Best known for her seminal feminist classic, The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir was also an exquisitely sharp writer of fiction, and The Woman Destroyed shows her story-writing talents at their sharpest. First published in 1967, it features three short novellas that each show a woman trapped by her situation, each laced with affecting details of daily life.
‘The Age of Discretion’ sees a successful academic struggling to come to terms with aging as her latest work is rejected. There’s such passion, such desperation, such edgy hope. The second story, ‘The Monologue’, is a woman’s impassioned New Year’s Eve outburst in the aftermath of her son and husband leaving, while ‘The Woman Destroyed’ sees Monique struggling to rebuild her life and identity after her husband confesses to an affair with a younger woman. Though frozen by fear, “The door to the future will open. Slowly. Unrelentingly. I am on the threshold.” Piercingly brilliant.
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