Anthology of Short Stories by Battered Women

By Baker, Reviewed Martha | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 1, 1996 | Go to article overview

Anthology of Short Stories by Battered Women


Baker, Reviewed Martha, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


WOMEN IN THE TREES

U.S. Women's Short Stories About Battering & Resistance, 1839-1994

Edited and with an introduction and afterword by Susan Koppelman 301 pages, Beacon Press, $16 ***** FOR THE WHOLE of her professional career, Susan Koppelman has been retrieving women's short stories. Her memory and her files cascade with the stories she finds in old magazines and collections or unpublished works. In eight anthologies, each organized on a single theme, she has established the tradition of U.S. women's creativity in the genre. Her ninth anthology, "Women in the Trees," does more. With this collection, Koppelman has made the personal political as well as literary: "We women have never kept silent about men's brutality, despite being enjoined to in order to be considered `proper,' both by society and by the men who beat us." Koppelman's introduction objectively - and subjectively - analyzes the topic of battered women in the short story. For example, she notes "gaps and bunchings" in the chronology. She reasons: "Fewer stories about battering were published when the nation has been at war, when there wasn't a military or political need to honor and reward male violence and make it attractive to young men." Koppelman, who recently moved to Tucson after two decades in St. Louis, found 140 short stories by American women on the subjects of men battering women and, importantly, on women's resistance (writing these short stories represents rebellion). The 32 she selected span 155 years and represent a variety of sub-genres - from abolition stories to science fiction. The heroines present a variety of ethnic groups, ages, colors, religions, regions, classes and degrees of education and physical ability. The best place to start reading is the title story because it not only explains the book's title (otherwise obscure) but also provides emotional support for reading the other stories. …

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