Bitch is proud to announce our new book lovin' blog, Bibliobitch! To kick off our foray into the land of literature, here is an interview with author Kate Walbert by Bitch contributor Sarah Seltzer. Stay tuned for more, you bitchy bookworms, you.
Kate Walbert's new novel "A Short History of Women" follows the women in a single family down through the generations. The official synopsis of the book is: "From a lecture delivered to suffragettes in Victorian England to a playdate on Manhattan's Upper West Side, this provocative work chronicles four generations of women, their aspirations, the limits imposed on them, and the sometimes startling choices they make in the world."
Walbert's fictional family history begins with Dorothy Townsend, who starved herself for the British suffrage movement, and continues through to today. As Dorothy's name reappears in different permutations among her children, nieces and grand-nieces, so does her struggle with "the problem that can't be named," or the problem of how women can find fulfillment in an obstacle-filled environment. Dorothy's daughter devotes herself to science and shuns intimacy, even while serving as a role model for younger women. Her grand-nieces contend with an emptiness and lack of purpose and take that feeling out in myriad ways: trespassing on military property, blogging their feelings, drinking and moving through life as best they can. Walbert has been a finalist for the National Book Award, and the "playdate" chapter of this novel appeared in the New Yorker.
A few months back, Publishers Weekly published my interview with Walbert. However, I also asked her a few extra questions that were near and dear to my heart: namely, about the F-word. Here are her answers.