Books by Jacqueline Harpman

ORLANDA by Jacqueline Harpman
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

Orlanda ($22.00; Oct. 1; 224 pp.; 1-58322-011-9): Yet another reworking of Virginia Woolf's fiction, this slippery 1996 novel from the veteran French author (I Who Have Never Known Men, 1997), who might be called a sophisticated hybrid of Margaret Atwood and Nathalie Sarraute. "Orlanda" is the name the protagonist, 30ish Aline Berger, dreamily assigns to the handsome young man (met in a train station) onto whom she projects her memories and fantasies of sexual experience, thus constructing a dual sexual being who is simultaneously herself and the object of her desire. It sounds fearfully involuted, but Harpman artfully shapes this lighthearted gender confusion into a witty comment on the incompatibility—and interdependency—of the sexes. Read full book review >
I WHO HAVE NEVER KNOWN MEN by Jacqueline Harpman
Released: May 1, 1997

I Who Have Never Known Men ($22.00; May 1997; 224 pp.; 1-888363-43-6): In this futuristic fantasy (which is immediately reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale), the nameless narrator passes from her adolescent captivity among women who are kept in underground cages following some unspecified global catastrophe, to a life as, apparently, the last woman on earth. The material is stretched thin, but Harpman's eye for detail and command of tone (effectively translated from the French original) give powerful credibility to her portrayal of a human tabula rasa gradually acquiring a fragmentary comprehension of the phenomena of life and loving, and a moving plangency to her muted cri de coeur (``I am the sterile offspring of a race about which I know nothing, not even whether it has become extinct''). Read full book review >