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Airless Spaces Paperback – March 1, 1998

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In the century I'm most familiar with, the 20th, the explosion was never-ending, the pieces tinier and tinier. Shulamith Firestone, in her radical insider's tale, informs us repeatedly like lightly pelting rain that all of us are vanishing in a century of institutions that take and take until everyone has gone away and there's no one left to shut the door." Eileen Myles



"This book comes out of a long lonely adventure. A season in hell. The result is a series of devastating observations made entirely without rhetoric. It operates like a parable—deceptively simple and stark, almost imagistic as little pieces fits together with little pieces, pretending to be about small outcast lives when in fact it is an encyclopedia of our age—a harrowing record of what really goes on among us where the wounds of life bring on the invasion of institutions which inflict still more suffering—a stifling atmosphere of isolations where souls are automatically and needlessly lost. This is a prophetic book with enormous consequences since the airless paces multiply now and begin to take over." Kate Millet

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Product Details

  • Series: Semiotext(e) / Native Agents
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Semiotext(e) (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570270821
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570270826
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.3 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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For those of us, who have (somehow) avoided mental institutions, Ms Firestone is our proxyguide of 'what to avoid'. The amazing thing about her writing, is its clarity within the fog enshrouded material (her one-year confinement in Bellevue). I cannot praise, sufficently, the effort contained within this slim opus. I love Shulamith Firestone!
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Shulamith Firestone has long been important to feminists' understanding of social institutions, injustices, and struggles. Airless Spaces adds to our understanding of an institution and experience we too often refuse to examine: hospitals for the mentally ill and mental illness itself. In a series of stark and riveting short stories, Firestone recounts the lives of those who move in and out of hospitals, rely on government, medical, and other social assistance for their survival, and fail or refuse to eke out lives recognizably "normal." As someone whose mother suffers from and has been hospitalized with bipolar disorder, I read this book as a gift. I am grateful to Shulamith Firestone for helping me to understand the lives led by my mother and those with whom she spends her days. I have a better sense now of the sorrow, humor, madness, desperation, and fantastic with which they contend daily. Too often we imagine the mentally ill as having no lives; Shulamith Firestone provides us with a picture of the difficult but nonetheless _lived_ lives of the mentally ill. This is an important and generous book.
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By A Customer on July 31, 1998
Firestone doesn't waste words in this plain and haunting look at life in and out of mental institutions. It was a quick read -- one afternoon -- that stayed with me for many days. There is very little analysis here, no deep insight into how people become ill or wind up in the hospital; just stark, honest, sometimes brutal observations on their lives during and after they have been there. I haven't been so frightened, for myself and for others walking the fine line of sanity, since reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (a very different yet similarly evocative book) years ago.
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Shulamith Firestone, author of the classic feminist text "Dialectic of Sex" and important early women's liberation activist in the late Sixties has turned her considerable writing skill to fiction. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every story is polished and honed to perfection like a stone rounded and smooth by water.
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