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....
yipslsquirrel, April 13, 2008 (view all comments by yipslsquirrel)
This is among Marge Piercy's most ambitious novels,and one of her strongest. It is bitingly political without resorting to polemics; it is a highly readable and engaging story about despair, power, love, and violence of many types. The protagonist is a woman striped of legitimacy in society: a Mexican-American living in New York City who has been labeled as mentally ill. She has lost her much-loved daughter to the child protection system and her lover, the tender blind pickpocket, to the penal system in which he has died. And her version of the truth abnout the worldin which she lives, where her sister is being abused by a pimp, is discounted by all -after all, she is a mental patient and a convicted "child abuser."
Somehow, she is contacted by a utopian agrarian non-hierarchical society in the next century who treat her far better than anyone has or will treated her in her everyday life. These people are themselves in danger from invasion from a parallel-universe dystopian group. Their struggle to survive mirrors Connie's more personal battles,and she becomes a heroic figure while fighting for her own dignity in a system that is designed to strip her of exactly that.
Woman on the Edge of Time is a moving tale with the ring of authenticity about psychiatric power and its devastating effects of the poor and marginalized, alongside its science-fiction elements. This book was written decades ago, and its environmental and human rights messages ring at least as true today. Highly recommended.
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