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Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

Fear of Flying (1974)

by Erica Jong

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,900722,942 (3.42)114

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English (66)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (73)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
I consider this to be a bold, feminist book. Irritatingly, on its cover is a "generous" verdict by John Updike (difficult to understand why it had to be there in the first place): "most delicious erotic novel a woman ever wrote". Well, I suppose he did not get it.
Pg. 37
When I look back at my not yet thirty-year-old life, I see all my lovers sitting alternately back to back as if in a game of musical chairs. Each one an antidote to the one that went before. Each one a reaction, an about-face, a rebound.
Pg. 50
What I really wanted was to give birth to myself - the little girl I might have been in a different family, a different world.
Pg. 79/80
I know some good marriages. Second marriages mostly. Marriages where both people have outgrown the bullshit of me-Tarzan, you-Jane and ae just trying to get through their days by helping each other, being good to each other, doing the chores as they come up and not worrying too much bout who does what. Some men reach that delightfully relaxed state of affairs about age forty or after a couple of divorces. Maybe marriages are best in middl age. When all the nonsense fals away and you realize you have to love one another because you're going to die anyway.
Pg. 198
Ambivalence is a wonderful tune to dance to. It has a rhythm all its own.
Pg. 277
"Life has no plot" is one of my favourite lines. At least it has no plot whil you're still living. And after you die, the plot is not our concern. ( )
  flydodofly | Apr 9, 2019 |
This has been one of my favorites since I first read it at 18. I picked it up at a library when I was at a crossroads of my own, and I started laughing so hard I had to check it out so I could leave the nasty stares behind.

There is something about Jong's tone, which is candid and irreverent, that is so endearing. It creates an instant rapport with the reader, especially if that reader has found herself, more than once, thinking some of Isadora's exact same thoughts.

I thoroughly enjoy it, every time I read it. ( )
  jacks | Jun 24, 2018 |
This was much better than I'd expected. It's reputation does it no service, as I had kind of expected a feminist 50 Shades...but was so glad to find that was not what this book is! The sex is actually pretty minimal (for a book about sex) and not very hardcore. I liked Isadora, though I did find her problematic as a feminist figure because although the book ends with her possibly finding her identity beyond the men in her life, it's not a given and the whole of the book is spent with her defining herself by her relationships. Maybe if Jong had spent more time on that self discovery and less on talking about psychoanalysis, I'd have felt this book more rightly deserved it's feminist stamp. It is very of it's time but in the same breath it doesn't feel dated. A lot of ideas in it must have been quite radical when it first came out, and I love the bravery of it. The part where she unexpectedly gets her period is something that can still be taboo to talk about now, so it was pretty cool to see it being put out there like that. I just wish there had been more about Isadora and less about the men in her life. ( )
  SadieBabie | Jun 23, 2018 |
I really struggled reading this book. It has nothing really that appeals to me.
The form of feminism that's described, the sex, the first-person story. Didn't find it hilarious or interesting, just very annoying.

While reading, I just kept asking myself, ehy on earth this book has ever landed on the 1001-list and why it hasn't been removed. It must have something to do with the uproar it caused when it was first published. Otherwise, for the life of me I couldn't think of one... ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Oct 29, 2017 |
This is another book that I am uncomfortable rating with stars. I totally get what's great and important and funny about it. In it's own way, the book feels fresh and groundbreaking still. But it also struck me as almost unbearably sad and I am wondering how much of the social issues in the novel are still true for women today.
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jong, Ericaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Preis, AnnikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiner, JenniferIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Bigamy is having one husband too many. Monogamy is the same.
—Anonymous (a woman)
Alas! The love of women! It is known
To be a lovely and a fearful thing;
For all of theirs upon that die is thrown,
And if 'tis lost, life hath no more to bring
To them but mockeries of the past alone,
And their revenge is as the tiger's spring,
Deadly, and quick, and crushing; yet, as real
Torture is theirs — what they inflict they feel.

They are right; for man, to man so oft unjust,
is always so to women; one sole bond
Awaits them — treachery is all their trust;
Taught to conceal, their bursting hearts despond
Over their idol, till some wealthier lust
Buys them in marriage — and what rests beyond?
A thankless husband — next, a faithless lover —
Then dressing, nursing, praying — and all's over.

Some take a lover, some take drams or prayers,
Some mind their household, others dissipation,
Some run away, and but exchange their cares,
Losing the advantage of a virtuous station;
Few changes e'er can better their affairs,
Theirs being an unnatural situation,
From the dull palace to the dirty hovel :
Some play the devil, and then write a novel.
         — Lord Byron (from Don Juan)
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.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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Wikipedia in English


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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:42 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"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)

» see all 10 descriptions

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