I’d love to recommend you a book and it is as the above title says: The Victorian Chaise Lounge by Marghanita Laski! Google defines it as speculative fiction, which I guess it thoroughly is, but I’m willing to bet that if this were written by a man it could aso be tagged as sci-fi. Then again no man could write this, that is a fact. It is not feminist per se, but it tells of a particular experience a lot of women and other marginalised identities are all too familiar with. I don’t want to talk about it too much, I feel you should just dive in without any knowledge about this one. First few pages you’ll be left wondering why I am telling you to read this, then from one moment to the next you’ll understand. Trust me. Find it. Don’t read any synopsis or introduction before and just read.
A few words first perhaps? The protagonist is a Kassandra, which so many women are, in the past especially but today still. In her introduction to An Oresteia, Anne Carson writes this on Kassandra:
“Although she sees everything past, present and future, and sees it truly, no one ever believes what she says. Kassandra is a self-consuming truth.”
The book has been published by Persephone Books, a cool initiative, bringing lost books back from the netherworld and saving them from death by Persephone, queen of death and the cycle of life. They also have ebooks available. I got my version via amazon. The cover posted here is via some other publisher. I prefer this over the Persephone Books one because it points to the unconventional and eerie mood throughout the novel. It’s only a little over a 100 pages long. This is all the info I am giving. Don’t look anything up. But let’s end with this quote I love
To eat is not to tie my mind to it, only to nourish the machine it inhabits, to give me strength to struggle and think – but if to think, then my mind is tied to this body, my mind can be nourished by this food, this rotten, rotted, long-decayed food.