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Publisher's Summary

Women rule in Women's Country. Women live apart from men, sheltering the remains of civilization. They have cut themselves off with walls and by ordinance from marauding males. Waging war is all men are good for. Men are allowed to fight their barbaric battles among themselves, garrison against garrison. For the sake of his pride, each boy child ritualistically rejects his mother when he comes of age to be a warrior. But all the secrets of civilization are strictly the possession of women. 

Naturally, there are men who want to know what the women know. And when Stavia meets Chernon, the battle of the sexes begins all over again. Foolishly, she provides books for Chernon to read. Before long, Chernon is hatching a plan of revenge against women.

©1988 Sheri S. Tepper (P)2018 Tantor

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you liked “A Handmaid’s Tale” you will love “The Gate to Women’s Country”

One of the quintessential feminist SF novels, Sheri Tepper yet again creates a world where multiple issues and engaging characters are carefully crafted into an engaging story that draws you in and carries you along. A must read book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic feminist SF... if you MUST call it that!

Tepper has created here a seemingly bucolic, female-run post-holocaust culture that looks a lot like a utopia, and probably is to most of its citizens. Under the surface, however, lies a set of driving principles as ruthless as they are logical, enforced by a select minority of women (and men...Tepper's vision is only selectively anti-male). The way all these secrets are gradually revealed is the true strength of the novel: each revelation is woven into the life story of one very human woman, and allegorically embroidered with periodic selections from a play which uses the "heroic" backdrop of the fall of troy to illustrate man's brutality against woman. This is not Tepper's most entertaining novel, but it is clearly the most important. It’s an anti-war fable wrapped around a draconian peace plan, and a truly amazing tract on religion and gender relations. Kudos to Audible for bringing this one to audio!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Perhaps Tepper's greatest work in audio book form!!

I highly recommend listening to this book. It is an excellent future dystopian/post-catastrophe story that explores how patriarchy might be eliminated from the human race. Sheri S. Tepper often wrote about gender conflicts and the toxicity of patriarchy - I think this story may be her greatest achievement. I re-read this book just about every year since I found it in 1989; it's been out of print for several years and TRULY deserves to be far better known than it is! The narrator does a fine job differentiating between the different characters and I like her performance in most ways (I think my love for this book is so great that almost no narrator could perfectly satisfy me, except for perhaps Davina Porter....). As someone else said, if you like "The Handmaid's Tale", you'll enjoy this. Now if we could only get "Raising the Stones" as an audio book!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So much of this is relevant to today's headlines..

Tepper's cries for reform sound loudly and clearly in this work. The integration of the Trojan War concepts, the Holylanders and the warrior mentality resonate as much in 2018 as they did back in the beforetime, when I first ran across this work. If a book can truly be said to be 'eye-opening', this one qualified back when I was a placard carrying advocate for ERA NOW. It is difficult to assess its impact on a first time reader (listener) today, since the concept of 'powerful women' has become far more prevalent since we saluted Bella Abzug and her hats.

Tepper treats societal goods and evils with a deft touch, allowing her characters to be flawed and redeemed, or not, in a credible manner. Even the more 'over-the-top' personages seem plausible, if somewhat alarming. With regard to the Holylanders, anyone who has read a headline or seen any TV news lately will discover a sect that is almost terrifying in their potential for existence, even more so than when this book was published. You might want to wait to listen to their section of the book until you are in a safe, secure place, as Tepper goes to a very dark place to bring these religious personages to life. It's that disturbing.

The main female characters are presented with compassion and disdain, as needed. Tepper allows her people to make mistakes, learn from them, or persist in their foolishness, just as one would find in real life. Her settings are delightfully ambiguous, with one wondering just where Marthatown and Peggyville are located. North America? Australia? You aren't sure, and this uncertainty emphasizes the fundamental belief that "Yes, this could happen here...", since there is no definite 'here' here.

I freely admit to fandom for Tepper and her works, to the point that I really cannot point to any major flaws in this work, as written. In fact, the only negative comment I can make is to warn potential listeners that, to me, the narrator tends to fall into a near "computer-generated" voice when reading descriptive passages. This did wear off after about half an hour, and did not detract from the enjoyment of the rest of the story, but had I no knowledge of the beauty of this work, I might have been hard pressed to continue to listen until familiarity bred acceptance. If you are like me, and get discouraged by hearing the sample, please persevere. It will probably be worth it.

Looking forward to getting more of Tepper's works available on audiobook!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • arovd
  • United States
  • 08-01-18

Dark, classic

I have loved this book since I first read it many years ago. It’s a bit dark, as expected give the post-apocalyptic setting, but not super graphic. In the novel, it’s been many generations since the time of “convulsions” and the tale is of a society that has rebuilt itself to new standards. The story stands the test of time, and is ultimately both a warning and a fantasy of how things could be in one alternate reality.