Critical Context

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Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 134

The Equations of Love was reputed to be Ethel Wilson’s favorite among her books. Appearing in the middle of the decade 1947-1956, in which all of her novels were published, it certainly reflects her recurrent themes and mature technique.

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Orphaned early, she was the daughter of a Methodist minister, and she was long and happily married to a Vancouver physician who was elected president of the Canadian Medical Association. With that background, the roles, attitudes, and destinies she gives some of her female characters are surprising, especially at the time she wrote her books. She could be regarded as a sotto voce and subtly effective exponent of some of the concerns of the subsequent women’s liberation movement, provided that to describe her thus is not taken as a polemical or restricting classification.

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