The Odd Women Author:George Gissing Written in 1893, The Odd Women seems to be a century ahead of its time. An amazingly prescient novel, it vividly reminds us that feminism is not a new concern as it brings into sharp focus the dilemmas that continue to surround the struggle of women today. Its setting is Victorian London, a city and a society cloaked in male dominance, where to ... more »be an unmarried woman was considered a fate little better than living death. Such "odd women" are the heroines of this intensely involving tale.
Alice and Virginia Madden, left destitute upon the death of their father, attempt to obey Victorian rules for single ladies by taking on low-paying "genteel" work that is both humiliating and oppressive. Their sister Monica escapes that grim existence through marriage to a man she does not love, and pays a brutal price for it. Interwoven with their fortunes is that of Rhoda Nunn, a passionate feminist who, with Mary Barfoot, heads a business school that trains young women for useful, self-respecting work. When Rhoda suddenly finds her deepest beliefs and fiercely guarded independence threatened by the love of a "perfect" man, she must reexamine the emotional and economic realities of her life and come up with a decision that is true to herself.
Offering no easy solutions, unsparing in its depiction of the crippling effects of social inequality on oppressed and oppressor alike, The Odd Women is a work of profound and liberating truth for its own time - and for ours.« less