A Whistling Woman
By A.S. Byatt
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679776901, 448pp.)
Publication Date: April 13, 2004
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A Whistling Woman portrays the antic, thrilling, and dangerous period of the late ‘60s as seen through the eyes of a woman whose life is forever changed by her times.
Frederica Potter, a smart, spirited 33-year-old single mother, lucks into a job hosting a groundbreaking television talk show based in London. Meanwhile, in her native Yorkshire where her lover is involved in academic research, the university is planning a prestigious conference on body and mind, and a group of students and agitators is establishing an “anti-university.” And nearby a therapeutic community is beginning to take the shape of a religious cult under the influence of its charismatic religious leader.
A Whistling Woman is a brilliant and thought-provoking meditation on psychology, science, religion, ethics, and radicalism, and their effects on ordinary lives.
A.S. Byatt is the author of numerous novels, including The Biographer’s Tale and Possession (winner of the Booker Prize in 1990). She has also written two novellas, published together as Angels and Insects, and four collections of shorter works, including The Matisse Stories. Educated at Cambridge, she was a senior lecturer in English at University College, London. A distinguished critic as well as a novelist, she lives in London.
“Rich, acerbic, wise. . . . [Byatt] tackles nothing less than what it means to be human.” –Vogue
“With consummate skill and inventiveness, [Byatt] creates a large cast of characters who shine with intelligence and individuality.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Byatt’s detailed descriptions often take on the resonance of poetry.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A bold, brainy eulogy to the late ‘60s…. Byatt’s clashes between the intimate and the intellectual make for a raucous, lively work.” –Entertainment Weekly