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Life Paperback – October 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Aqueduct Press; First Edition edition (October 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974655929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974655925
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,810,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Beautifully written and elegantly paced, this story conveys bold speculative concepts through intensely human characters. (Starred review) -- Library Journal, September 15, 2004

Like all of Jones's work, "Life" demands -- and amply repays -- close reading. -- Gerald Jonas, New York Times, November 14, 2004

Remarkably rich and sophisticated. -- Locus, November, 2004

More About the Author

Gwyneth Jones, born in Manchester UK, 14th February 1952, is the author of many novels for teenagers, fantasy, horror and thrillers, using the name Ann Halam, and several highly regarded sf and fantasy novels for adults. Her critical essays and reviews are collected in Deconstructing The Starships, 1999 and Imagination/Space 2009. Among other honours she's won two World Fantasy awards, the Children of the Night award, the Philip K Dick award, the BSFA award and the Pilgrim award for Science Fiction criticism. Several of her novels have been nominated for the Arthur C Clarke award, the latest being Spirit, 2009; she won the award for Bold As Love in 2002. She lives in Brighton, UK, with her husband and son, some goldfish and two cats called Ginger and Milo; likes old movies, practices yoga & has done some extreme tourism in her time. Hobbies include gardening, cooking, staring out of the window, and playing zelda.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
I highly recommend this to anyone who is currently or has endured graduate school in the sciences.
David Hart
I would say the author tries too hard to develop a story that intertwines all the characters, which only leads to superficial character development.
Rebecca Bross
Though the issues are very interesting and really make you think, the author seems to try too hard to make you notice.
Kent Brockman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Desino on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Life is a novel about a woman, Anna Senoz, as she makes her way through life as a scientist, a wife and a mother. The underlying theme that seemingly connects all these aspects of her life is sexuality. As a college student she freely explores her sexuality, in ways "nice girls" are not supposed to. During this time she winds up in a series of emotionally charged situations. As a wife, she struggles with the loss of a child due to miscarriage and the issue of infidelity. Anna finds herself in a situation familiar to many working women- she must decide how to balance career and family. Furthermore, she deals with the role reversal of having a husband who stays at home and is the primary child care-giver. Lastly, as a scientist she studies human reproduction as well as the underlying genetics of gender. Throughout the book, Anna's research leads up to the discovery of an interesting (though fictional) genetic finding that could have major implications on the definition of gender in our society. Along with this discovery, Anna is forced to deal with skepticism within the scientific community as well as unethical, discouraging mentors. The author chooses to have Anna focus narrowly on the science of her discovery, and as a result glosses over the social implications of such a finding. Although this book is entertaining and has some quality character development, I believe the true value of this book is as a catalyst for discussion. The author briefly touches on a myriad of interesting topics such as gender equality, the definition of gender in society, and even the expectations of marriage-all of which are thought provoking issues.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Hart on April 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
As someone who usually spends most of their time reading scientific literature instead of reading for fun...I truly enjoyed this book. The characters are well developed and multidimensional. Jones truly cares for her characters and uses them to illustrate a series of fables, or in some cases folleys. It proposes a general theory that is plausible (though scifi), and encapsulates the variety of differences we see in everyday life from person to person. I highly recommend this to anyone who is currently or has endured graduate school in the sciences. If you enjoy the dynamics of life, not just in terms of evolution, but how people change toward difficult situations to cope and manage...you will enjoy this book as well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By George on December 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
Anna Senoz is a young idealist at a south coast British university. Afraid to fall in love she turns to her friend Spence, an American exchange student, and makes him an offer he can't refuse...

"Life" is a science fiction novel with very little sci-fi, and a "big idea" that is a bit too subtle, and which takes rather a long time to become clear. But it's an incredibly satisfying read, and a wonderful, naked , painful picture of enduring love in an absolutely believable day-after-tomorrow world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kent Brockman on April 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Life" is a novel that initially finds our heroine, Anna, a promising young undergrad faced with matters pertaining to her personal life and career. Throughout the course of the novel the reader sees how these two affect one another in Anna's life. On the smaller scale, there are many issues that the author meshes together in this book. Two such issues are sexual liberation and career, important aspects of the feminist movement. The two are in constant conflict with the traditional societal and cultural views on women throughout the book and the author does a fairly decent job in exposing the reader to such. For example, the awareness of Anna's sexuality/sensuality is a very critical aspect in the early part of the story and lays the groundwork for what events proceed in her life. Another issue is scientific and personal integrity, the courage to stand up to defend your findings and beliefs, as Anna's discovery rocks the scientific world that is portrayed (which is not too far from what things really are like). Gender roles and how they relate to society are also touched upon.

Though the issues are very interesting and really make you think, the author seems to try too hard to make you notice. Insightful but I found it difficult to even care about the characters...
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Mudra on May 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Life is the tale of Anna Senoz, an English graduate student and scientist battling a conflict that faces many women in the modern world; career versus family and so-called "appropriate" gender roles in each. These two areas of Anna's life do battle on a daily basis; yet it should be mentioned that neither is all that stable in its own right. Challenges within her career run the spectrum from a difficult and myopic boss to a publicly controversial scientific discovery that brings with it trouble from countless directions. In her personal/family life she faces the challenges of a seemingly loveless marriage, doubts over her sexual "purpose" and the anguish of losing a newborn child. Her tale is poignantly "real" as we discover that she (like any of us) does not have sound answers to any of these problems. Rather, each dilemma accomplishes one of two things; either brings her one step closer to an understanding of herself and the world around her or slowly buries her beneath an increasing mass of life's burdens. Which will win out becomes its own compelling story.

While Jones does a wonderful job of establishing the fundamental conflicts (traditional gender roles in both family and career), I feel much of her message gets lost in complex characters, subplots and otherwise trivial events. It is this reader's opinion that Jones spent too much time trying to shock the reader with controversial and sometimes uncomfortable characters and situations and far too little time developing the main message of gender roles in the 21st century. In many ways it seems this book could not decide what it wanted to be - either a racy and provocative exploration of sex or a thought provoking exploration of gender. Unfortunately, with this reader anyway, it missed the mark on both counts.
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