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The Norton Book of Women's Lives
by Phyllis Rose
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393312909, Paperback)This amazingly rich lode of memoirs, letters, and diaries jumbles together a great roster of 20th-century women, including Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Bernadette Devlin, Emily Mashinini, Sara Suleri, and Santha Rama Rau.
Le Ly Hayslip, the sixth child in a Vietnamese peasant family, describes a life pinched between the violence of Viet Cong revolutionaries and South Vietnamese republicans. Poet and lesbian feminist Audre Lorde writes about being introduced to the wonders of reading as a stubborn, bright, legally blind youngster. "I lay spreadeagled on the floor of the Children's Room like a furious brown toad, screaming bloody murder and embarrassing my mother to death," she recalls. Jill Ker Conway tells of her father's depression and death when a drought crushed their sheep farm in the Australian outback.
The excerpts drop us smack into the middle of each life; inventive cross-referencing encourages the reader to fly back and forth, sampling other writings on "filial exasperation," for example, or child's-eye views of romance and war. --Francesca Coltrera
(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 27 Jan 2013 19:20:02 -0500)
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