to reveal connections between the most disparate lives and systems of feeling and power. At its breathing heart, it plots the fuguelike and fieldlike densities of late-twentieth-century life.
McElroy rests a global vision on two people, apartment-house neighbors who never quite meet. Except, that is, in the population of others whose histories cross theirsbelievers and skeptics; lovers, friends, and hermits; children, parents, grandparents, avatars, and, apparently, angels. For Women and Men shows how the families through which we pass let one person's experience belong to that of many, so that we throw light on each other as if these kinships were refracted lives so real as to be reincarnate.
A mirror of manners, the book is also a meditation on the languagesrich, ludicrous, exact, and also Americanin which we try to grasp the world we're in. Along the kindred axes of separation and intimacy Women and Men extends the great line of twentieth-century innovative fiction.
"Once in a great while there is published a book that judges us, a book so rich in knowledge, imagination, and feelingin artthat the reader is ravished and humbled, changed, made thankful. Joseph McElroy's mammoth Women and Men is that kind of book, the most important novel to appear in American since Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. (Tom LeClair, Washington Post Book World 3-22-87)
"McElroy's astonishing epic . . . stretch[es] our minds, breaking through old narrative constraints as he charts uncannily new and exciting territory. . . . No serious reader will want to miss Women and Men. . . . By such dreams the world might be saved." (Alicia Metcalf Miller, Cleveland Plain Dealer 4-5-87)
"Like other postmodern big booksThe Recognitions, Giles Goat-Boy, Gravity's RainbowWomen and Men embodies the American notion of manifest destiny, a continent-sized ambition to speak largely in a large land. . . . Brilliant and rigorously human, Women and Men offers a risky, brakeless drive at the far edge of what's possible in the novel." (Albert Mobilio, Voice Literary Supplement 5-5-87)
"Women and Men manages to achieve in its very relentless scope, in the convolutions of its long engulfing sentences and the hypnotic repetition of its thematic elements, a kind of poetry born of contemporary obsession and paranoia. It provides us with a satirical, omnibus overview of present-day life not seen since Gravity's Rainbow, with a like intertwining of jazzy speech and elaborate prose, myth and current history, folklore and technology, pop culture and metaphysics." (Laurence Donovan, Miami Herald 4-12-87)
"McElroy's ambition is heroic . . . his canvas densely peopled, the animating talent is unmistakable." (Publishers Weekly 1-9-87)
|Publisher:||Dalkey Archive Press|
|Edition description:||Dalkey Archive ed.|
|Product dimensions:||6.07(w) x 8.99(h) x 1.90(d)|
About the Author
Joseph McElroy is the author of nine novels, including A Smuggler’s Bible (Harcourt), Hind’s Kidnap (Harper & Row), Ancient History: A Paraphase (Knopf), Lookout Cartridge (Knopf), Plus (Knopf), Women and Men (Knopf), The Letter Left to Me (Knopf), Actress in the House (Overlook), and Cannonball (Dzanc, 2013). His short novella about India, Taken From Him , has just been published as an Amazon Kindle Single. Another novella, Preparations for Search , appeared in 2010. Night Soul and Other Stories , a volume of short fiction, was published by Dalkey Archive Press in 2011. A volume of his essays, Exponential , has been published in Italy and in expanded form will be forthcoming from Dzanc.
His non-fiction book about water is close to completion. Three short plays are forthcoming, and a children's book. He received the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and D.H. Lawrence Foundations, twice from Ingram Merrill and twice from the National Endowment for the Arts. Among other universities he has taught at Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, University of New Hampshire, Temple, NYU, the University of Paris, and the City University of New York. McElroy was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1930. He was educated at Williams College and Columbia University.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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