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A Short History of Women

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Kate Walbert

[Photo by Deborah Donenfeld, from author website]

I wrote about Kate Walbert‘s A Short History of Women last week from Nantucket, noting that having just finished a Robert Crais crime novel, I intended to read it next. While stuck at JFK’s Terminal 5 Sunday night on our way home, I gave a progress report:

Now I’m reading it, and it’s beautiful. Understated, ironic, painful, humorous. Each chapter focuses on a particular woman among five generations, with only three featured at the point that I’ve reached in the book. (I’m about 2/5 through the book.) There’s the woman from whom everyone else is descended, her daughter, and her son’s daughter, the first appearing in 1898 and 1914, the second during WWI and just beyond, the third in the last decade, when she is a grandmother. You could say the book is about women who are tired of putting up with s— from men, if I may vastly simplify. I’ll say more after I finish it.

I finished it Tuesday. I don’t have much more to say, other than, “Read it!” It’s everything I said — beautiful, understated, ironic, painful, humorous. And it just gets better and better. If only it were twice as long. I so loved the characters. I would have enjoyed spending more time with them.

If you have an electronic reader, download it now. If not, I noticed it at the bookstore Tuesday afternoon, after I finished it, while looking at other Kate Walbert books, and saw that it’s recently out in paperback. Plus, as convenient as reading it on my Kindle and iPad was (I was traveling, after all), the physical book version is a lot more attractive, with its richer formatting. But no matter. Just read it, whatever the format.

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