NOMINATED FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE
A profoundly moving portrait of the complicated legacies of mothers and daughters, A Short History of Women chronicles five generations of women from the close of the nineteenth century through the early years of the twenty-first.
Beginning in 1914 at the deathbed of Dorothy Trevor Townsend, a suffragette who starves herself for the cause, the novel traces the echoes of her choice in the stories of her descendants—a brilliant daughter who tries to escape the burden of her mother’s infamy; a granddaughter who chooses a conventional path, only to find herself disillusioned; a great-granddaughter who wryly articulates the free-floating anxiety of post-9/11 Manhattan.
In a kaleidoscope of characters and with a richness of imagery, emotion, and wit, A Short History of Women is a thought-provoking and vividly original narrative that crisscrosses a century—a book for "any woman who has ever struggled to find her own voice; to make sense of being a mother, wife, daughter, and lover" (Associated Press)
"Wickedly smart . . . A gorgeously wrought and ultimately wrenching work of art."-Leah Hager Cohen, New York Times Book Review (cover review)
"Ambitious and impressive . . . Reminiscent of a host of innovative writers from Virginia Woolf to Muriel Spark to Pat Barker . . . A witty and assured testament to the women’s movement and women writers, obscure and renowned.”-Washington Post
"A subtle and profound book, as thought-provoking as it is moving."-Ann Packer, author of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier