The piece made me uncomfortable in the most stimulating sense—that is, in the fashion of all great art.
In A Nutshell
The female narrator, Jane, a prop master on a feature film set, is ugly, not physically but spiritually—completely broken by a culture that prioritizes beauty over virtue. What is remarkable about the character is how Taddeo nails a greedy, greasy female lust that feels daring. In the morning, the men at work were back at work. She was naked, but did not feel stretched or gross. Only completely empty, in love. It was worse this way.
Still, she was changed for the better. She looked at the men squeegeeing the windows, painting cornices. Not only were they poor like her, but their wives had never fucked a movie star. There was room for hope. Her artistic signature is the interior monologue of the post-coital woman. It felt like some other woman. Most of all, she felt present. That she may forever be too worried over its blithe end.
Her orgasm and his will be the death knell of her week, month, life. Is it a death? An epiphany? A resolution? An arrival? Are women in that moment empty or full? In control or out of their minds?
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It will probably disturb those who like their fiction neatly invented and their nonfiction born of bulletproof fact. But for the reader experienced in ambiguity, and for humans that find their lives mired in it, Three Women will thrill them. Writers know it too. The book is ostensibly a work of journalism. She trawled the United States, spending nearly a decade interviewing, recording, and studying these women.
As a high school student, Maggie pretends to be at church while sneaking around town with her teacher. Stuck in a depressing, sexless marriage, Lina sneaks down to the river to fuck her long-lost love. While maintaining a flawless professional persona, Sloane invites men and women into her marital bed and performs sexual acts on them to gratify her husband. What a man does blatantly in the street, a woman does in secret, and only safely in the privacy of her own head. I wonder about the history of her desire.
If Three Women is answering that call—the making of a distinctly feminine history of desire—then our history begins with our girlhood. The lanky years before puberty where one quietly investigates adults. The onset of breasts and the beginning of the male gaze. The first hints of lust, the first touches.
This is a collective journey, recognizing that we are female, and that we are—in essence—sex. We have a literature rife with men going to war and colonizing foreign lands, but for us, we come of age and test the boundaries of ourselves through our sexuality. I am a good girl. I am a slut. I am lovable. I am dangerous. But what happens when those first forays into selfhood are met with trauma? For these three women, the loss of virginity, the inattention of parents, the spectacle of high school, is an open wound. Maggie loses her virginity to a man twice her age, setting in motion a pattern that will be her undoing.
Lina is drugged then gang raped at a high school party, only to be met by slut-shaming that causes her to silence her desire for the next fifteen years. These foundational experiences prescribe their adult sex lives, set them on vectors. I started to recall things that had happened to my friends—the roofies unwittingly ingested and the missing hours of an evening vaguely and humiliatingly recalled; the whistles and name-calling on the streets, at football games, and in hallways; the body of a nearly unconscious freshman girl, marked up with Sharpie, every filthy word imaginable written on her skin.
The only way I got him to stop was by vomiting all over the couch. I remember how embarrassed I was by the smell, but for the sake of my protection, I forced myself to sleep in the mess. I remember that around six a. I walked home three miles on the Pacific Coast Highway because I was scared to see him again. Why do I never think about it? Why did I never talk about it, let alone write about it? He was a pro surfer. Sex became something that made me lucky and made me ill. When early generative sexual impulses are met with shame, or are nonconsensual and thus met with resistance, women grow silent.
Creating repetition with a hope of finding meaning. As a survey of desire, Three Women is bedfellows with infidelity. Maggie, Lina, and Sloane are connoisseurs of the narcotic highs and hollowed-out lows of illicit sex, and they are all, interestingly, other women. Reading about the betrayal, the secret missions, the middle-of-the-night drives, the lies and excuses, I wondered if Taddeo had a choice in this curation. Is this the lens through which she decided to view sex? Or are these the women who most desperately wanted to speak? Perhaps these are stand-ins for every woman ostracized by her love story.
I especially do that with Mujeres Morenas, my local writing group of Latinas. CantoMundo and its network expands beyond the fellows, which is especially helpful to Latina poets. I can see the tremendous output of my fellow Latinas and am encouraged by their success, not only for myself but also for other Latina writers.
Beginning with the four-day schedule Thursday evening-Sunday morning which is more likely to allow women with children, other caregiving responsibilities, multiple jobs, or with fewer economic resources to participate. For one, it introduces us to male poets that we might not ever have met as part of a life-changing, art-affirming, close-knit communal experience. As poets living our individual lives, what keeps us persistently writing and continually developing are the networks we create. The more multi-faceted and unique they are, the better.
