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The women could fly : a novel
2022
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Brief Descriptions

Fourteen years after her mother's disappearance, Josephine, with her future in doubt in a world where single women are closely monitored, is offered the opportunity to honor one last request from her mother's will and leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time. - (Baker & Taylor)

Fourteen years after her mother’s disappearance, Josephine, with her future in doubt in a world where women are closely monitored, is offered the opportunity to honor one last request from her mother’s will and leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time. 75,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Reminiscent of the works of Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson, and Octavia Butler, a biting social commentary from the acclaimed author of Lakewood that speaks to our times—a piercing dystopian novel about the unbreakable bond between a young woman and her mysterious mother, set in a world in which witches are real and single women are closely monitored.

Josephine Thomas has heard every conceivable theory about her mother's disappearance. That she was kidnapped. Murdered. That she took on a new identity to start a new family. That she was a witch. This is the most worrying charge because in a world where witches are real, peculiar behavior raises suspicions and a woman—especially a Black woman—can find herself on trial for witchcraft.  

But fourteen years have passed since her mother’s disappearance, and now Jo is finally ready to let go of the past. Yet her future is in doubt. The State mandates that all women marry by the age of 30—or enroll in a registry that allows them to be monitored, effectively forfeiting their autonomy. At 28, Jo is ambivalent about marriage. With her ability to control her life on the line, she feels as if she has her never understood her mother more. When she’s offered the opportunity to honor one last request from her mother's will, Jo leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time.

In this powerful and timely novel, Megan Giddings explores the limits women face—and the powers they have to transgress and transcend them. 

- (HARPERCOLL)

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Reviews Via Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Giddings (Lakewood) pulls off a dynamite story of a Black woman's resistance in an oppressive dystopia. Jo Thomas's mother, Tiana, has been declared dead after having been missing for 14 years. At 28, the age at which all women must marry or register with the Bureau of Witchcraft, Jo works at the Museum of Cursed Art and is in love with her white best friend, Angie. Tiana taught Jo as a girl that magic wasn't real, but rather a myth to enable oppressions of women and non-cisgender people. Jo is set to inherit a large sum from Tiana on the condition that she agrees to visit an island in Lake Superior, which, according to a story Tiana once told her, only appears once every seven years. The instructions remind her of a story her mother told her as a child, about an island with a treasure. Though Jo doesn't want to leave her sometimes-boyfriend Preston, or her job and Angie, she complies, and upon returning is promptly imprisoned for suspected witchcraft. When Preston promises to take custody of Jo, as required by law, the two enter a tender phase of their relationship. But after the island's secrets leak into the real world, Jo is imprisoned again. Giddings ingeniously blends her harrowing parable of an all-powerful patriarchy with insights into racial imbalances, such as a scene in which Jo and Angie are pulled over by the cops ("I wanted the ease of feeling protected and beautiful enough to try to make a joke, to not have my hands on the dashboard, to not text someone pulled over by cops, please call in 15 minutes if you don't hear from me again"). This is brilliant. Agent: Don Conway, Writers House. (Aug.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

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