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Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

Fear of Flying (1973)

by Erica Jong

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (48)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
This book took me very much by surprise. There were mixed reviews online but I thought it was a very bold work of genius. When you consider that this was first published in 1974, it must have sounded a resounding crack across the bows of HMS Misogyny.

Jong has created one of the enduring characters of literature with Isadora Wing, the mixed up narrator who relates the relational messes she has found herself in throughout her life. Flashbacks to previous relationships puncture the contemporary narrative of a trip with her psychoanalyst husband to a convention in Vienna where she meets what she believes will be the answer to all her romantic and sexual longings.

In a way, Adrian does provide her with the answer, and it’s not necessarily one that feminists at the time, less so today, would feel altogether satisfied with. Still, for me, the novel’s strength lies in the way Jong used Isadora to explore what the roles of men and women in marriage actually mean.

Jong writes in a deceptively racy style. It’s easy to forget that there are layers of imagery here starting with the title and continuing throughout this very quotable novel. There were a lot of passages I felt compelled to read out to the wife for her view. It’s a great discussion starter.

This was an important book in the feminist canon, not necessarily because it provides all the answers, but because it honestly deals with the dilemmas of the issues involved. I liked the fact that it raised more questions than it answered, that the ending didn’t wrap everything up perfectly but left some element of doubt about whether Isadora had done the right thing. That seems to me a much more honest approach than attempting some Rand-ish polemic about the ideal roles of men and women. Life is messy; two lives together messier still. And that’s the way it will always be. ( )
  arukiyomi | Jun 14, 2014 |
I thought this was going to be dated, but it was still relevant today and quite insightful. She was so open about her feelings about herself, the men in her life, and about sexuality that it still was a little shocking but in a good way. ( )
  creynolds | May 23, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As others have noted, Isadora lacks subtlety as a character. She is over-aggressive and over-sexed. But when this novel was written, it was challenging established ideas of femininity and female libido, so I am forgiving of that flaw. I don't think the world would have gotten a subtle message in the 1970s, so I commend Jong for writing such a brave book back then. That said, this book hasn't aged all that gracefully. ( )
  gwendolyndawson | May 2, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I remember reading this - sneaking it off my mother's bookshelf - when I was a pre-teen. It was terribly shocking and exciting then, and even a few years later after my coming of age and a lot more scintillating reading! But today, being older and wiser and with our media saturated with sexcapades, I read this new edition from a totally different perspective. It's sadder than I remembered. Isadora is more tragic and lonely, it's less funny. Plus her wealthy lifestyle is not something I can really resonate with. I appreciate how groundbreaking this book was, and Jong's style is accessible and easy to read - she's a great writer. The content, however, didn't enthrall me this time around. ( )
  LitChick1 | Apr 19, 2014 |
Erica creates almost an anti-heroine in this book. Isadora Wing is a Jewish American Princess, native New Yorker, & has the market on guilt cornered. She's a poet & a writer, married to her second husband Bennett, a shrink she married shortly after her first marriage to Brian was annulled. Brian had a psychotic break, tried to strangle her, & was moved to a private mental institution in California. Her family is quixotic, radical, & also artistic, everything that Bennett is not. Her adventures begin when she accompanies Bennett to Vienna for a conference for psychoanalysts, & she is smitten with Adrian Goodlove, another analyst. Written with self deprecating humor, Isadora's journey of self discovery is very funny, imminently readable, & I can see why it made both the Banned/Challenged book list for it's liberating ideas when it comes to women & their own sexuality, which she speaks openly about, & the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list.

Written in 1973, this book is indeed a modern day classic, & I'm really glad I finally read it ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erica Jongprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiner, JenniferIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Bigamy is having one husband too many. Monogamy is the same.
- Anonymous (a woman)
Grace Darling Griffin
And for my grandfather
Samuel Mirsky
Thanks to my intrepid editors:
Aaron Asher and Jennifer Josephy
And thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts for a grant which helped.
And thanks to Betty Anne Clark, Anita Gross, Ruth Sullivan, Mimi Bailin, and Linda Bogin
First words
There were 117 psychoanalysts on the Pan Am flight to Vienna and I'd been treated by at least six of them.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Isadora Wing was afraid of flying.

She was also afraid of her own beauty, brains, physical appetites, intellectual and sexual curiosity. 
Then while on a trip to Vienna with her brilliant, handsome psychiatrist husband, Isadora met the man who embodied her most erotic fantasies - and who offered her a chance to conquer all her fears.
What happened to Isadora then was a mad, adulterous bolt across Europe in the wildest, most uninhibited sexual extravaganza that is no longer for men only.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451209435, Paperback)

The 30th Anniversary special!

Originally published in 1973, the ground-breaking, uninhibited story of Isadora Wing and her desire to fly free caused a national sensation—and sold more than twelve million copies. Now, after thirty years, the iconic novel still stands as a timeless tale of self-discovery, liberation, and womanhood.


(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:43 -0400)

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"Originally published in 1973, the groundbreaking, uninhibited story of Isadora Wing and her desire to fly free caused a national sensation. It fueled fantasies, ignited debates, and even introduced a notorious new phrase to the English language. In The New York Times, Henry Miller compared it to his own classic Tropic of Cancer and predicted that "this book will make literary history, that because of it women are going to find their own voice and give us great sagas of sex, life, joy, and adventure." And it went on to sell more than twelve million copies, on the way to becoming a genuine cultural icon. Now the revolutionary novel known as Fear of Flying still stands as a timeless tale of self-discovery, liberation, and womanhood."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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