And the bonds built during CantoMundo— at the retreat and year-round—are indispensable, whether between women, between men, or between women and men. Luna: What do you envision for the future of this organization? I wish for CantoMundo all of the things that will provide more publishing and networking opportunities for its Fellows: CM book publication prizes, grants, and a literary review; a website that promotes CM poets; and cross-country readings and reunions for current and graduated Fellows.
Amescua : The founders of CantoMundo had a magnificent vision for this organization, and they have seen their vision embodied in the five years since its founding through their hard work. They have devoted time, energy and love to support and serve Latin poets. The promise of CantoMundo as a community will multiply as more fellows graduate.
I envision an increased network of CantoMundo fellows who continue to promote the work of Latin s and are increasingly recognized for their poetry. I would like to see an increased web presence, more opportunities for instruction and publications by our organization—anthologies, single works, or media versions of readings. CantoMundo is an amazing force. I feel fortunate to be a part of the outreach to the community, where we are all planting seeds beyond the CantoMundo fields.
The harvest: Latin poets empowering themselves and each other. Her first, full-length poetry manuscript, Beneath the Halo , is due out in Spring by Wings Press. Her chapbook, Cande te estoy llamando , won the Poesia Tejana Prize in She is at work on a second poetry manuscript, and lives in Austin with her husband and three cats. Gloria Amescua is an inaugural member of CantoMundo, a national Latino poetry community.
Her first collection of poetry, furia , was published by Mouthfeel Press in and received an Honorable Mention for the International Latino Book Award in Poetry. Her first collection of short stories, flesh to bone , will be published by Aunt Lute Press in She and Moises S. This is the question I pose to students in my Banned Books course as their final exam. I ask because I know they are hungry to tell me why sexuality, race, religion, and politics fire people up, and what the attitudes toward censorship indicate about the interplay between these things.
They were not surprised to find many of their favorite authors—J. While few books in the U. The majority of these challenges are made to materials in schools or school libraries, by parents. These figures do not seem to surprise my class. Collectively they express an understanding of a mother wanting to shield her own child, but they bristle at the idea of complete censorship.
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What perplexes most, however, is why anyone would care about what they wanted to read. As we begin to read, the answer takes shape. In the early days of book banning, religious leaders and monarchs alike maintained control of vast populations as long as they controlled the messages about God and country. It was in their best interest to ban, and burn, contradictory texts and often their authors. Later, more democratic governments concerned about obscenity and controlling the spread of Communism, banned texts that promoted those ideas. My students see the relationship between controlling messages and power, and agree this cannot be the reason why individuals work to remove books they deem dangerous.
Eventually we decide people must feel threatened by texts that offer ideas counter to their own. This, however, confounds my students even more. Most say they have read materials they disagree with, yet they did not, and would never, try to ban them.
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Thus another question arises: how does someone move from simply holding a different opinion about sex, religion, politics, race, gender, etc. What is so scary about diverse ideas? What are they afraid will happen?
Her Kind of Want (Iowa Short Fiction Award)
I am lucky. My students are all studying to become creative writers or visual artists, and most of them were allowed to read whatever books they found interesting. Few come from dogmatic backgrounds, and if they did, they have done enough individual exploration to come to my class with a wide-open mind. One could assume, however, the more experience with people and ideas that are different, the less frightening they would become. I ask my students how often they read articles or listen to programs that offer ideas, beliefs, and opinions that differ from their own.
We take it further: what would happen if we chose to censor all other points of view? If we insulated ourselves only with messages and people who agree with us, closing ourselves off from opportunities to learn about alternate approaches.
Would we ever overcome our fear of difference? Would we ever not feel the need to protect those we love? From this perspective, a book that promotes a reality counter to our own is inherently dangerous. It is a direct threat to our core beliefs and suppressing it would appear the most effective way to keep it from doing any harm to our family and community.
My students understand, but they cannot accept how someone could ever be that afraid. I know their struggle is personal—they cannot see themselves taking that step—so I joke that if they want to be famous, they should write a book that will be banned. We laugh, but I silently wish none of them will ever need to. This month, Diamond J. We have also asked each Lady in the House to provide a writing prompt for our readers. Many artists have been exiled from their home countries. If you were exiled, what three literary figures would you take with you and why?
