Right now, we are living through a period of historic feminist activity. As a society we are redefining what constitutes an abuse of power while also taking into account the imbalance of that power across gender lines in companies and communities. Together, we are renegotiating what kinds of behaviour will cost you your job or your freedom. And though most of this activity has happened outside the law, it is to be hoped that these changes in social attitude will be absorbed into our justice system.
It is for this reason that people are describing Meg Wolitzer’s twelfth novel, The Female Persuasion, as timely. It explores the relationship between two women from different generations – the eminent feminist Faith Frank and her eager mentee Greer Kadetsky – who come to work together in fighting sexism. And though the book is indeed timely, it’s worth noting, as many (including the author herself) have, that Wolitzer has been writing books that explore these dilemmas for almost thirty years.
We meet Greer aged eighteen, in the vulnerability of late adolescence. She’s been on the ‘obedient, good-girl track’ all her life, and though smart enough to know the answers, she’s not yet confident enough to give opinions. For her and her peers, it’s a time when their adult bodies are