Women in Dark Times by Jacqueline Rose - review by Rachel Holmes

Rachel Holmes

Sister Acts

Women in Dark Times


Bloomsbury 339pp £20 order from our bookshop

We are feminists.
We fight injustice against women.
We are not innocent. We are not in flight from the darkest secrets of the soul.
For that reason, we do not need to subdue the world to our will in order to enact them.
We are feminists.
Listen carefully to what we have to say.

Jacqueline Rose is a pioneering feminist and a fine storyteller. This is her mantra for 21st-century feminism. In Women in Dark Times she shares a largely 20th-century tale of women both famous and too readily forgotten whose lives teach us much about the grave challenges and enormous opportunities facing feminism and the human race in the first quarter of the 21st.

The book itself is rather like Rose’s analysis of womanhood: intimate and sweeping in ambition and reach. Her characters present inherent threats to the forces of patriarchy surrounding them – to lovers, husbands, fathers, grandfathers, comrades, leaders, systems and orthodoxies everywhere. The challenges are physical, sexual, psychological, intellectual and economic.

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