Marilyn French, author of My Summer with George, The Women's Room, and Her Mother's Daughter, learns at the beginning of this memoir that she has esophageal cancer. (A smoker for 46 years, she had ignored friends and doctors who implored her to quit.) She is told that one survives metastasized esophageal cancer. A Season in Hell is French's personal story of her journey through the nightmares of aggressive cancer treatment, seizures, a two-week coma, kindhearted nurses, and uncompassionate doctors. One told her not to get her hopes up when her tumor disappeared, and a neurologist said (prophetically?), "Doctors hate writers; they always say horrible things about us." It is also French's story of triumph--because she succeeds in conquering the cancer, though she emerges from the struggle far from well, with "just about every system in my body [damaged] by chemotherapy or radiation." Readers share the worst and the best with French, and by the end of the book get to know this woman, feel a part of her humanity, respect her courage, and cherish her circle of close friends (including Gloria Steinem) and relatives who gave her so much when she needed it most. --Joan Price
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A treasure trove of new poems by one of our most sought-after poets: poems that range from descriptions of the Detroit of her childhood to her current life on Cape Cod, from deep appreciations of the natural world to elegies for lost friends and relationships, from a vision of her Jewish heritage to a hard-hitting take on today’s political ironies.
In her trademark style, combining the sublime with the gritty, Marge Piercy describes the night she was born: “the sky burned red / over Detroit and sirens sharpened their knives. / The elms made tents of solace over grimy / streets and alley cats purred me to sleep.” She writes in graphic, unflinching language about the poor, banished now by politicians because they are no longer “real people like corporations.” There are elegies for her peer group of poets, gone now, whose work she cherishes but from whom she cannot help but want more. There are laments for the suicide of dolphins and for her beloved cats, as she remembers “exactly how I loved each.” She continues to celebrate Jewish holidays in compellingly original ways and sings praises of her marriage and the small pleasures of daily life.
This is a stunning collection that will please those who already know Marge Piercy’s work and offer a splendid introduction to it for those who don’t.
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Ten characters, from occupied France to the Pacific Theater and from the frontlines to the home front, are profoundly changed by the events of World War II in this New York Times bestseller
Epic in scope, Marge Piercy’s sweeping novel encompasses the wide range of people and places marked by the Second World War. Each of her ten narrators has a unique and compelling story that powerfully depicts his or her personality, desires, and fears. Special attention is given to the women of the war effort, like Bernice, who rebels against her domineering father to become a fighter pilot, and Naomi, a Parisian Jew sent to live with relatives in Detroit, whose twin sister, Jacqueline—still in France—joins the resistance against Nazi rule.
The horrors of the concentration camps; the heroism of soldiers on the beaches of Okinawa, the skies above London, and the seas of the Mediterranean; the brilliance of code breakers; and the resilience of families waiting for the return of sons, brothers, and fathers are all conveyed through powerful, poignant prose that resonates beyond the page. Gone to Soldiers is a testament to the ordinary people, with their flaws and inner strife, who rose to defend liberty during the most extraordinary times.
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This new gathering of Marge Piercy’s poems—energetic, funny, political, full of vitality—brings us the heart of her mature work, the first selected since Circles on the Water in 1982.
Here are poems that chart the milestone events and fierce passions of her middle years: the death of her mother, whom we meet first as a young woman, “awkwardly lovely, her face / pure as a single trill perfectly / prolonged on a violin,” and again as an older woman musing on what the afterlife may hold for her. There is a new marriage which she celebrates not only for romantic beginnings but also for the more intimate details that emerge over time: “love cherishes too the backpockets, / the pencil ends of childhood fears.”
Some poems convey her long-held, never-wavering political convictions, which she declares in language unmistakably and colorfully her own, as when she encourages her feminist readers to go to the opera instead of the movies because at least there the heroine is real, “fifty and weighs as much as a ’65 Chevy with fins.”
Living out to sea on Cape Cod settles her into the rhythm of seasons and provides poems of planting and harvests, odes to tomatoes and roses, tributes to the power and freedom of whales. And in these years she rediscovers her Jewish heritage, celebrating holidays and making of them something new and original.
She begins to examine her own legacy:
I have worn the faces, the masks
of hieroglyphs, gods and demons,
bat faced ghosts, sibyls and thieves,
lover, loser, red rose and ragweed,
these are the tracks I have left
on the white crust of time.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Connie Ramos, a woman in her mid-thirties, has been declared insane. But Connie is overwhelmingly sane, merely tuned to the future, and able to communicate with the year 2137. As her doctors persuade her to agree to an operation, Connie struggles to force herself to listen to the future and its lessons for today....
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Romantic love and its power to shake a woman's life at any age is the subject of this new novel by Marilyn French. At the center, Hermione Beldame, in her sixties, a writer of romance novels (eighty-seven of them, an average of two a year for forty years). She is rich, sophisticated, self-made, often di-vorced, long widowed, and long finished with the notion of romantic love as a part of her life. Until, one day, at a party - she sees across the room an attractive man who finds his way to her. What begins as a charming conversation between two strangers develops into much more (and much less) as the novel charts the course of a brief encounter that disrupts the equilibrium - the hard-won serenity - of its heroine, seizing her heart and her life during her summer with George.
