The Odd Women Author:George Gissing Five odd women - women without husbands - are the subject of this powerful novel, graphically set in Victorian London, by a writer whose perceptions about people, particularly women would be remarkable in any age and are extraordinary in the 1890s. The sotry concerns the choices that five different women make or are forced to make, and what tho... more »se imply about about men's and women's place in society and relationship to each other.
Alice and Virginia Madden, suddenly left adrift by the death of their improvident father, must take grinding and humiliating "genteel" work. Pretty, vulnerable, and terrified of sharing their fate, their younger sister Monica accepts a proposal of marriage from a man who gives her financial security but drives her to reckless action by his insane jealousy.
Interwoven with their fortunes are Mary Barfoot and Rhoda Nunn, who are dedicating their lives to training young women for independent and useful lives, for emotional as well as economic freedom. Feminine and spirited, they are seeking not to overthrow men to free both seces from everything that distorts or depletes their humanity - including, if necessary, marriage. Into their lives comes Mary's engaging and forceful cousin Everart Barfoot, and as he and Rhoda become locked in an increasingly significant and passionate struggle, Rhoda finds out through the refining fire what "love" sometimes means, and what it means to be true to herself.
Flyleaf: Gissing vividly evokes the life of the middle-and working-class poor in nineteenth century England, portraying men and women who, like himself, are imprisoned by poverty and a rigid social system and who struggle with the gift, or curse, of keen sensitivity....