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Woman on the Edge of Time Mass Market Paperback – November 12, 1985


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; Reissue edition (November 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449210820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449210826
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 3.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

With honest and compelling prose, Marge Piercy delves into the mind of thirty-seven-year-old Consuelo (Connie) Ramos, a woman who exists on the fringes of life in contemporary New York City. Early in the novel Connie beats up her niece's pimp and is committed - again - to the psychiatric ward in Bellevue Hospital. The novel shifts between the horrible conditions in psychiatric wards and the year 2137, as Connie at first talks to, then time travels with Luciente, a person from that future time. Luciente lives in a non-sexist, communal country where people's survival is ensured based on need, not money. A sense of freedom, choice, and safety are part of Luciente's world; Connie's world is the complete opposite. Though Connie struggles to stand up for herself and others in the treatment centers, she knows that the drugs she is forced to take weaken her in every way. She knows she shouldn't be there, knows how to play the game, and tells herself "You want to stop acting out. Speak up in Tuesday group therapy (but not too much and never about staff or how lousy this place was) and volunteer to clean up after the others." But she knows she is stuck. Connie spends more time "away" with Luciente, trying to develop a way out of her hell. Ultimately Connie makes her plan of action, and the book leaves us with our own questions about Connie's insanity and decisions. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith

From the Inside Flap

Connie Ramos, a woman in her mid-thirties, has been declared insane. But Connie is overwhelmingly sane, merely tuned to the future, and able to communicate with the year 2137. As her doctors persuade her to agree to an operation, Connie struggles to force herself to listen to the future and its lessons for today....

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Customer Reviews

That felt a bit too contrived.
K. Gaskins
Piercy's novel is an entertaining and historically important work of Science Fiction, exemplifying many of the technological as well as feminist concerns of her time.
Robert T. Howey
Every time I read this book, I close the back cover and think how important the decisions I make in my own life are, no matter how minimal they seem to appear.
Michelle Benjamin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I could NOT put this one down from page one. "Woman on the Edge of Time" is a heartrending novel, written with exceptional skill by Marge Piercy, a celebrated American author who wrote this so-called utopian novel and was a major literary figure in the 70's.
In this novel, Consuelo (Connie) has an abusive family who imprison her in a mental hospital. She is treated with incredible brutality, her life is discounted to the level of dumpster garbage. But Connie is far from insane--despite the fact she finds out she can time-travel.
Connie visits Massapoisset, Massachusetts in the future via a kind of mental holographic sending-receiving abilities of a local resident there, Luciente. Life in the future is idyllic, though not perfect, and Connie develops relationships with people in the Cape Cod village. But life in the mental ward becomes increasingly dangerous. Connie has to make some difficult choices to survive.
What I like best about this novel, in addition to the style which is nearly perfect, is that there are levels to the story. If you look at the events in one light, you could come to an entirely different conclusion about Connie's sanity.
I absolutely recommend you read this book--and I am putting it on my "100 best American Novels" list. If you like Margaret Atwood ("Handmaid's Tale) you be likely enjoy "Woman on the Edge of Time." HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Kristina Portney on January 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was saddened to read negative reviews of this wonderful novel. Especially as most the negative reviews were based on how "feminist" this book is. If you consider feminism females being superior to males then no, you won't like this book. However if you feel that people should be judged on their abilities and achievements and that equality for all is a goal this is a book for you. Connie a poor woman in the 1970's is our hero. Able to recieve a sort of psychic impression of the future she travels back and forth seeing how events in her time affect the future. Labeled insane and put away in an asylum she reaches to the future to keep hold of her sanity. This book is a testament to how society's labels can steer your life's course.
Also found in this book are examples of possible futures, one to strive for and one to fear. The "utopian" future is especially wonderful to me for it shows a society that is not perfect but strives to overcome its imperfections, a world dealing with its problems not a world without problems. If you enjoy time travel and social issues in science fiction you may very well enjoy this book.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Barb Caffrey VINE VOICE on September 10, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Woman on the Edge of Time" is an excellent read. Marge Piercy did an outstanding job with this book; it was written in the 1970s, and does not appear dated. The themes are universal; how does anyone live with hopelessness and despair when their back is against the wall? And, can love win out over hate?
I'm not doing Ms. Piercy's book justice; there aren't any words to describe how profoundly meaningful this book is about those universal themes.
As for the plot, Connie Ramos is in her mid-30s, has had mental problems in the past, had her daughter taken away from her due to Connie's having gone through a rough patch in her life (her partner died and no one cared about it but her; she acted out and did drugs, which caused her to mistreat her daughter). No one seems to care about Connie; she's lost her looks, she has no money, and even her favorite people mostly just ignore her.
What astonishes me about Connie and her plight is that she is intelligent. She had some college, yet no one that deals with her ever considers her intelligent _or_ educated. And that's stupid; really, why didn't her welfare caseworker say, "Oh, Connie, you have a year or two of college. Would you like to be re-trained?" In real life, this might have happened.
However, this _is_ a fable; that can be overlooked. Besides, the social services in the 1970s in New York were terrible; they rivaled the situation that New York faces today after the terrorist attacks. There are too many people; it's very easy to get lost in the cracks. So this isn't a plot hole at all; it's a statement about how good people often get downtrodden through no fault of their own.
Read more ›
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I originally was given this book to read for a college course called "Utopia/Dystopia" and I must say I was skeptical when I started, but a fan by the time I finished. Everyone seems to refer to this work as a "Feminist" book, but I find it more Humanist than anything else. Both futures presented here are a little two dimensional, the Utopia is all squeaky clean and bright while the Dystopia is plastic evil through and through, but it's the ideas and the characters which make this novel shine. The concepts presented are very attractive and (in my opinion) very advanced for the period in which this was written (1976! Doesn't show a bit.). I'm a big fan of HG Wells and David Gerrold, and this novel fits in nicely with the former's Utopian visions and the laters complex character development.
Piercy's mid 70's world is spot on; dirty, brown, and paranoid. Her treatment of the insane is both sensitive and compelling, it's hard to think of a more desperate character than poor Connie. And the ending is sweet (ohhhh so sweet!) and pleasantly vague at the same time.
I'm a guy. I like guy things. But I'm also very fond of this book (I'd put it in my top ten) and the views of social equality it presents. This book will age nicely, I can see it as a classic in another few decades. Our society is on the cusp of the genetic revolution, who's side are you on?
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