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Difficult Women

Difficult Women, the book with which David Plante made his name, is comprised of three portraits of three extraordinary, and difficult, women, and one obliging but rather elusive man, Plante himself. In the first, Plante describes his relationship to the aging Jean Rhys, a no-holds-barred alcoholic who after years of failure has just published The Wide Sargasso Sea and is at last enjoying the recognition she should have long had. Sonia Orwell is Plante's second subject, a suave exploiter and hapless victim of her beauty and social prowess, while the unflappable and extraordinary Germain Greer sails through the final pages of Plante's book, ever ready to set the world, and anyone who thinks otherwise, right.
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David Plante's dazzling portraits of three influential women in the literary world, now back in print for the first time in decades.

About the Author

David Plante is the author of several novels, including his lauded Francoeur Trilogy, as well as several works of nonfiction, including The Pure Lover, Becoming a Londoner, and Worlds Apart. Scott Spencer has written eleven novels, including Endless Love, Walking the Dead, and the forthcoming The River Under the Road.


"Difficult Women is creepy, it is cruel, it is morally indefensible -- and it is exhilarating....There may be no defending these heartless portrayals, but there's also no denying their power. Each scene is expertly staged, and burns with the same dark excitement you find in Mary Gaitskill's fiction or Harold Pinter's plays, the feeling that these characters have sought one another out to exercise hidden fears and desires, to expose primal wounds. " --Parul Sehgal, The New York Times "A delicious sequence of character sketches, interrupted by the occasional self-interrogatory aside....the book succeeds because the women are so horribly alive." --Christine Smallwood, Harper's "Like its three subjects, Difficult Women is consistently interesting. It's as if Mr. Plante were staring out over a wild and rugged topography of femaleness and wondering how one lives in such a land. It's a good question and a good book." --Anatole Broyard, The New York Times "The memoir of Jean Rhys . . . is a remarkable achievement. . . . Plante never forgot who Jean Rhys really was and what made her valuable, so that while he captures neatly the shabby dishevelment of the narcissistic girlwoman fallen into confused old age, he also achieves full recognition for the writer whose eloquence and maturity are endlessly redeeming. . . . [Plante] brings these extremely interesting women to brilliant, mythic life." --Vivian Gornick "[Plante's] best book to date is Difficult Women, an unflattering account of his friendship with Sonia Orwell, Jean Rhys and Germaine Greer. He...tells it pretty much like it was--and like he was, you imagine." --London Review of Books

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