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Down Among the Women

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The novels Down Among the Women (1971), Female Friends (1974), and Remember Me (1976) focus on various women’s reactions to male-and-female relationships.

Her friends are no happier: Sylvia, a born victim; respectable Jocelyn, hopelessly trapped in her dull, bourgeois existence; Audrey, who finally breaks out of her conventional life; and Helen, beautiful, vibrant, and doomed. Not being familiar with this author’s work, I had little idea of what to expect, and all through the opening pages I was expecting a kind of social comedy with a political edge. I think perhaps because at this time of my life, this sentence completely resonated: "There is nothing more glorious than to be a young girl, and there is nothing worse than to have been one. Rebelling against the 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘴 𝘲𝘶𝘰 that gives them the role not so much of the 'weaker sex', as of the 'accessory sex', functional to the male one, seems inevitable in the course of the story- yet, not all of them have a happy ending after trying. Hovering about are Scarlet's friends and protegÈes, all of whom exist only in relation to the men whose beds they grace, covet or leave.Already we have a fairly complex picture emerging, but this is before we have even introduced the other characters in this multi-faceted book. If we look upward, it’s not toward the stars or the ineffable, it’s to dust the tops of the windows.

Questo perché il romanzo si presenta come un ritratto ironico della società inglese degli anni '50 del secolo scorso, con focus sul genere femminile; ti inganna, facendoti approdare a cuor leggero alle tragedie che attendono queste donne che (quando lo realizzi, è straziante) non sono neanche per un attimo le reali proprietarie delle loro vite. It’s a wry, smart, darkly funny book, and there are occasional glimpses of an early 70s hipsterism in the style that I sometimes found grating. I used to love them, but now I’m reading this one, it seems like a parody, since she has such a characteristic, flippant style. That because the novel presents itself as an ironic portrait of English society in the 1950s, with a focus on the women; it deceives you, making you land lightly at the tragedies that await these women who (when you realise it, it's heartbreaking) are not even for a moment the real owners of their lives. Web icon An illustration of a computer application window Wayback Machine Texts icon An illustration of an open book.The novel is by now a bit dated, but I think that it stands out as a testament to the way women where perceived and perceived themselves in that era. These women can only try to survive; and then, look with hope at the new generations, raised differently from how their mothers had raised them, destined to break with many of the patterns that had stifled them - once they all land in the tumultuous 1960s. Over the course of twenty years, they will discover it’s never too late to become the women they are meant to be. The novel follows a group of 'friends' as they grow into women, amidst the patriarchal structure of post-war British society.

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