Mothers of Invention: Feminist Authors and Experimental Fiction in France and Quebec

Article excerpt

Miléna Santoro, Mothers of Invention: Feminist Authors and Experimental Fiction in France and Quebec (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002), xii + 348pp. Paper. $24.95. ISBN 0-7735-2487-8.

In a departure from the more traditional American studies of French feminism (analyses often based on theoretical and philosophical critique), Santoro turns toward works of fiction, novels in particular, published during the height of feminist literary experimentation in order to examine feminist theory in France and Quebec and, especially, how it is influenced by creative writing. The works of four authors - La by Hélène Cixous (1976), Lueur by Madeleine Gagnon (1979), L'Amèr ou le Chapitre Effrité by Nicole Brossard (1977), and a triptych by Jeanne Hyvrard, Les Prunes de Cythère (1975), Mère la Mort (1976) and La Meurtritude (1977) - are each accorded one chapter in which Santoro provides an in-depth analysis of the works, focusing on several textual and topical issues, including maternity, the maternal bond, literary genres and language. Santoro demonstrates in her study that the great innovation of these texts is the number and variety of literary and linguistic strategies used by the feminist literary avantgarde to express women's reality. …