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The Female of the Species: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – Bargain Price, August 4, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006171139X
  • ASIN: B003L1ZXBG
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,534,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A pining admirer describes the transformation of a middle-aged anthropologist from a vibrant and brilliant woman to a helpless and lovestruck victim, at the hands of a cruel younger man. PW hailed this "confident" and "consuming" first novel.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Gray Kaiser is a renowned anthropologist whose career took off when she discovered a remote African village lorded over by white man Corgie, whose plane crash had convinced the locals that he was a god. Now 59, Gray returns to Il-Ororen to make a film of the village as it was, with the help of her 40-ish assistant Errol. Their lives become entangled with Raphael, the 25-year-old grad student whose uncanny resemblance to Corgie makes him the star of the film and eventually Gray's first lover. This is a remarkable book: it is at once full of very predictable plot turns, yet compelling to read; the three main characters are often cliched and transparent, yet they are striking, original, memorable characters. Fascinating and warmly recommended, though perhaps not for those whose taste runs to sophisticated fiction. Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I hope she keeps writing for the rest of my life.
Georgina Spelvin
Ms. Shriver again masterfully describes the inner workings of a difficult, perhaps even unlikable, character.
Melissa McCauley
Too wordy, too little introspection, in a word, boring.
brian coolbaugh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Melissa McCauley VINE VOICE on June 28, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel centers around the larger-than-life Gray Kaiser, a queenly anthropologist who is famous for stumbling upon a previously unknown aboriginal culture in the heart of the jungle. What makes her famous is that another white person stumbled upon them first, Charles Corgie, a handsome charlatan who had the tribe believing he was a god. Instead of blowing Corgie's cover, Gray stayed on in the village as his co-goddess and observed the interplay until the bitter end. (This episode is deserving of a book in its own right, and I was disappointed that it was only a few chapters.)

In late middle age, the eternally youthful Gray is firmly established in the university system, queen of all she surveys, worshipped as a goddess by her assistant, Erroll. Then Raphael Sarasota enters the picture. Through this young man who looks so much like Corgie, Gray is able to unleash her sexual fantasies and finally finds that she actually needs another human being. A large part of the narrative is made up of Erroll's clever fantasies about Gray and Raphael. Raphael uses and discards Gray, who is painfully oblivious despite everyone's warnings. Ms. Shriver again masterfully describes the inner workings of a difficult, perhaps even unlikable, character. For another fabulously written character study, read WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Rodgers on October 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Lionel shriver novels but really struggled to engage with the characters. I simply did not care (first rule) and therefore did not finish it. Maybe it was worth it in the end but I am yet to find out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book, Schriever's first published book, is an interesting example of a relatively young person trying to capture the feelings of a once beautiful woman who is trying to assess her attractiveness to men as she ages. While the book is interesting, as a more mature woman, L believe Schreiver's assumptions about the feelings of older women, men and sex are way off base. However, is was very interesting to see, having read mnost of Schreiver's recent writings, how wonderfully she has matured as an author.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A woman discovers love and the subsequent loss for the first time in her life, a heart-wrenching journey. I can't wait to read more of Ms. Shriver's work.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Lionel Shriver's first published book (that I know of and I've been looking) that is not as tightly written as her later "The Bleeding Heart", about an older woman with power falling in love with a younger man and the reaction of her longtime assistant, friend, admirer, Errol. Explores the subtle power play in personal relationships. As with all her books the characters are well developed, the prose tight and flowing. Definitely worth reading
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mb@aol.com on July 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I read this book when it first came out and I loved it. I lent my copy to a friend, and for years it remained absent from my bookshelf. I came across it again in a second-hand shop and bought it to reread. It is as good the second time around. The characters are so real, and you can easily imagine how each one came to the exact point in their lives where paths cross in the story. I can't believe this book hasn't gotten more attention over the years. A classic in my library. Don't miss it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Natacha Jones on September 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was given "We Need to Talk About Kevin" by a friend and I couldn't put it down, so when I finished that novel I went looking for more of Shriver's work. "The Female of the Species" was the next one I read and I found Shriver to be an absorbing wordsmith and fantastic storyteller. I am looking forward to reading all of her works!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By carolyn woolley on September 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a very disappointing read. An unlikely plot, wooden characters, no inspiring moments. I would not recommend this novel.
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More About the Author

Lionel Shriver is a novelist whose previous books include Orange Prize-winner We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Post-Birthday World, A Perfectly Good Family, Game Control, Double Fault, The Female of the Species, Checker and the Derailleurs, and Ordinary Decent Criminals.

She is widely published as a journalist, writing features, columns, op-eds, and book reviews for the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Economist, Marie Claire, and many other publications.

She is frequently interviewed on television, radio, and in print media. She lives in London and Brooklyn, NY.

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