Woman on the edge of time is an interesting novel to say the least, I don’t know how I feel about the novel yet and im not saying it is bad, but so far i have seen just bits and pieces of science fiction here and there. Which makes me think if the rest of the novel is just bits and pieces of science fiction is the novel itself really a science fiction book. We will talk more about this as we get closer to finishing the book.
The novel starts with us meeting Connie a 37 Spanish woman living in NYC in what seems to be the 1970’s. We meet her niece Dolly who comes rushing to Connie because Dolly’s lover/pimp Geraldo has beaten Dolly again and Connie was worried because Dolly is pregnant with Geraldo’s baby. One way I could tell that this is 1970’s NYC is how they talk about pimps and prostitutes because that is what NY was known for in the 70’s, it was a very dirty and dangerous place. While at Connie’s house Geraldo comes looking for Dolly because he believes that she is not carrying his baby. Geraldo brings his right hand man slick with him to help out and he also brings a butcher who is also supposed to be a doctor. Geraldo brings him to help get rid of the baby, which is described as really gruesome part of the novel. Connie tries to stop this so she smashes a wine bottle in Geraldo’s face breaking his nose and all this gets Connie is a beating from Geraldo and his helper Slick. They then driver her to Bellevue hospital and while going there is still getting beaten. Once at the hospital a story is made up that Connie attacked Geraldo and Dolly supported the story because she had no choice, this leads to them committing Connie to Rockover State which was a mental institution. She said this made her feel like garbage being brought to the dump to rot. This first chapter did not have any science fiction to it, but i loved the realism that is portrayed especially because it takes place in NYC, the way certain things that are mentioned i know of and it makes the story feel more real.
This chapter confused me a little because i know she is in the mental institution, but she talks about walking around outside and being home and going to to work. Anyway Connie talks about her work she did Mrs. Polcari in the welfare program. Connie talks about taking the subway and they way she describes it i feel like im really there with her because i know the places she is going to in the story, like she mentions going to delancy/Essex street which i know very well cause its on my route to school. Reading things like that are pretty cool to me cause it makes me feel like im right there with her in the story and i know where she is going and what she is doing. Things like this really bring the story to life. Connie talks about work she does for a professor at a CUNY college, which again makes the story come to life. However it is after her tiring day at work that we finally get some kind of science fiction in this book, she falls asleep from a long day of work and dreams of Luciente who is from the future, the year 2137 to be more exact. Connie is startled by Luciente at first cause she also meets him on the street as well. He tells her that she is special because she is a catcher, which i took as she was able to see and talk to him while not everyone could. She seemed like she could only see Luciente when she is either servilely tired or really high and he says maybe they can see each other when she is not stoned. As i said before this chapter really confused me.We also learn about Connie’s past with her family and what happened with her daughter Angelina. We learn that growing up there wasn’t a real standard for people in her family. We see Connie tell her mother that she wants to go to college and have a career, but her mother tells her that she couldn’t do that and that she was destined to be a mother working at home in the kitchen. Connie refuses this and goes to college for two years, but ends up getting knocked up at 19 ending her dreams of a career someday. We also learn that Connie had a problem with child abuse with her daughter Angelina and in the end she was taken away from Connie. This leaves Connie all alone and makes her feel like she is nothing and that her mother sadly was right about the woman in that family destined to not achieve greatness
The next chapter finds Connie back in the mental hospital and she describes what is happening while she is there. We learn that she is in a solitary cell and she is very drugged up. While being there isolated from everyone else she remembers losing Angelina to child welfare and that makes her feel even more lonely. She tries to get lost in her mind so she does not feel this lonely and depressed and tries to find Luciente. Luckily he does come to her and this makes her feel not alone in this world. They talk about her life and about Luciente and his home. He tells her that if she is feeling uncomfortable here and he says they can travel to his time if she wants and she agrees too. Though she does not go there physically she goes there mentally, but it feel like she is really there. Upon approaching in 2137 she learns that Luciente is actually a woman. Which makes me think what was she seeing when Luciente approached her the last couple of times, was Luciente disguised in some way, did she just really look like a man or did she only see like a figure or an outline of a person? While in 2137 Connie is introduced to a couple of Luciente’s friends and she is also introduced to this new world. We learn that there was nuclear war that made the world basically start from the beginning again. There were farms and villages like there were in the 1200s-1500s. Which is interesting because in this futuristic time technology of the past led to us having to restart and make a better world to learn from our mistakes. Connie seems to take a liking to this place because she does not like the world is in 1970’s NY, She likes how this world is so peaceful and everyone is together. We also learn that her coming tot he future does not affect the past, but if Luciente were to come to the past fully it could affect the future. After her day in 2137 Connie is sent back to her body and wakes up in the solitary cell as if she never left.
Back in the mental hospital Connie reconnects with an old friend named Sybil who believes she is a witch and she can do spells with herbs and things. The seasons change from winter to spring showing how long Connie has been in there, while this happens a new doctor arrives at he hospital and observes certain people. Later theses people are called to do an interview/experiment. Connie being one of these people is called in and asked a bunch of questions about how she feels and if she gets headaches and other things that hurt. In the end those people who were called were being moved to the the ward G2. This section is a little more open and Connie talks about there actually being men in this part of the hospital. Connie thinks that is good she got moved down because she feels like it is closer to her getting out.
So far this novel has been interesting and some what intriguing, but i don’t like that there is not a lot of science fiction in it yet. However i do like how real the story feels to me and how i feel like i could imagine being there with her, also i like the idea of the future being a place that does not have a lot of technology and it is a place where we as a society are starting over and learning from the mistakes of the past. Maybe Connie will help them with that more. We will have to wait and see.