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The New Narrative

John Kerrigan

16 February 1984
The Oxford Book of Narrative Verse 
edited by Iona Opie and Peter Opie.
Oxford, 407 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 19 214131 7
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Time’s Oriel 
by Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Hutchinson, 61 pp., £4.95, August 1983, 0 09 153291 4
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On Gender and Writing 
edited by Michelene Wandor.
Pandora, 166 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 86358 021 1
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Stone, Paper, Knife 
by Marge Piercy.
Pandora, 144 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 9780863580222
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The Achievement of Ted Hughes 
edited by Keith Sagar.
Manchester, 377 pp., £27.50, March 1983, 0 7190 0939 1
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Ted Hughes and Paul Muldoon 
Faber, £6.95, June 1983, 0 571 13090 9Show More
by Ted Hughes and Peter Keen.
Faber, 128 pp., £10, September 1983, 0 571 13088 7
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by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 64 pp., £4, September 1983, 0 571 13117 4
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... work – and particularly her new novel The Visitation,* where narrative fragmentation lends the text a complex coherence at its climax – the problem is engaged impressively. And in the writings of MargePiercy, the influential American feminist whose poetry is under review here, there’s a similar sensitivity. Already admired in Britain for her novels and polemics, Ms Piercy’s reputation can only ...

Plugs of Muscle

Joanna Kavenna

5 July 2001
A Friend of the Earth 
by T.C. Boyle.
Bloomsbury, 275 pp., £15.99, October 2000, 9780747547532
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... old narrator-malcontent, who is spending the apocalypse in a leaking shed in Pulchris’s park. ‘The whole world’s a comic strip now,’ mutters Tierwater – a particularly grim, 2000 ad meets MargePiercy comic strip. Where once there was open country, bobcats, mule deer, rabbits, quails, foxes, now there are condos: ‘grey wet canyons of them’, housing weird-eyed ‘criminals. Meat eaters ...

1984 and ‘1984’

Randolph Quirk

16 February 1984
... Burgess – just as it is the easy drift into unthinking acceptance of male-supremacy presuppositions in language that angers the feminist Utopian novelists like Esmé Dodderidge, Ursula Le Guin or MargePiercy. Significantly, on the very first page of 1985, the point is made that nobody can be held responsible: not even for the obstetric maltreatment which has resulted in Bev’s child being moronic ...

Making poison

Patrick Parrinder

20 March 1986
The Handmaid’s Tale 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 324 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 224 02348 9
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... of an epigraph from Swift’s ‘Modest Proposal’ suggests how backhanded this message is likely to be. After the excitement generated a few years ago by the feminist utopias of Ursula Le Guin, MargePiercy and Joanna Russ, the appearance of a female dystopia by a writer as eminent as Margaret Atwood will itself be seen as a literary-political event, perhaps even as a breaking of the ranks ...
5 February 1987
Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction 
by Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove.
Gollancz, 511 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 575 03942 6
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by Greg Bear.
Gollancz, 504 pp., £10.95, October 1986, 0 575 03861 6
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts 
by Douglas Adams.
Heinemann, 590 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 434 00920 2
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Humpty Dumpty in Oakland 
by Philip K. Dick.
Gollancz, 199 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 575 03875 6
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The Watcher 
by Jane Palmer.
Women’s Press, 177 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4038 0
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I, Vampire 
by Jody Scott.
Women’s Press, 206 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4036 4
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... it goes. Yet matters are not universally so gloomy. One bright spot is the attempt by many authors to rewrite Aldiss’s ‘mankind and his status’ in terms of ‘womankind and her status’, or (MargePiercy, Fred Pohl) ‘perkind and uz status’. Aldiss soft-pedals feminist Science Fiction, quite rightly, because the best of it – as in the stories of James Tiptree, alias Alice Sheldon, author ...

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