The Cost of Lunch, Etc reviewed in We Love This BookBy Sally Hughes
We Love This Book
August 21st, 2014
Marge Piercy is a great poet and this is clearly evident in the way she handles words. This is her first collection of short stories (although drawn from the work of a number of years) but the same economy of phrase, depth of emotion and touch of astringency you find in her poetry is here.
The stories all focus on women and in particular their emotions and experiences at key times in their lives. There are stories of women coming of age, women facing death and of women coming and going in a range of different relationships. One of the most moving, a story about a woman whose partner is succumbing to Alzheimer's and the emotional journey through irritation, guilt and isolation to acceptance and tenderness is incredible. "Saving Mother From Herself" the tale of a compulsive hoarder is both tremendously funny and touching at the same time.
These stories bear the hallmark of the 70s feminist movement - not in terms of setting, there are stories set up to today - but in terms of the emotional tenet and confessional nature of the collection. Men do not on the whole come out of the stories very well but you do get to meet an amazing caste of vulnerable, gritty and generally fabulous women of all ages.
Many of the stories are funny, a few shocking, all are interesting and incredibly well-told. For a journey into the feminine psyche it is unparalleled.
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