Book Launch: Underground Women
This is the formal official (and only) launch of my first (and so far only) novel, Underground Women (link takes you to its page on Amazon.com). So you, the massive and discerning and etc. readership of Three Wise Women, are getting an exclusive here! And a break from endless Beauvoir (I promise, I’m nearly finished the book…I just can’t stop now…)
So about the novel: “Underground Women” is intended as a bit of a romp — with a small slice of philosophy on the side — through 1970s Women’s Liberation politics in New Zealand, in particular, the pro-choice movement. There’s sex (OK, not a lot I’m afraid), espionage (a fair amount of that), betrayal, lots of political intrigue and even a suspicious death or two… Wilma Valentine, the author, me, is a pseudonym, and not really because I care if people know who wrote it (I’ll answer inquiries! Click on the about page) but just because I kind of assume, as a first novel, it may belong in a bottom drawer. Which is where I would have left it but, yeah, e-publication and all that, so I thought, ahhhh why the heck not. Naturally, when my second novel is a global best-seller and/or winner of the Mann Booker Prize I may be glad I didn’t attach my real name to this one… But I’m definitely no secretive Elena Ferrante character.
I spent quite a few years on and off (a lot of off) writing the book, and enjoyed the process for the most part. The title is taken from the nameless character in Dostoyevsky’s “Notes From Underground”, a book I just love and have read many times. The philosophical slice in the novel addresses the question of whether or not there could be such a persona as an “Underground Woman” — a female version of “Underground Man”. Imagining such a person (or persona) threw up some interesting issues for me around the kinds of literary personae women are “allowed” to be: lovers, mothers, wives, sisters, sluts, whores, virgins, heroines, martyrs… etc. But can she be an eccentric misanthrope of the Underground Man type? If not, why not? I had to conclude that such a character would not be treated with the same gravitas as the “Underground Man” character, and would instead probably written off as a madwoman, an hysteric etc. This is interesting because it really did expose to me the limited kinds of characters (or personae) women can respectably/reliably/successfully adopt in literature. And elsewhere. So anyway, there’s that, and I won’t go on. Don’t worry, the feminist philosophy is actually a very small part of the book, just in case you find it off-putting.
So, if you do buy it (it’s $NZ3.52 — because of amazon pricing, the minimum I could charge was US$2.99 so I made it US$3.00) and if you then go on to read it, please add a review on the Amazon page. I can’t say I’m planning on doing much more “promotion” than this, which can hardly be called promotion since it’s on a website I appreciate not that many people read. (As for the low numbers, I should apologise to my fellow “wise women” for clogging the blog up with bloody Simone de Beauvoir for months — make that years. Sorry sisters!!)