The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Much like her previous novel The Interestings, I found Meg Wolitzer’s new book The Female Persuasion to be completely immersive. It is centered around two characters: Greer Kadetsky, who we meet as an anxious, striving eighteen-year-old, and Faith Frank, a glamorous, second-wave feminist figure in her sixties who is ‘a couple of steps down from Gloria Steinem in fame’. Greer attends an event where Faith is speaking, and she is instantly dazzled by the older woman’s charm; years later, as a graduate, Greer lands a job at Faith’s newly launched women’s foundation. It is this job that leads Greer to grapple with her relationships, friendships and her very understanding of who she is, and who she wants to be.
The Female Persuasion is a deeply satisfying, intelligent work of fiction. Wolitzer writes with tenderness and precision about all of her characters, and two of the most interesting are Cory, Greer’s long-term boyfriend, and Zee, her best friend from college. A section in the middle devoted to Cory left me weeping so much, I had to put the book down.
This is the kind of big, juicy literary novel that you will press on your friends. It’s packed with ideas, and perfect for book clubs. Highly recommended for fans of Curtis Sittenfeld, Jeffrey Eugenides and Jonathan Franzen, The Female Persuasion is set to be one of the must-read novels of the year.