I think I could learn from her fierce sense of justice combined with her utter innocence. I know these fictional characters more than I know any ultra-famous writers of the past or present, even though they are fictional characters. Is it an inclusive or exclusive term? I have never thought of this before. In that sense, I think, yes, we are, by default, an inclusive group. I mean, on the most obvious level, we—as a collective group—give birth to males and females.
But women, collectively, are oppressed, to one degree or another, in every culture I know of, and so, again, by default, we have to be inclusive. This fluidity gives us a kind of power that far exceeds anything that a word womanhood or anything else can begin to embrace. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world. They give power and attention to that which the ban seeks to disempower or defuse.
A banned book is a powerful book. But there are many kinds of powerful books. Words, in and of themselves, are of course arbitrary grunts, when spoken, and arbitrary scribbles, when on a page. So I would not waste time scratching the surface with a ban. I like the cultural anthropology, folklore, and mythology she brings to it. I prefer to let her speak for herself. When God had made The Man, he made him out of stuff that sung all the time and glittered all over.
Some angels got jealous and chopped him into millions of pieces, but still he glittered and hummed. So they beat him down to nothing but sparks but each little spark had a shine and a song. So they covered each one over with mud. And the lonesomeness in the sparks make them hunt for one another. I have been writing in an intentional way since earliest I can recall second grade. But this line of poetry stays with me. I hear almost daily in my head.
It inspires me to write every day:. I love them both. Want to know how to make a good wine? The grapes struggle, and they develop thick skins. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Her Kind , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Apr 05, Amalia Gavea rated it did not like it Shelves: irish-literature , women-s-literature , ireland , historical-fiction , medieval , netgalley-books , witchcraft.
The hair will be torn from our heads The flesh flayed from our bones. Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than poor Literature which is viciously disregarded of late. I have come to think and I hope I am wrong that stories of witched have become a vehicle for writers devoid of ideas and possibly lacking the ability to escape of a theme en vogue destroyed by horrible dialogue and cliched choices.
Her Kind: Stanza 3 Summary
The extracts in the beginning of this text is the best feature this book had to offer. A mother and a daughter seek refuge in the hall of a noblewoman. We are in Ireland, in County Kilkenny during the s and the religious conflict with the Gaelic people as victims is in full swing. Witchcraft, Irish tradition, the customs of a turbulent era and the Gaelic convictions are strong ingredients.
The scene of two women who have nowhere to turn to and a past full of secrets are familiar motifs but no less attractive for that. But… This was a world where a woman was considered a spinster at eighteen. The restriction imposed by the Church, the position of women in a society that had the witch-accusation on the ready. In fact, I thought it was actually horrible. Discrimination against followers of a particular religious dogma? The isolation of women in a dark era?
Whatever it was, the execution was almost without direction, the writing had no character, the dialogue was extremely inaccurate for the era depicted. I mean, fornication with the Devil, horny and haughty noblewomen, and pious ladies can only take you so far if you lack the chops to turn these ingredients into a remotely interesting story. The characters are the same old female protagonists that populate Historical Fiction, wandering in the forests, the streams, and the castles, trying to sound smart and advanced for the era.
Of course, this is the choice of lazy writers. So, here we have a mother, a sister, a daughter, a grandmother. Generations of boredom and stereotypes. Vanity, faith and the need to form a life of your own are excellent themes. The problem is that we have seen this many times, executed in a much better and coherent way. They may be adequate for teenagers but not for us. I am afraid that for someone who has read a billion Historical Fiction novels with similar themes, this book was a rather negative experience. In the end, I had absolutely no interested in the fate of the characters not to mention that the end could be seen chapters and chapters earlier… and the writing failed to transport me to my beloved Ireland.
This speaks for itself. By my standards, this novel was extremely disappointing. View all 8 comments. Jun 16, Liz Barnsley rated it really liked it. Her Kind was a beautifully written literary delight, an imagined tale of some very real events, as such it was riveting and hugely immersive.
I had no previous knowledge of the Kilkenny Witch Trial so this was a blind read for me but Niamh Boyce captures such a sense of the place and time, setting the reader firmly in the moment and examining the life and struggles of some very intriguing women. Descriptively speaking this is a wonderful read and emotionally speaking it is hugely resonant…an echo Her Kind was a beautifully written literary delight, an imagined tale of some very real events, as such it was riveting and hugely immersive. Descriptively speaking this is a wonderful read and emotionally speaking it is hugely resonant…an echo of time gone by.
