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The strange and fantastical novel is composed primarily of the fictional Marcus's explanation of the leaders, rules, and history of the Silentists, as well as a description of his youth spent in the group's Ohio compound as a test subject and sire for a planned "emotion-free" society. Most accurately classified as science fiction (though often darkly humorous), Women maintains an unsettling balance between absurdity and horror, shifting its subject from the academic to the domestic. Yet throughout, the narrators maintain a cold distance between themselves and the events they're describing, reflecting their lack of emotion through an objective tone and placing the reader squarely in the emotional vacuum in which the fictional Marcus is raised. The effect is akin to viewing the world from behind glass, or from behind a layer of shed skin, as the fictional Marcus does when he wears the empty husk of his sister. A heart can be found in the novel, however, that is well worth discovering: beyond its detached creepiness lies an allegory deeply concerned with the dangers of conformity and the maniacal pursuit of human advancement. --Ross Doll
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Any attempt to describe this book is confusing. Roughly speaking, it is a book made out of language. Language is the main character. Read morePublished on September 21, 2013 by Vicente T. Lozano
The Age of Wire and String
Notable American Women
If, in the `postmodern' canon David Foster Wallace made claim to the footnote and Mark Z. Read more
A surreal manifestation of the brilliant, twisted mind of Ben Marcus, who powers his prose with the dark heart of a poet. Read morePublished on March 23, 2008 by Book Duck
This may very well be the strangest book I've ever read. (I am excluding work with photos or art.) The language Marcus uses has a very simple pattern, in the way he habitually... Read morePublished on November 12, 2007 by Denver Dilettante
Marcus is one of those contemporary writers who thinks that "challenging" prose is somehow a substitute for a good story. Read morePublished on January 14, 2007 by Jeremy Holmes
Like 1984, A Clockwork Orange, and (oh, why not say it) Rush 2112, Notable American Women is a dystopian fantasy. Dystopian is basically the opposite of Utopian. Read morePublished on April 28, 2006 by MichelleFromPA
This gorgeously writtenl mind-bender of a novel is not for people who are afraid to think. Read it and savor the delicate, bracing flavor of brainpops made of cognitive salami. Read morePublished on December 5, 2005 by Roger Carlson
Just didn't work. Instead, read Kafka, Beckett, Borges, anybody with soul and adult concerns. There is something silly and insulting about the use of Ohio, as if name dropping a... Read morePublished on October 10, 2003