This new book by Ms. Dimaline just gets better and better, moving from YA to adult fiction. Imagine a young Metis woman on a search for a spoon to reassemble a coven of 7 witches. Imagine that a deliciously evil male Benanmanti witch hunter pursues her with deadly intent. This is a subversive feminist story that is exciting and compulsively readable, mixing danger with humour. Highly recommended. By the way, the title is an anagram for coven!
When Women Were Dragons – Kelly Barnhill
This is a brilliant book of speculative fiction. Imagine America in 1955 – more than 640,000 women undergo a Mass Dragoning. Alex is an almost 9-year-old girl who asks the sensible question – why did some women transform into dragons (her aunt) but not others (her mother)? What if the official response is denial? Information is ignored and suppressed – this is the McCarthy era after all. Suffice it to say that these are not Game of Thrones dragons, and many return to their communities, but for what purpose? And finally, libraries and librarians have important roles! Although there is much feminist rage, this is ultimately about women having choices. HIGHLY recommended.
The Testaments – Margaret Atwood
As a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments is equally compelling but with a very different tone. Whereas The Handmaid’s Tale had a single narrator (Offred), The Testaments (set 16 years later) has three voices: two very different young women, one raised in Gilead and one raised outside, and the notorious Aunt Lydia. The resulting story is less introspective with more action, thus less reactive. The seeds of dissent are outlined clearly and logically with some Machiavellian motivations. This is a page turner, a completely engrossing read.
The Power – Naomi Alderman
This is an excellent example of speculative fiction. Imagine if young women acquire/discover a new physical power, an electrical discharge so by touch they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. This is the ultimate manifestation of girl power! Now imagine the impact of this fierce new female power on religion, politics and crime. This book takes us on an imaginative journey into an alternate reality with many elements that resonate in today’s world. Thanks to Chris/Amy for this recommendation.
The Female Persuasion – Meg Wolitzer
Ms. Wolitzer is a very fine writer (e.g. The Wife) but this is her best book so far. This is a sensational relationship book: relationships between men and women, but most importantly, between women. The themes of feminism and an apparently supportive sisterhood are linked to some astonishing acts of betrayal. The characters are vivid and realistic and the progression of the story is superb. Highly recommended; one of the best in 2018 so far.