Cover image for Women
Sollers, Philippe, 1936-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Femmes. English
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, 1990.
General Note:
Translation of: Femmes.
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A translation of a bestselling novel (Femmes, 1983, Editions Gallimard) by one of France's leading contemporary writers. Sollers is editor of the French avant-garde journal L'infini and author of three other novels: Une curieuse solitude, Paradis, and Le Parc (for which he received the Medici Prize). Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sollers, editor of Tel Quel (now L'infini) and author of experimental texts ( H. ; Le Parc ), has written here what is, on the surface, a conventional roman a clef--Barthes, Lacan, Foucault and others roam its edges--but which is, at a deeper level, an unforgiving portrait of European intellectual culture. The narrator, Will, is an expatriate American journalist capable of but one conviction--``The world belongs to women. In other words, to death.'' Women is the novel he is writing as he travels the world recording his views on political terrorism, Maoism and the dozens of females he encounters along the way. Despite the ennui that engulfs Will and his countless sexual partners, the narration is buoyed by extraordinary improvisations that keep the reader sailing. The audacious description of a real-life Emma Bovary, circa 1984stet , who expresses ``great admiration for Flaubert'' but who criticizes the great French writer for describing her ``burgeoning love for Rodolphe in parallel to the lowing of cattle,'' is scandalously funny. Given Sollers's own political activism, one can only suppose that in the boorish, self-absorbed Will he has created a fictional object of transference for a generation of idealists now clutched in doubt. Bray's translation makes brilliant accommodation to both the lyrical swing and the hard poetry of Sollers's imagination. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

French scholar and novelist Sollers follows with candor, intelligence, insight, and whimsy the adventures of Will, a misogynist, novelist, and journalist under surveillance by extreme feminist groups wishing to establish, among other things, a matriarchy. Sollers's insights on human behavior, particularly the relationship between the sexes, unify the novel and provide a serious undercurrent to such seemingly comic moments as Will's erotic encounters with women who wish to probe whether or not his writings are a threat to their organization. An outstanding translation enhances the novel's appeal for English-speaking readers, although its excessive length and repetitive content and style eventually become tiresome.-- Anthony Caprio, Oglethorpe Univ., Atlanta, Ga. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Another book about women written by a man, misogynistic of course; but in the end the men come off no better than the women. Recounted in the first person, this roman a clef, which has enough references to well-known characters to lend it an air of verisimilitude, is both scandalous and hilarious. In the best French tradition, the novel is basically about writing a novel. The style, with its numerous ellipses, might put the reader off if everything that is said were not so farcical and funny. This bravura performance is at the same time a take-off, a put-down, and a send-up of contemporary sexual mores, not forgetting philosophy, music, painting, sculpture, and literatures (French, American, Italian, Spanish), and, first and last, the Bible. The almost endless array of sexy women who all but attack the narrator are carefully individualized so that each encounter is the same but different. The narrator romps through the great cultural centers of the Western World and finds more than one pretty woman in every port. The novel is perhaps too long to sustain the bravado but it is a serious merry prank from beginning to end. -F. C. St. Aubyn, emeritus, University of Pittsburgh