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Marge Piercy, a writer who is highly praised as both a poet and a novelist, turns her gaze inward as she shares her thoughts on life and explores her development as a woman and writer. She pays tribute to the one loving constant that has offered her comfort and meaning even as the faces and events in her life have changed -- her beloved cats.
With searing honesty, Piercy tells of her strained childhood growing up in a religiously split, working-class family in Detroit. She examines her myriad friendships and relationships, including two painful early marriages, and reveals their effects on her creativity and career. More than a reminiscence of things past, however, Sleeping With Cats is also a celebration of the present and the future, as Piercy shares her views on aging, creativity, and finding a lasting and improbable love with a man fourteen years younger than herself.
A chronicle of the turbulent and exciting journey of one artist's life, Sleeping With Cats is a deeply intimate, unforgettable story.
Her marriage over, her life unraveling, writer Leila Landsman turns to work and finds herself drawn to the sensational story of Becky Burgess, a young woman accused of killing her husband with the help of her teenage lover. Becky thought she'd escaped the grim poverty of her childhood when she married up, but her husband was soon planning to trade her in for a newer model. And that's just what happened to Mary Burke, whose middle-class life ended with her divorce. Now Leila's housecleaner, Mary has a secret: she is homeless.
They are three very different women who share the same longings: to be seen for who they are, to be valued and loved, but most of all, to have a physical and emotional home that can't be taken away....
In this collection of short stories, bestselling author Marge Piercy brings us glimpses into the lives of everyday women moving through and making sense of their daily internal and external worlds. Keeping to the engaging, accessible language of Piercy’s novels, the collection spans decades of her writing along with a range of locations, ages, and emotional states of her protagonists. From the first-person account of hoarding and a girl’s narrative of sexual and spiritual discovery to the recounting of a past love affair, each story is a tangible, vivid snapshot in a varied and subtly curated gallery of work. Whether grappling with death, familial relationships, friendship, sex, illness, or religion, Piercy’s writing is as passionate, lucid, insightful, and thoughtfully alive as ever.
"FRENCH'S MOST FOCUSED, DARING, AND POWERFUL NOVEL."
Famed presidential advisor Stephen Upton has suffered a stroke, and his four very different daughters gather in his perfectly appointed mansion outside Boston to await his death or recovery. Elizabeth, cold and calculating, fights hard for every success and pays a high price; beautiful Mary has always needed a man to support her tastes, but time is catching up with her; Alex can't remember her childhood and wants to know why; and Ronnie, illegitimate and proud, refuses to acknowledge her feelings for the man they all love and hate. In the weeks to come, they will learn one another's terrible secrets, and the astonishing truth about the life they might have shared....
Once again, Marilyn French has written an extraordinary novel of our times--a novel of family love and resentment, of sisterhood and fatherhood, of acceptance and rejection and the search for peace.
"SHOULD STRIKE A CHORD WITH EVERY WOMAN who is willing to think honestly about the place of femaleness in the world."
More than 150 poems from her seven books of poetry written between 1963 and 1982.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Her seventh and most wide ranging collection. In the 1st of 2 sections, the poems move from the amusingly elegiac to the erotic, the classical to the funny. The 2nd section is a series of 15 poems for a calendar based on lunar rather than solar divisions
By the author of the groundbreaking feminist novel THE WOMEN'S ROOM, THE BLEEDING HEART is a compelling novel about the devastating power of marriage -- and the unexpected power of love. A love story for and about adults, it speaks to the hearts and minds of women and men everywhere.
Dolores and Victor are both both successful, both Americans living alone in England. They meet and fall instantly in love, only to discover they agree on nothing. From the start they know they have only one year together. Their affair is sometimes bitter, always passionate, and, in the end, an extraordinary revelation for them both.
"A monumental achievement." -- Cosmopolitan
Dinah, Willie, and Susan have long outlived the scandal associated with their ten-year-old menage-a-trois. Dinah, an avante-garde compler, treasures her independence. Yet it takes Willie's kindness and Susan's fire to sustain her. Willie is a left-wing sculptor in a right-wing age. And Susan, his wife, is a fabric designer who craves glamour, wealth, and the attentions of the summer people who visit Cape Cod every year. Then one summer, the balance shifts. Passions are tested, honesty forsaken, and the trio must face the changes brought by their beautiful visitors . . .
"This epic story is fueled with intense commitment and sensuousness."
LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Vida was their star--the beautiful, charismatic radical from the pages of LIFE magazine--the symbol of the passionate rebellion of the sixties. Now, ten years later, the shouting is over, but Vida is still on the run. Staying in Network hideouts, traveling disguised, fearing every glance, she finds her best protection is her distrust of everyone--a lesson learned from past treacheries. And now, knowing the dangers, she finds herself warming again toward a man, an outcast ten years younger than herself.