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Other Women Hardcover – October 12, 1984
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A triumph! Witty, acute, and compassionate....Alther has great emotional range. She can give you the hush of New Hampshire woods in the winter. She can get a sad smile out of you, [and] she can make you laugh. -- Baltimore Sun, Nov.11, 1984
Alther's genius as a novelist is her ability to capture and juxtapose the odd combinations of personality, gender, class, culture, family life and chance that shape human destinies.... Artfully counterpointing the feelings of client and therapist, Alther demonstrates the terror and comfort generated by the psychotherapeutic process....Her analysis of the failure of Caroline's relationship with her lover Diana is one of the most original, poignant and refreshing passages I've read about a lesbian relationship gone sour....Alther, like the fictional character of Caroline, has grown and developed as a novelist. By focusing her enormous energy and appetite on a single, subtle and deep relationship, rather than creating a complex universe of characters, she has produced an important and satisfying novel about the human psyche. -- Jane Futcher, San Francisco Chronicle, Oct.28, 1984
Rich, multi-dimensional, and thoroughly involving....Lisa Alther takes a quantum leap forward. -- Mother Jones, Dec., 1984
From the Inside Flap
In her first novel, KINFLICKS, published in 1976, Lisa Alther gave us an icon for the sixties and seventies -- a young woman furiously and hilariously carving out her life amid the tumult of the times. Her second novel, ORIGINAL SINS, charted the complex passage from childhood to adulthood by exploring the volatile dynamics in a group of friends. Now, in OTHER WOMEN, the main characters have grown up -- but they've survived childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood only to find that maturity presents the biggest problems yet. And in their story, Lisa Alther hits her stride, giving us an exuberant, warm, funny, moving, altogether captivating novel as she takes us into the lives and hearts and minds of two wonderfully compelling and appealing women.
Top customer reviews
I generally like books that tell stories from multiple perspectives, but the author of this book was unable to clearly switch between characters so that the shifting perspectives became confusing. Furthermore, it just dragged on and on with middle class white female angst. Yes, the character's were traumatized at some point in their lives. It just took forever for them to deal with it. I never finished the book because I got to a point where I felt "enough already!"
If you have had a good experience with a counselor, dealing with problems of the past or current ones, this will feel familiar. I think everyone should have a good counselor once in a while to air the mental stuff that you might not want to weigh down your friends and family with. And here in Other Women there were plots and characters that felt so real that I was sorry the book ended. I think I might read it again, sometime.
Though this book ended quite well, all threads neatly sewn up, I still wish there was more. I want to see what happens next. We are left with ideas as to how life might continue, but I knew I would miss all these people as much as the real people in my life. I like when an author can do that. She created a reality that felt real.
Just saying that made me smile. Wasn't it because Original Sins felt so real that I hated it? I think I could relate more with the characters in Other Women much more deeply than I could with the characters in Original Sins. So maybe that is why the reviews on both books had such a variety of ranks. I guess it has to do with your own viewpoint of the world.
This is one book I will have to buy someday. I think many will love it as much as I did.
It is interesting that some of the commenters liked Alther's other books but not this one; I bought the other ones after reading this one thinking they would be as good and they left me wanting. I also lent Other Women out to family and friends and had mixed reviews. I disagree with anyone who claims that it lacks depth and has no story or character development. It does date itself in places.
It certainly is not for everyone but I think it is a must-read for anyone in the therapy profession, period. The therapy sessions focus almost exclusively on nurture (vs nature) which I think over simplifies matters; but a few scenes outside of the therapy sessions do recognize the power of temperament. We are definitely more than just a product of our environment.