The timeless coming-of-age novel about five young women who meet at Radcliffe College and together grow to maturity—through intrigues, ambitions, affairs, and marriages—from World War II to the 1980s.
Lavinia, Peg, and Cathy seem to have little in common save for their freshman status. None of them could know that their destinies are about to inextricably intertwine.
Across four decades, as time and events upend their expectations, these five women discover their sexuality, reveal their secrets, and struggle with independence—sometimes surrendering, sometimes making stunning choices. Now reissued thirty-five years after its original release, Alice Adams’s Superior Women, hailed as “a remarkable compression of time, memory, and sentiment—rather as if Hemingway had been turned loose on Proust” (San Francisco Chronicle), is a richly drawn, uncompromising novel about women’s intimate, interior lives for fans of Mary McCarthy’s The Group and Rona Jaffe’s The Best of Everything.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Alice Adams was born in Virginia and graduated from Radcliffe College. Her short stories have appeared in twenty-two O. Henry Award collections and several volumes of Best American Short Stories, and she is also the author of ten highly praised novels. She has been the recipient of an Academy and Institute Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ms. Adams’s other novels include Superior Women; Almost Perfect, a New York Times Notable Book; and Medicine Men. She lived in San Francisco until her death in 1999.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
'Getting of the train, on a Friday night that is also New Year's Eve, Lavinia is very beautiful. With the perfectly fitted, perfectly simple black coat (that cost more than a month salary of the Negro fitting woman), she wears perfect black suede shoes, with high thin heels, and a filmy pale pink scarf at her throat. As she steps down carefully from the high train, off and into Gordon's arms, she sees her own beauty reflected in Gordon's eyes. In his kiss.' This is my kind of book the type of book I always long for. The women characters are so absolutely different, so terribly complicated and oh so very much like the people we know, or where some of the very personalities shown, remind us of ourselves, of the ways we were, or are. Superior Women takes us into the lives of five women who were college students at Radcliffe together at one time, and then Ms. Adams carries us into their adult lives, so we at least read about twenty years into the lives of these females. Meet Lavinia from Virginia, so vain, the perfect blonde who has everything going for her, or has she? She has wealth and good looks, but can these things give her what she truly wants out of life? Then we have Janet, not a favourite of Lavinia's, who does not considers Jews. But Janet is a good student and dedicated to her beau an army lad. Now let's look at Cathy who is the mysterious one, who everyone tries to figure out and no one seems to be able to do this with any luck. A very interesting person but??? Then we meet Peg who has a problem with her weight but and tends to remain on the heavy side, and sticks to Lavinia and Megan. It is in the latter part of her life that her life changes beyond belief just wait for this surprise, and then lastly, the one woman I consider the main character of the entire novel Megan Greene. Megan hails from California but has yearned to come to the East after meeting a young man from Cape Cod whom she suspects is wealthy, and she thinks she might have a chance with. Megan pulls out all the stops to get to Radcliff in Massachusetts, eager to leave her dowdy existence and her humble parentsin California. You will be mesmerized and entertained as the lives of these five women interlace in this amazing book. If you like Rona Jaffe's books you will certainly enjoy this one. Highly recommended!!! A treat!!! Reviewed by Heather Marshall Negahdar. Bridgetown, BARBADOS 03/04/06
Superior Women follows the lives of four women from their first meeting at Radcliffe in the waning days of World War II though the boom years of the 1950s, the Civil Rights movement and the divisions caused by the Vietnam War. Lavinia is the self-styled group leader. Aristocratic and beautiful, she marries for money and spends the rest of her life looking for love and understanding. Peg, the wealthiest of the four, struggles to fit in and only finds her identity later in life. Cathy is a shy conservative Catholic girl whose devotion to her religion costs her the relationship she desires and leads her into great sorrow. Megan, the outsider from California, is the consummate career woman. A successful editor, she climbs the corporate ladder to become independently wealthy while choosing to remain single. While I enjoyed reading Superior Women, I think I would have enjoyed it more when it was originally published in 1984. In the Me Too era, the discrimination faced by women in earlier decades is evident and painful. The casual caste system followed by the upper class in Boston and New York is off-putting. I found some of the descriptive language used in referring to women and African Americans racist, misogynistic and disturbing. It is amazing to see how far women have come since then in terms of equality and the distance still left to cover.
Superior Women by Alice Adams is a fictional account that is a very interesting perspective into the lives of five different women in the same social circles, and somewhat friends, spanning almost 40 years. Peaking into minds of Megan, Lavinia, Cathy, Janet, and Peg from the late 1940s in college and how they live their lives until the early 1980s gives the reader a retrospective look at a multigenerational timeline and how one’s decisions and goals have changing, and lasting, effects. I find the women interesting in the fact that the author presents them as imperfect and flawed. We women may now not be able to identify with their thoughts and motives in the same way as 40 years ago, however we can still take those mistakes and choices and reflect those into what our respective choices have been in our own lives. A very interesting read, albeit somewhat on the slower end in some areas, into the lives of women over the span of half of their lives. 4/5 stars