E(sther) M(asserman) Broner SHEILA SCHWARTZ and NANCY LYNN SCHWARTZ - Essay


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

E. M. Broner's A Weave of Women is an extraordinary novel, an original and beautiful work, musical in its conception, dreamlike in form, terrible, wonderful and haunting. (p. 481)

Each of the women has a different tale to tell, and the Leitmotifs for each run through the novel, woven into it like figures in a tapestry. (pp. 481-82)

Interwoven with the women's tales of crimes against them are their tales of present woes. They are at war with the sexism that is inherent in both the political and religious institutions of the state. They demonstrate against the government for its desire to close the home for wayward girls and they are beaten and jailed. But always they return to the house….

These women do not hate men. Men figure throughout the book as lovers, husbands, betrayers, murderers, seducers, weaklings, sons and brothers. They are peripheral to the book as women have so often been in books about male bonding. Men are necessary to the women in this book, especially for reproduction, but the meaningful relationships are with one another….

This is a contemporary book which exists on a continuum with 5,000 years of Jewish history; it is an extended epic poem which should become a classic. (p. 482)

Sheila Schwartz and Nancy Lynn Schwartz, "The House of Women," in The Nation (copyright 1978 The Nation magazine, The Nation Associates, Inc.), Vol. 227, No. 15, November 4, 1978, pp. 481-82.