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From critically acclaimed National Book Award nominee Kate Walbert comes this bestselling and provocative fiction work chronicling four generations of women, their aspirations, the limits imposed on them, and the sometimes startling choices they make in the world.
"Walbert's look at the 20th century and the Townsend family is perfectly calibrated, intricately structured and gripping from page one." (starred review)
"With a sharp eye and deft touch, Walbert explores the ways women's priorities and freedoms have evolved even as their yearnings have stayed remarkably constant." (starred review)
"Nearly everything about Kate Walbert's new novel is wickedly smart....Her writing wears both its intelligence and its ideology lightly. No manifesto, this is a gorgeously wrought and ultimately wrenching work of art."
"Walbert's books have all dealt, intelligently if dryly, with the lives of women, but this one is her most ambitious and impressive....A SHORT HISTORY OF WOMEN deals with complicated women living in complicated times, and if it is empathetic, it is also disturbing, as all moral conundrums are. It is a witty and assured testament to the women's movement and women writers, obscure and renowned."
"A SHORT HISTORY OF WOMEN is an elegant, ambitious exploration of how the choices and circumstances of earlier generations resonate for their descendents..."
From the Publisher
A SHORT HISTORY OF WOMEN begins with the story of Dorothy Townsend, a British suffragette who dies in a hunger strike, and then follows the lives of Dorothy's descendants as they become involved in the ever-shifting nature of the feminist revolution: Dorothy's daughter Evelyn becomes an pioneering woman scientist, and her granddaughters struggle with the demands of the 21st century. Though National Book Award-nominee Kate Walbert's themes are evident--the evolution of women's' roles and identities over the last hundred years--her novel never slips into didacticism, and her narrative and characters are vivid and engrossing. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the 10 Best Books of 2009.
Inspired by a suffragist ancestor who starved herself to promote the integration of Cambridge University, Evie refuses to marry and Dorothy defies a ban on photographing the bodies of her dead Iraq War soldier sons, a choice that embarrasses Dorothy's daughters.