I recently finished reading Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time.
I don’t intend to write a formal, full review but it was one of the most literate and grounded novels I’ve read. It called to mind — as it would for many others, I suspect — Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in its exploration of the inhumanity of institutionalized violence.
Since I have been consciously attempting to read more fiction by women, as I’ve noted the quality of my reading material hasn’t suffered in the least. This novel, though, stands near (but under) Jo Walton’s Among Others as among the very best I’ve read.*
Published in 1976, Woman on the Edge of Time feels much more contemporary than its publication date would suggest. In fact, Piercy accurately predicts many technologies that did not yet exist making it feel even more current than by all rights it should.
It’s rare enough that a novel takes the perspective of an overlooked, welfare-dependent woman who is past the age of being appealing to men. Even rarer is that it doesn’t snidely wink at the reader, seeming to say, “We both know that you are better than this.”
In short, Piercy’s work is highly recommended.
*If someone forced me to choose a favorite novel of all time, I’d say Among Others by Jo Walton.