I discovered Marge Piercy the writer in the early 1990s. GONE TO SOLDIERS was published in 1987 and I had already read GOING DOWN FAST, SMALL CHANGES, WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME, FLY AWAY HOME, and HE, SHE, IT. The women I was in a support group with in New York City were praising Piercy’s work and we were sharing copies. I enjoy her writing very much and her outlook.
After posting the review for HE, SHE, IT, an email* came in asking me if I would like to read GONE TO SOLDIERS for review. I said yes I would like to read it, forgetting that I had read it first 30 years ago. I just was so happy to read more of Piercy’s words. The Kindle told me that at my reading speed it would take 32 hours and 30 minutes to get to the end. I dove right into each chapter and hardly came up for air. I am not incredibly fond of books about war. This one is quite exceptional. It took 7 years to write and perfect before it was published and winning so many awards. I was so happy to read it once again.
The book has an interesting shape as 10 characters and their stories are highlighted throughout the book. Some have 14 chapters to their stories. We begin before the start of the war in France and before the USA became involved. WWII is over and recovery is beginning at the end of the story. The primary theme is about being Jewish and how the Jewish experience of the war overlaps and touches so many lives. I was amazed at how badly the USA Jews were treated and particularly by the Marine corp. Some American Generals had no trouble with killing Jews in Europe and participated in the process. Each character was well defined and the connecting characters gave continuity to the story and kept the thread of the themes moving forward.
Extraordinary writing. So revealing about the hate we are seeing displayed even now in the USA, so much fear, and how working from that fear keeps us holding on and not moving forward.
Whenever the control is too great, there are scapegoats and then they are vilified and verbally derogated. It was important for me to read this novel once again. I feel it with mature eyes. There is more and more to the story; I become a witness.
I not only humbly give this book top stars and I feel as though it should be required reading in our schools today. I highly recommend this story.
“Marge Piercy has written 17 novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women, and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time and He, She and It and most recently Sex Wars; ; 19 volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010, The Crooked Inheritance and in spring 2015, Made in Detroit; and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she is active in antiwar, feminist and environmental causes.“ (Header at website)
*Kindle book was sent by Greta Shull, Marketing Coordinator, Open Road Integrated Media, 180 Maiden Lane, suite 8A New York, NY 10038