The opening chapter of The Honeyman Festival by Marian Engel is a tour de force: not many years intervened between the birth of
Overall, however, this is not an entirely comfortable read. The setting is the end of the 1960s, when women were only just beginning to battle their way out of what seemed a predestined role: education was to get you a good but suitable job such as teaching or clerical work – “helpmeet” roles – until you met a man and settled down to have a family. Intelligent women were starting to rebel, but they were frequently unhappy and occasionally vilified.
Brooding on the risks to these infants brought about by her hugely-pregnant and exhausted state,
The power of Engel’s writing is in its vividness and immediacy.