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Book Title: The Odd Women|
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Reader ratings: 3.5
The author of the book: George Gissing
Date of issue: February 13th 2012
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 455 KB
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What do you do, if the only socially acceptable career is marriage - and no one marries you? In late nineteenth century England, millions of women were condemned to live a life of shabby-genteel desperation because there simply weren't enough men to have for husbands and virtually no actual employment was possible. This is the horribly narrow, lonely fate endured by one woman here - but it's far better than the fates of two of her siblings: alcoholism, and marriage to a well-meaning but unendurable ogre.
It's an alien world, with its strained proprieties and cock-eyed values - yet Gissing's treatment of it is so good (honest, fresh, angry, insightful way ahead of its time, and yet scarcely ever didactic) that many, many pages seem to describe scenes, and emotions, that are wholly modern. And on top of all this we get Rhoda Nunn, a magnificently complex, brave, fraught proto-feminist, trying almost single-handedly to reinvent her entire gender.
I expected this to be a book of some historical interest. What I got was a gripping read.
A brief note on the almost indescribably horrible Penguin edition I read (pictured here): what went wrong? I have not identified the typeface, but it looks like a form of semi-bold Palatino that someone has attacked with high-grit sandpaper before proceeding to use with twice the recommended amount of ink on poor-quality paper. Plus there is a persistent UNDER-printing near the bottom of every third or fourth page. Someone was asleep at the wheel on this one.
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Read information about the authorGeorge Robert Gissing was an English novelist who published twenty-three novels between 1880 and 1903. From his early naturalistic works, he developed into one of the most accomplished realists of the late-Victorian era.
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