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"").
Pub Date: May 1, 1997
Page Count: 224
Publisher: "Seven Stories (632 Broadway, New York, NY 10012)"