First publication of an antiwar feminist utopia written in 1935 by English author Burdekin (Swastika Night, etc.), who used...

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THE END OF THIS DAY'S BUSINESS

First publication of an antiwar feminist utopia written in 1935 by English author Burdekin (Swastika Night, etc.), who used the pseudonym ""Murray Constantine""; scant literary merit but of interest to cultural historians. Burdekin sets her novel in a female-dominated world society, 4,000 years in the future, and plays successfully with the ironies of gender-role reversal: while 24-year-old Neil Carlason sees other men ""hopping around as merrily as rabbits,"" he's begun to hate his own body and can't understand his deep depression. Neil's mother is the visionary and eccentric outsider artist Grania, who understands that all of his responses are conditioned by ""his ingrained contempt for his own sex."" Though aware of the ""pure unreasonableness and massive dignified stupidity"" of male culture, she believes that society must move past sex-antagonism and allow men to develop their psyches; risking the death penalty for revealing secrets to a male, she begins to instruct Neil in the long-suppressed history of male achievement. Unfortunately, it's hard to slog through Grania's lengthy didactic account, especially as the author's 1930's perspective leads her to foresee a future in which the Fascist powers of Italy and Germany will destroy one another and Communists will create a Golden Age of happiness--superseded by women's role, which will prevent a Fascist backlash from leading to more war. Mostly tedious propaganda fiction, but significant in the literary recognition of gender as a political issue.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1989

ISBN: 155861009X

Page Count: -

Publisher: Feminist Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1989