Customer Reviews


127 Reviews
5 star:
 (53)
4 star:
 (37)
3 star:
 (25)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (7)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woman on the Edge of Time had me on edge of my seat
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...
Published on May 30, 2003 by Joanna Daneman

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Have Time, Will Travel
I am not a fan of the sci-fi genre; however, this novel has encased a multitude of thought provoking topics. Connie Ramos is a struggling Hispanic woman, who finds her life twisting from one soap opera drama to another. In her early years, Connie battles stereotypes, poverty, sexual scandals, and abuse; all of which contribute to the individual that she becomes. After...
Published on February 11, 2005 by Tess Swinson


‹ Previous | 1 213 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woman on the Edge of Time had me on edge of my seat, May 30, 2003
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woman On the Edge Of Time, January 16, 2000
By 
Kristina Portney (Bremerton, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, September 10, 2003
By 
Barb Caffrey "writer-for-hire" (In a Midwest State (of mind), USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
"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.
Anyway, Connie isn't listened to about anything, so when her niece comes in and begs for sanctuary, Connie probably should have sent her away. But Connie's kindhearted; she doesn't. That kind act gets Connie beaten and thrown into a mental hospital; while trying to defend her niece (who then promptly goes back with her abusive partner, a pimp), she broke the pimp's nose. He gets Connie committed, as she has a previous history of mental problems.
From there, things go from bad to worse; Connie is forced to participate in experimental treatments in order to ever go home, because no one really wants her anywhere. The state doesn't care, her family doesn't care, and the one man who loved her is dead. (Her daughter is either in foster care or has been adopted out.)
She makes contact with the future and manages to use those brief glimpses to continue to hope and fight her situation. She pretends to acquiesce, but is in actuality looking for a way out -- if it'll only present itself.
The subplot about the evil future, to me at least, is a metaphor. There are always choices. Even the best choice can lead to ill; you can only minimize the consequences.
At any rate, Connie's situation is appalling. Her only true friends are those in her head -- those from the future. Yet she continues to care about the present, despite having almost nobody or nothing care about her except as an object.
Anyway, Ms. Piercy does not normally write s/f. Her world-building skills, compared to contemporary s/f authors, are not what most s/f readers look for. There aren't elaborate scenes sketched; there aren't large amounts of technology lavishly explained.
I feel that is irrelevant. Ms. Piercy has enough detail of the future, both good and bad, to explain what's going on, and that's enough for me. I liked her additional words (per for a personal pronoun, rather than he or she, for example), and I enjoyed her descriptions of how things were done in the various encampments/towns. And really, this is a highly personal novel; it's psychological, and can be read on many levels. That level of minutiae would only distract, not add.
Those who want more conventionality need to look elsewhere.
As it stands, I think "Woman on the Edge of Time" is about love, and how it can conquer anything. Granted, the love I'm talking about isn't about love for another -- or even self-love, although Connie does have those (especially for her daughter, who was taken away from her during her dark period). It's about love for humanity, which is what makes it so unique in science fiction. Ms. Piercy tackled a huge theme, and made it work.
There aren't anywhere near enough stars to give this work, so I'll just say five stars plus, with the highest recommendation possible.
Barb Caffrey
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, fasure..., July 20, 1999
By A Customer
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?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars human utopia, May 23, 1999
I forgot my dreams and Marge Piercy put them in a book. How wonderful to read about a place with compassion; one that nurtures a person's talents, a community that actively diffuses anger between members, where all people have clean air, water, food. Just imagine a place where no one dies of hunger. No racism, sexism, ageism, classism! Then juxtapose it with a minority woman of impending middle-age, low income, low education, imprisoned in a mental institution. An amazing book, pointing out the ills of our society and the possiblities inherent in human beings on this earth.
A refresher course in all the good that compassion can do. Started reading the Dalai Lama's book "The Art of Happiness" and found amazing parallels.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!, March 25, 2002
By 
Michelle Benjamin (Chicago, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I read this in a Women's Lit course while in college. Almost 10 years later, this remains one of my favorite books. In fact, one year I bought it for everyone I knew, because I think that it is that relevant a story and that well-written. Piercy weaves futuristic sci-fi elements and a feminist perspective into a beautiful. yet chilling story. This text exists on so many different levels and it works well on all of them. It's a great story as a stand-alone text. On a philosophical level, it begs the reader to comprehend what truth is, and its subjectivity. It is empowering as a novel about a strong woman who is able to transcend race, gender and class inequalities. 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. The world that Piercy creates in the perspective futures of our world makes me think "how wonderful that would be" and then, conversely, with the alternate, "oh my god." Read it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a world worthy of the grandeur of life, June 11, 2003
By 
Tony Thomas (West Palm Beach Florida USA) - See all my reviews
Marge wrote this book in the glow of the radicalization of the 1960s and 1970s. How right what she talks about seemed then, and how needed does this seem now. Right now the people who frame the discourses, own everything, buy the politicans, and do stealing and murder on an international basis, try to convince working people, people with a heart, people around the world that their choices are the only choices. In this book we find that so many of the limitations of our society can be sweetly transcended, whether we are talking about race, sex, money, adults children. This is not a dreamers book, but a book that talks about how life could simply be truly human with what we know, with what we can do, when the choices aren't dictated by patriarchy, when the choices aren't dictated by capitalism, when the choices are dictated by biollionaire liars, by men elected to presidencies who flew around in planes owned by Emron. Morever, consistent with every sentence Marge ever wrote, including things I think are just plain wrong, is a simple unromanticized, gut understanding that human beings are better than all the crap thrown at it and we will perserve, we will build a world worthy of the grandeur of life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Might Be: A Worthwhile Fantasy in Time, January 1, 2007
By 
I am a great fan of Marge Piercy's poetry - her skill at using simple and everyday language to capture everyday scenes and sensibilities in the inner and outer lives of strong women, and to shine upon them a sublime literary light - and so it was not difficult to convince me to break out of my usual reading, decidedly not science fiction, to spend time with this "time-traveling novel." That play on words, mind you, is quite intentional. I soon sensed, within the first pages, that this is the kind of story plotline (and the writing skill to make it succeed convincingly) that traverses time and retains meaning and interest, no matter the year. Some things change, some things never do.

