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Terminal Velocity [Kindle Edition]

Blanche Mccrary Boyd
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $11.99
You Save: $3.01 (20%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

"In 1970 I realized that the Sixties were passing me by. I had never even smoked a joint, or slept with anyone besides my husband. A year later I had left Nicky, changed my name from Ellen to Rain, and moved to a radical lesbian commune in California named Red Moon Rising, where I was playing the Ten of Hearts in an outdoor production of Alice in Wonderland when two FBI agents arrived to arrest the Red Queen . . ."

So begins Blanche McCrary Boyd's brilliantly raucous account of self-styled feminist outlaws, their desperate adventures and extraordinary fates. Ellen, the narrator of Boyd's previous novel, The Revolution of Little Girls, this time pierces the heart of the sexual revolution in her quest to find a woman hero or--by default--to become one.

Ferociously paced, Terminal Velocity delineates six wonderfully engaging characters: Artemis Foote, for whom being rich, talented, and beautiful is a kind of game; Jordan, a messianic fugitive who becomes Ellen's lover; Amethyst Woman, a Marxist/Leninist dentist; Ross, a red-diaper baby and now a columnist for Ramparts; and Pearl, an art history professor turned hippie. At the center of this vortex is Ellen, prior to her transformation happily married and a rising young editor at a genteel publishing house in Boston. Together with these women, she is caught in the political and moral tailspin of the Sixties, living in a sexualized world-without-boundaries that leads them, eventually, to destruction, acceptance, and even redemption.

Deadpan funny and exquisitely moving, Terminal Velocity brings Boyd's lyricism, humor, and depth to material largely unexplored in American literature.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

This novel follows the adventures of Ellen, the narrator of Blanche McCrary Boyd's previous, Lambda Literary Award-winning novel, The Revolution of Little Girls. In this fast-paced romp, Ellen leaves her husband, changes her name (to Rain), takes drugs, and lives in a radical lesbian commune. Boyd's wry take on the 1970s feminist movement will be a fun read for people who didn't live through those years and wonder what they were like. There's a lot of snappy dialogue, and Boyd has fun playing with clichés about the women's liberation movement.


... the unlikely Ellen Burns (is) seemingly a happily married heterosexual, who will soon take a new lover and a new name. As it crisscrosses the country, Boyd's story moves from comic high jinks through seduction, betrayal and finally violence with a speed that at times feels dizzying. Indeed, before Ellen's reinvention is over, she will have lived the life of a fugitive on the run, witnessed a suicide attempt, received electroshock therapy in a mental ward, tried her hand at skydiving, attended Alcoholics Anonymous and worked on a late-night soap opera about "a Gone With the Wind-type family and their friendly, happy slaves." -- The New York Times Book Review, Andrea Barnet

Product Details

  • File Size: 339 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Contemporaries Ed edition (May 4, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JHYKA6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,243,391 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Thelma&Louise look like Charlie's Angels October 13, 1998
By A Customer
As far as I can see, this is the by far best novella about feminism/lesbianism/roughing it that I have ever had the pleasure to read. I stumbled across it in a bookstore (no, really, I tripped and fell on it) and started reading that very moment. I had the paperback, which, in my opinion, had a better cover than that of the hadcover. It took me all of an hour to finish Terminal Velocity. Ms. Boyd was really on to something when she wrote this novella. My favorite scene was the Tree of Life on the hotel floor. If I may be so proud, I'd say to any and all (lest the faint-of-heart swoon dead away) Read This Book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional June 13, 1999
By A Customer
"Terminal Velocity" is a brilliant mix...hysterical lines, precocious characters, soul wrenching emotions. I've read it at least 5 times, and I have never had a book affect me so deeply. The truth in the plot and experiences becomes evident through eloquent writing, unbelievable experiences, and almost tangible characters. And beyond all that, the book has the capability to make one feel as if the author is actually intending to bring out your deepest desires and strongest fears! Unforgettable book, to say the least.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feminist-bent risk-takers will relish... June 26, 1997
By A Customer
"Terminal Velocity" makes good on its title. From page one to finish, McCrary Boyd hauls you from Boston to hell and back, relenting only during gear shifts, when her main character Ellen Larraine (a.k.a. Rain, Evelyn) waxes lesbo-profound, blacks out on drugs or engages in spiritual sex with her cohorts, all of them as extreme, confused and real (well, surreal) as herself, if not as crazy. These ladies' ballsy sex and lawlessness outdo what derelictions we see these days, and possibly any that ever occurred among feminist extremists in the late 60s and 70s. But their dialogue falls weary, especially towards the end, when Ellen (back to her real name) finds AA and God. Perhaps meant to be self-mocking, the characters in "Terminal Velocity" coin empty truisms like, "Language is just a way to move your mouth," which McCrary Boyd uses to punctuate the plot. These phrases annoy, but highlight the futility of the whole revolutionary shebang... In spite of all the warring with society, each other and their own inner selves, intended to settle some score, the women bleed relationships, kill marriages, chase their children to religion and dizzy themselves for life. Constant in its painfully lucid account of tripping--of every kind--Terminal Velocity is great to read. Just don't read it with a hangover
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