Jennifer Dworkin

Feminist Fiction?

Happy as a Dead Cat

By

The Women's Press 150pp £2.50 order from our bookshop

Ambitious Women

By

The Women's Press 228pp £3.50 order from our bookshop

Killing Wonder

By

The Women's Press 178pp £2.95 order from our bookshop

Clive Sinclair, interviewing writer Emily Prager at the ICA, fell off his chair when she mentioned castration. How would he have copied with the heroine of Jill Miller’s comic novel Happy as a Dead Cat, who ‘dreamed [she’d] cut off twenty penises and fed them to a pack of wild dogs.’ Of course it is a truism that people expect this sort of thing from feminist fiction and Ms Miller is adept at playing with cliches. In fact the heroine’s castration dream dates from her pre-liberation days, when she is an exaggeratedly oppressed working-class woman married to a caricature chauvinist, who expects his meals on the table and his way in bed. No wonder she is portrayed on the front cover screaming through 180 degrees, objects crashing and spilling around her. Each day the disasters mount, until having jammed her foot in a full potty, crushed her fingers, fed dog food to the children and been punched by her husband, she is ripe to be rescued in the classic fairy-tale manner. And there is single parent Jane, ready to help – ‘I’m not more intelligent, love, I just have a bit more information…’

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • He weeps by the side of the ocean, He weeps on the top of the hill; He purchases pancakes and lotion, And chocolate… ,
    • 'Half-way through The Conquest of Water I felt as if I had been subjected to the literary equivalent of excessive c… ,
    • 'Volume five, then, but still no end in sight. Sandbrook is clearly enjoying himself so much he can’t bear the seri… ,
    • 'By the end of the book something so weighty, stylish and impressive has been built up that one feels far nearer to… ,
    • 'Her ensuing psychotic episode is described so convincingly ... that the reader will wonder if Dobrakovová did not… ,
    • 'The perspectives complement and contest one another, amounting to a glorious, atmospheric set of ventriloquisms.'… ,
    • RT : I reviewed The Testaments for . I will not be taking any questions at this time. ,