Books by Katie Roiphe

Released: March 3, 2020

"An intriguing examination of the complexity of female power in a variety of relationships."
A collection of personal journal entries from the feminist writer that explores power dynamics and "a subject [she] kept coming back to: women strong in public, weak in private." Read full book review >
THE VIOLET HOUR by Katie Roiphe
Released: March 8, 2016

"Never overly sentimental, this is a poignant and elegant inquiry into mortality."
How five artists dealt with that carriage that kindly stopped for them. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 4, 2012

"Mostly fascinating, lively writings on a spectrum of topics relevant to women and men with a literary bent."
Of-the-moment essays about popular culture, literature and the author's unconventional life. Read full book review >
Released: July 3, 2007

"Pretty prose and a pleasing subject for lovers of literary gossip, but Roiphe doesn't come up with any real revelations about some very familiar figures."
Tidily composed, broadly researched examination of seven unconventional early modern marriages. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 11, 2001

" An odd hybrid of fiction and well-known facts, mixing several points of view, none too successfully. And frequent quotes from Dodgson's tenderly passionate diary entries only underscore the deficiencies in Roiphe's own style, which is noticeably contemporary in tone—and unconvincing."
Pop pundit Roiphe (The Morning After, 1993, etc.) switches genres for a fictional account of the Reverend Charles Dodgson's obsession with Alice Liddell—and it's not exactly Wonderland. Read full book review >
Released: March 20, 1997

Roiphe weighs in on her generation's AIDS panic; unlike her often ill-reasoned 1992 screed on campus date-rape hysteria (The Morning After, 1993), this volume is witty and shrewdly observed. Noting that among drug-free heterosexuals AIDS has not spread as predicted, Roiphe asks: Why are straight young Americans so panicked, and why do safer-sex educators send them such hysterical messages? She convincingly argues that much of the alarm is not really about the disease at all, but about anxiety over sexual morality and the meaning of intimacy in a world with few limits; it's about the very American notion that irresponsibility and pleasure must have a price. She effectively shows, through examination of pop culture and the media, that even before AIDS, there was a sense that the sexual revolution's permissiveness was going to have some ominous outcome. Her examples of AIDS as a substitute for old-fashioned taboos are well chosen; she perceptively compares France's idealization of filmmaker Cyril Collard and his semi-autobiographical Savage Nights (about a bisexual Don Juan who, knowing he's HIV-positive, continues his promiscuity) with the total moral condemnation heaped on it by critics and the public in the US. Roiphe visits high schools in which kids condemn the girl who sleeps around for putting herself at risk; she notes that such judgments do not sound so different from 1950s anxieties about the class slut's ``bad reputation.'' Roiphe often brings the personal and political together in a single, telling detail; describing a visit with Beverly LaHaye, founder of the far-right Concerned Women for America, she notes that LaHaye speaks slowly, deliberately, ``perhaps hoping that if she talks slowly enough, the world might slow down with her.'' An insightful contribution to the national conversation on AIDS and sexuality—a conversation characterized too often by irrationality and unarticulated fears. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 22, 1993

A gifted young Princeton University graduate student, daughter of novelist Anne Roiphe, defies current campus-based feminist assumptions, questioning the phenomena of date rape, hate speech, ``Take Back the Night'' marches, and the basis for the popularity of feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon (see above). At the heart of Roiphe's critique is a sense of betrayed promise: Growing up, she believed that feminism is ``something like a train you could catch and ride to someplace better''—a tool for freedom and not simply a matter of ``Take Back the Night marches and sexual harassment peer-counseling groups,'' of ``being angry about men,'' and of ``arguments and assertions that could not be made'' because they had been judged politically incorrect by feminists. (``You could not say that Alice Walker was a bad writer,'' for example, Roiphe says.) Drawing in detail on her own undergraduate academic and social experiences at Harvard, she argues persuasively that a sort of feminist orthodoxy accompanied by mass hysteria has sprung up on campus, in which incidents of date rape have been hallucinated or fabricated, common language has become grotesquely politicized, and the concept of ``sexual harassment'' has grown to be a bloated form of self-pity. In an especially interesting chapter on the lectures of Catharine MacKinnon, Roiphe tries to break through what she calls ``a closed belief system that is closer to religion than law''—failing to take into account, however, that the current beliefs that inform legal rulings are exactly what MacKinnon is aiming to change. Roiphe's perspective is limited but highly intelligent; and her most telling point is a well-documented dislike of a tendency in feminist rhetoric to place women back in the role of naive victim— a role her mother's generation worked hard to overcome. A brilliant young contrarian voice, Ö la Mary McCarthy. (First serial to The New York Times Magazine) Read full book review >