Writers From Nine Countries Illuminate The Life Of The Modern Woman
Conceived at the 1979 Frankfurt Book Fair, the idea behind this jointly-published (in nine countries) anthology of stories by women is to show--according to an anonymous preface--how "The experience of women in the emancipation process of the seventies has been reflected not only in political developments but in literature as well." This kind of literary offshoot of a research survey rarely delivers significant writing, however, and that's mostly the case here: journalism is the prevailing spirit. Sigrid Brunk (Germany) and Flaminia Morandi (Italy) and Montserrat Roig (Spain) offer breathless arias of unfairness and women's plights. Britt Arenander (Sweden), Hannes Meinkema (Holland), and Angela Carter (England) do slightly better, adding some shape to their gall and moving it a few inches into the territory of fiction. But only three stories are clearly, crisply works of gifted artists: there's the sharp, intriguing voice of France's Muriel Cerf in the tale of a woman's vengeful luck in a Monte Carlo casino; Gall Godwin's nervous "Notes For A Story" (first published in the 1975 collection Dream Children); and Israeli writer Shulamith Hareven's pulsing "Loneliness"--in which a Jerusalem woman is turned into a panting, Proust-like Swarm by a tough street-girl. Other than these few standouts--a well-intentioned undertaking with more social than literary interest.