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Michelle CH

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Death Comes for the Archbishop
Willa Cather
Progress: 200/297 pages
A.S. Byatt
Progress: 17/555 pages
Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally
Alisa Smith, J.B. MacKinnon
Progress: 45 %
The Odd Women (Oxford World's Classics) - George Gissing A definite winner in my eyes. There are some books that just make you think and this is one of them. Taking the idea of 'odd women' and turning it into a novel is just brillant.

Odd women are those women who are left after all other eligible men and women have been paired in marriage. These women are not outcasts per se but definitely live a much different life than those who have a husband.

Some of the women in this novel embrace the distinction while others are so afraid of becoming one that they make poor choices which resonate over their lifetime. One example is that of Monica Madden, alone in the world, she must support herself as a shop-girl. This profession is harsh and with a limitless supply of desparate workers; there is little to advance any worker's condition for the better. As soon as one worker is depleted there are many others ready to fill a position.

When an opportunity to marry a man of distinction and means presents itself, Monica is so afraid of losing this singular opportunity that she makes a decision in haste. This decision later becomes a central point in the story and leads to numerous bad decisions and complications.

At the same time, there are other women in the novel who embrace their freedom and control; these are odd women who have found a purpose. The pioneers who create the tide of liberation for women.

Rhoda Nunn, a peer and friend to Monica, is a perfect example of the type of woman that laid a path for future women to benefit from. Although she presents as a judgemental character at times, Rhoda is able to stand strong in her beliefs and desires and not become, as so many others do, beholden to any one man.

I loved this novel and there is much too much to describe. I can see a book club embracing this for a wonderful discussion. So many themes to explore: love, class, economic oppression, capitalism, feminism, desire, morals, just to name a few.

Thank you again Sera for introducing me to this gem!