I. Grekova: Russian Women: Two Stories;Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich; New York.
Judy Blume: Smart Women; G. P. Putnam’s Sons; New York.
During the “sexual revolution” in Russia in the l920’s, writer Alexandra Kollontai acquired notoriety for her “glass of water” theory, according to which “love was but [a] sexual urge akin to thirst, with the quenching of either a trivial enough matter.” This theory was snatched by American intellectuals who were smitten by their pro communist ardors; some of its consequences can be discerned in epidemic proportions in the behavioral reality in this country today. Ms. Grekova, in her short stories about Russian women, makes it clear what happened to Ms. Kollontai’s theory in the Soviet Union of today. She has no apparent need to use sex as a glass to hold her readers’ attention and shows that Russian women—even those who are professionally successful—place as their first priority traditional wifely roles: they treat their men not only with respect, but with outright deference, and practice unquestioned obedience and fidelity. If they were not Russian, Soviet, and communist, Ms. Magazine would declare them genocidal maniacs and humanity’s Public Enemy No. 1.
If, on the other hand, characters like those in Judy Blume’s latest novel are to be believed, all American women have cast conventional mores—marriage, husband, children, and home—out to sea in an uncorked bottle. Actually, she talks about herself only, unable to transcend her own poky self-cum-experience—which makes her “novel” a non-novel. Ms. Blume sips at a cocktail consisting of Perrier and pollutants as she moves her characters from hot tubs to steamy bedrooms. This author, best known for her children’s stories, can only portray adults as animated reproductory organs whose greatest need is to find anyone with the required equipment for a quick roll in a king-sized waterbed. Such efforts deserve to be submerged. (KW)
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia;University of Minnesota Press; Minneapolis.
When the book emerged from the bellows of the Viking Press in 1977, The New Republic remarked, ”Anti-Oedipus, more than any other intersection of Marx and Freud, renders palpable the metaphor of the unconscious as a worker, and does it in a brilliant, appropriately nutty way.” Candy bars are appropriately nutty, not books inflated with a preface by the likes of M. Michel Foucault—or so we always thought. A look into the translated Gallic babble results, however, in a recognition that texts can be beyond nutty. Lunacy is one of the subjects of the two literary au courant demisavants; given their proximity to the subject and the evidence in Anti-Oedipus, we suspect that it’s catching.