Sheri Tepper, F&H (very mild spoiler)

Tanaquil2 at Tanaquil2 at
Wed Dec 15 18:27:53 EST 1999

In a message dated 12/15/99 4:55:15 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
ira at writes:

>I couldn't even finish it. It gave me nightmares (and still makes me
>shudder when I think about it). It was the first Sheri Tepper I read,
>and I've never dared try another. Is the rest less pessimistic and

        There *are* gruesome parts in her other stories; she's not a 
comfortable read (in subject matter I mean; I like her prose) and her focus 
seems to be gender issues which really get her goat, but perhaps at heart the 
idea of personal responsibility is the main focus.  She sort of takes a look 
at the dominant attitudes of mind and follows them to their extreme 
conclusions.  Her heroes seem to be the ones who question those attitudes of 
mind, or are at least made uneasy by them or suffer the consequences of them. 
 They become personally empowered (ick--that word) *and* socially empowered 
(the ones who survive).  I guess the stories are optimistic in a way; evil 
doesn't automatically triumph in her worlds, though it certainly enjoys a 
long reign.  The evil is very real, the suffering it causes;  but it 
generally has a human face which maybe suggests that if other people are 
prepared to challenge it they have a shot at overcoming it.
You really feel like you're travelling somewhere (another world) when you 
read her stories.  Her names are cool too.  There's some humor in there.  And 
hope too maybe, in a strange way.  Certainly a love for the earth, the 
environment.  But they aren't necessarily what you might call 'good mood 

>>For me, 
>> the empowering optimistic part came in her not turning into Ivy or Reg, 
>> especially Ivy.  Which happens a lot in real life I think.  I felt like 
>> was as much a curse Polly broke as the one on Tom that she broke; a sort 
>> family curse or something.
>Well, Reg didn't have it from his mother at least; he was cursed by

        That's right, I forgot about that.  But I guess I was thinking of it 
more as a sort of independent inherited curse like in the greek myths or 
something.  A family fate separate from Laurel.  I think of the parts where 
Polly feels cold and hard like Ivy, and suddenly understands why she is like 
she is.  And at that point she has to choose whether to be like her, or 
whether to do things differently.  I always imagine Ivy as having a mother 
like herself, and a shifty unreliable father like Reg, but never quite 
managing to break out of the pattern because she didn't have people like 
Granny and Thomas Lynn (truth tellers) to show her a different way of doing 

>My husband says that he'd never have married my mother and that
>me turning into her would be the only valid ground for divorce...

        <laughing in sympathy!>

>I once didn't get a job because I couldn't even get to the interview;
>they were explaining on the phone how to get there ("you turn off the
>A1 there, and at the traffic lights...") and I said "hey, wait a
>minute, how do I get there by public transport?" and they didn't want
>me any more.

        Feh!  Their loss!

>I'm going to
>give my eldest daughter, who can already read, a flashlight to read
>under the bedclothes with when we move into our new house and she
>moves into a room with her sisters.

        Ah! a mom after my own heart!       

In a message dated 12/15/99 4:28:06 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
sodgers at writes:

>Tegan went to hear Glyn Parry do his talk and came home beaming. 'He's
>*much* better than his books!' she said...


In a message dated 12/15/99 11:44:50 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
emcmullin at writes: (re: Tepper)

>I haven't re-read anything of hers, but
>I figure I'll eventually get around to reading most of them at least once.
>Just have to be in the mood.

        It's a little like visiting 'Project Censored' or 'Amnesty 
International' online. Don't if you're feeling chirpy; do if you're feeling 
like Brunhilde or Boadicea!  I do re-read her though once in a while; I like 
'Raising the Stones', and I like the notion of the archetypal village in 'A 
Plague of Angels.'

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