Marge Piercy

Going around right now is this “top 15 authors that have affected you” meme, but I’m not doing that today. All I have for you on the topic of authors is this:

I just reread Marge Piercy’s 1993 novel He, She, and It (I’m proud to say that my copy was sent to me by Ira Wood when I was doing some typesetting work for the Leapfrog Press, back in around 1998-2000… but anyway).

I’d forgotten how good it was. Really. I inhale books; but as a result, very often a book can move me greatly and then within a few years I have only the vaguest notion left, or none at all, of what lived and breathed between its pages. (Though I have to wonder if I so vividly cast Yod as Brent Spiner the last time. I can only assume that I would have.)

Then, I picked up my copy of Woman on the Edge of Time (published 13 years earlier, in 1985).

Again, I had retained zero memory of what it was even about. At first I found it woefully unpleasant, to the point of thinking to myself “Yeah, I’m giving this away after I finish, ’cause who needs to read this again?” But by last night, a good third of the way into the book, I was engrossed. So if you read it and hate it at first, give it time; it has more to say.

The thing that gets me is how similar, in a way, some of the themes/motifs are (well, except for the cyborg bit… and the Jewishness…) — but they’re handled very differently. I could say more about this if I had time (sorry if that’s what you came here for! maybe later!), but I will just say this for now: While WOTEOT is still a fine book, it’s very, very much an earlier book. The way her style and storytelling matured from one to the other is just… startling.

Which produced the further insight that I, personally, had damn well better get cranking on writing my first novel, so that I can eventually write my tenth. X-)

That is all.


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