Being familiar with Piercy's poetry and something of her own biography, I expected a feminist approach to the plot. Indeed, it was there, and this is why I was soon confident in my enjoyment of the novel, even if it did veer from my more typical reading choices. Whatever the genre, I like to read about strong and unique women. "Woman on the Edge of Time" has plenty, in the now and in the to be.

Consuelo (Connie) in the 1970s lives a life of poverty and abuse, when domestic violence is as common as air, and women survive all too often by selling themselves out as objectified beings, bodies without minds, without souls. A pimp beats up "his" women to maintain order, in this case, to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, and a scene of violence ensues, in which Connie is made the villain rather than the victim. She can say nothing to prevent herself from being institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital, called mad, whereas the male's voice, that of the pimp's, holds unquestioned weight. He has her out of his way to create more victims.

I couldn't help but draw parallels here with another literary classic, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey, and even some undertones of Margaret Atwood's "Handmaid's Tale," but Piercy succeeds in making this story her own. Connie strives to maintain her sanity by traveling in time to another life in 2137, assisted by future person (Piercy uses "per" as pronoun, thus avoiding gender designation of she or he in this future), Luciente, a kind of almost andrygenous being. In that future, she explores a life much more pleasing, if not utopian, and in series of trips, explores this future world in its treatment of relationships, the interchange of genders and generations, the workings of community and government, the balance between work and play, spiritual evolvement, and even the occasional war. For it is not utopia, but a constant work in progress, however more evolved than our current day, with humankind in an ongoing mode of self-improvement.

No less fascinating is a shorter description of a darker parallel of life in the future, when Connie misses her usual destination and lands instead in a future that could just as easily, one fears, evolve from our current time. In this future, women are even more objectified than they are today, creatures resembling comic book and Barbie doll fantasy proportions, created by plastic surgery, produced specifically and only for the erotic pleasures of men, becoming sexual slaves. Mind reading allows for no privacy, no chance of escape. A woman might only think of the possibility of escape, and already she is reined in and punished. It is a world of callousness and cruelty, domination of gender over gender, power and greed ruling all, happiness for none.

In the hospital, woven through the story, Connie struggles for her sanity, as the doctors in power rule out any possibility of what they cannot understand, puzzled by her episodes of "unconsciousness," and many in the ward are forced to undergo brain-altering surgery. Connie, too, undergoes repeated surgeries. Her attempts at escape, sometimes in mind but sometimes also in body, can be heartrending, as she comes so close, so close...

This is a story worth reading, if not for intriguing storyline, than as a philosophical treatise on what could be, what might be, what a future for humankind might hold if we approach it with understanding. Whether Connie truly travels in time or only in fantasy is perhaps least important of all. Those who pick it up as science fiction fans might be disappointed if seeking high tech descriptions and complex alien worlds; this is not Piercy's intent. She is far more interested in exploring the evolvement of humankind if all are allowed to pursue their best, towards a world of harmony and a caring community that works on all practical levels.

While I still prefer Piercy's poetry to this sampling of her prose (my first, but probably not my last), her skill and imagination to produce worlds that intrigue as well as enlighten is worthwhile reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Utopian Text, January 15, 2007
This story resonates with anyone who enjoyed the message in Egalia's Daughter's or even the YA book, The Giver. It is not for the casual reader, as the time travel takes a bit to follow, but the emotive content is so superior, and the societal messages so clear, I think everyone should read this book at some point in his/her life. It is now one of my favorites, and the craft is so excellent, even a creative writer would love to examine its construction. A wonderful classic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, October 24, 1997
By A Customer
A wonderful read! I was told that this book fell into the genre of "feminist science fiction". Well, I'm not a sci-fi fan but I wanted to see what this could really be about. I loved this book. Piercy illustrates what a feminist utopia would look like, something I've never been able to envision. Anyone studying feminism should read it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 213 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Woman on the Edge of Time
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy (Hardcover - May 1976)
Used & New from: $17.97
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.