She is so terribly afraid of me.

Margaret and I, by Kate Wilhelm

Joachim Boaz of the rather wonderful retro SF blog (with a strong focus on literary and slipstream SF among other things) Science Fiction and other Suspect Ruminations has been hosting a series of guest reviews of works by feminist SF author Kate Wilhelm. Joachim kindly invited me to take part, and my review of her highly original Margaret and I is here.


Margaret and I is the story of a woman’s sexual and psychological self-realisation, but told from the perspective of her unconscious mind (the “I” of the title). Here’s a quote, to illustrate what I mean:

Margaret was too tired to think, too tired to care that the house was wrapped in dust covers from end to end. I had her pull the sheets from the furniture and toss them in a corner; if she had no curiosity about the house, I did. I got her started on unpacking the groceries and through her eyes I examined the kitchen; As she put things away I wondered about the house, about Josie, why she had left it like this; I wondered about Bennett, what he was doing, and what Margaret would do next I didn’t care a lot I am interested, but don’t really care, unless she begins to go the route of drugs. I keep her away from them, when I can.

And here’s a quote from Margaret’s husband, which neatly illustrates some of the novel’s other key themes:

My God, you’ve got everything a woman could ask for. Money, position, a faithful husband, security, freedom to come and go as you choose…. What more do you want?”

Thanks to Joachim for pointing me to an interesting book I probably wouldn’t otherwise have even heard about, let alone read. By the way, even if you don’t read SF there’s a lot of good stuff at Joachim’s blog if you have an interest in experimental fiction under his “avant-garde” tag (Anna Kavan’s Ice for example).


Filed under SF, Wilhelm, Kate

6 responses to “She is so terribly afraid of me.

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Sounds intriguing and thanks for the link to Joachim’s blog – I’m partial to Anna Kavan so I’ll check it out! 🙂

  2. It’s stronger in the opening than the closing, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Joachim’s great on slipstream stuff like the Kavan.

  3. Max, thanks for participating! 🙂

  4. A literary illustration of Rimbaud’s “Je est un autre”?

  5. I loved Anna Kavan’s Ice, which I read on the strength of your review Max, so I’ll take a look at Joachim’s blog. I’ve another Kavan somewhere….Guilty.

  6. Joachim, thanks for asking!

    I don’t know that one Emma.

    Jacqui, I have Guilty too, I’ve heard good things of it.

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