There is a striking sense of menace running through the centre of the story, a story encompassing family, love, loss and madness. It is one that will stay with you long after the last page is turned. Melancholy yet wonderful. Highly Recommended. May 26, Aoife rated it really liked it Shelves: adult , historical , irish , my-bookshelf , historic , review-books , irish-author.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Penguin Ireland. Moneylender Alice takes in the mother and daughter as her new servants, and gives them new names - Petronella and Basilia - to protect them from Gaelic-haters in the town. But the pair soon find that they may also be in danger in Alice's house as the town bishop is jealous of the moneylende I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Penguin Ireland. But the pair soon find that they may also be in danger in Alice's house as the town bishop is jealous of the moneylender's wealth and status and is intent on destroying her.
Which all leads to the real events of the Kilkennie Witch Trial.. This historical novel tells the tale of a real event - the Kilkenny Witch Trail - which I know absolutely nothing about, and am ashamed to admit to, and I really enjoyed learning more about this time in Ireland and how the Irish were taught of.
I don't actually think I've read enough set so far back in Irish history and this has really prompted me to seek out more. There's a fantastic dynamic in this book between all the women in the story - most of whom live in the same house. Alice and Petronella share a childhood together but there's a lot of secrets there that could tear them apart forever and Alice takes too close an interest in Basilia, therefore isolating her mother. The writing and the richness of the history and the town, reminded me a bit of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and I think this book would appeal to fans of Burton's writing, and also that of Hannah Kent.
This is a fantastic tale about the women behind the witch trials and who they may have been - as Niamh Boyce says at the end of the story - the men have already had their say in history, and this is the story of the silenced women which I LOVED. This was a character-focused book and contained a range of strong women with different personalities and motives, and the wicked man who was jealous of a woman stronger and more influenced than him.
Which is a tale as old as time really. I urge people to pick up this book - it might not be one for everyone but it's full of fantastic female characters and tells a fascinating story. Mar 19, Vikki Patis rated it really liked it. There seems to have been an increase of late in the amount of books written during a time where accusations of witchcraft were rife.
I really enjoy books set during such periods, and am particularly enjoying the feminist perspective on the topic. Her Kind was a gripping read, drawing me into the character's lives and allowing an insight into the time period. A brilliant writer and absorbing storyline. Mar 29, Silvia rated it liked it. I was really happy I had to chance to read "Her Kind".
I'm a big historical fiction fan and nerd , and I am also fascinated by everything regarding witches in history, such as witch trials and folklore. So I was really curious to dive into this novel. I love the Medieval age, and I was happy to see that the author had really developed the darkness and the uncertainty of that particular time.
I do not know much about Irish history in the Medieval period, and I have to admit that this book lacks of a bit of context. I had to search on the Internet a lot of the basic facts that I had to know before reading this book. I think that, without the aforementioned facts I wouldn't have been able to understand completely the main story, and I think this is not good in a historical novel. The character, though, were really well developed, even though I had some trouble in empathizing with some of them.
My favourite was definitely Basilia. She was just so determined and kind, and well-driven. Petronelle on the other hand had a little bit of a sketchy side in my opinion. I loved the part where the author described Petronelle and Alice's youth and I would have really liked to know more about Otto, because he seemed like a really interesting character. The atmosphere of the entire book was gloomy, and dark, and I think it really well represents the typical Irish weather and general landscape.
In conclusion I would really recommend this book, even though maybe sometimes lacked of a bit of something. Nevertheless, it was really entertaining and I surely learned a lot. The Kilkenny Witch Trial of and the story Alice Kytler and her maidservant Petronelle was a slice of Irish history of which I had no previous knowledge. My graduate studies were centred on the 's to the the twentieth century but this book has really inspired me to learn more about our medieval past.
I found it fascinating that a woman like Alice could be so successful and powerful in her time. She was married four times, was a moneylender and held considerable wealth. Was she typical for The Kilkenny Witch Trial of and the story Alice Kytler and her maidservant Petronelle was a slice of Irish history of which I had no previous knowledge.
Was she typical for her time? How many other women had such powerful roles in medieval Ireland? Unfortunately it was inevitable that the Catholic Church's 'Empire of Misogyny' would clash with women like Alice in Irish society. The story opens with one of the final scenes in the book. The story then jumps back to the events that led to the witch trial. It is told through the voices of three different characters- Alice, Petronelle, and her daughter Basilia.
The character I had most sympathy with was Petronelle. She had a very interesting and mysterious background and her main concern was to protect her daughter. Alice Kytler on the other hand was self serving and opportunistic. There is a general feeling of doom all the way through this book. The combination of religious zealousness, superstition and jealousy made for a powder keg ready to explode.
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