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Still unattached and childless at fifty nine world renowned anthropologist Gray Kaiser is seemingly invincible—and untouchable Returning to make a documentary at the site of her first great triumph in Kenya she is accompanied by her faithful middle aged assistant Errol McEchern who has loved her for years in silence When sexy young graduate assistant Raphael Sarasola arrives on the scene Gray is captivated and falls hopelessly in love—before an amazed and injured Errol's eyes As he follows the progress of their affair with jealous fascination Errol watches helplessly from the sidelines as a proud and fierce woman is reduced to miserable dependence through subtle cruel and calculating manipulation


10 thoughts on “The Female of the Species

  1. says:

    Shriver's debut novel is sometimes dragging a bit but you can already see the witty and sharp penned author she will become And the view on antropology it would be funny if it wasn't so true


  2. says:

    Really strong 3 Nowhere near as heavily pessimistic as many of the books that followed I think after Checker and the Derailleurs she became bitter about poor sales etcThere's real joy of language here as Shriver herself observes in the 2015 essay accompanying this re issue But she also says she hasn't read it since 1986 and those that re read their own work need to get a life Uh don't those who never read their books also need to get a life? For whose enjoyment did you choose that career? Neither exclusively the audience nor exclusively yourself you know?It's been educational charting the trajectory of Shriver's writing and her opinion of it Though her life lessons in her essays at the end of each book don't ring true to me at all They're so harsh But again I see videos of her talks and interviews and she laughs when she speaks than she's able to conjure with words Because she guards herself so closely Her writing gives me the impression that she doesn't think life is supposed to be very fun or rewarding I agree that character building is a great benefit of failure but it's also just a compensation for shit gone unexpectedly If you are living a content life I don't think that makes you a weak idiot it's the goal When do you stop building character and start enjoying life? There's no answer to that uestion but I occupy an entirely different region of the spectrum from Lionel ShriverHer novels act as a wonderful truth based dampener when you live in cultures that don't like to talk Then where else better to read Shriver than Norway?I likely have to say but I need time to think


  3. says:

    I'll read anything by Lionel Shriver This was her first novel and not as finely etched as her later works but nonetheless uite a rewarding read All of her novels feature extremely strong female protagonists and Gray Kaiser the world renowned anthropologist in this book is no exception In many ways you feel like you're studying Gray Kaiser the way she studies her subjects Shriver leaves you with pretty ambivalent feelings about her character by the end of the novel In Kaiser's shoes what choices would be the right ones? Hard to say


  4. says:

    This was a great vacation read A fascinating look at the sexuality of an independent older woman and her life choices Very interesting alphabeta male dynamics here Great characters I look forward to reading Lionel Shriver


  5. says:

    She's SUCH a good writer Read it in two days sitting on a sunny dock looking out at a beautiful lake Pretty perfect


  6. says:

    Really a 35 Readable Well developed characters


  7. says:

    The title of this novel is accusatory as I half expected it to be All the ways in which we are weaker and softer and needier are portrayed here And yet if you dissect this enough you can see that the male of the species is also imperfectly delicate in ways they too are not proud of We balance each other out at times and Lionel Shriver has yet again exposed the core of our humanity


  8. says:

    Gray Kaiser is a middle aged famous Anthropologist doing a documentary in Kenya She falls hopelessly in love with a young grad assistant called Raphael Raphael subtly and cruelly manipulates her and reduces her to a gibbering dependence upon him Her assistant Errol madly in love with her is devastated and engages in elaborate fantasies about themThis is a fable like almost apocryphal book that is very well written and engages the reader from the outset


  9. says:

    I love Lionel Shriver's writing and it was strong here even though it was her first novel I found the story a bit slow but just when I would start to contemplate packing it in there would be just enough of a hook to draw me back in At the end of the novel I could uite decide if I liked the booked or didn't like the book I think mostly I just felt sad for the characters and all of their lost opportunities at life and happiness


  10. says:

    Lionel Shriver is one of my favorite authors Interestingly that really depends on which book of hers The Lost Republic Game Control were two that I could not get into almost hating that they were by her because I felt obligated to finish them I suppose it makes sense since they were about topics I have little interest in and could not relate to whatsoever The Female of the Species is by far the worst Shriver book I have read Which is now The main themes I could identify were Anthropology academia unreuited love research and Africa which Shriver is slightly obsessed with; she spent a few years there The only aspect I had any interest in reading was Raphael's womanizing cruelty and downright appalling character Meeting his past lovers which were numerous and his neglected son only made matters worse And how he manipulated Gray a lifelong adamant independent woman into becoming his emotional slave Gray has always been devoted to her work never changing gears even for romance Now that Rafael has come on to the scene she decides to sacrifice the research trip that she has been pining for for years Why? Because he doesn't want to go so she wants to stay I say interest in reading but that does not necessarily euate to wanting to read it nor liking to read it Her succumb to such a man was nothing short of maddening She finds out he is taking advantage of her manipulating her simply to throw her away; yet she continues in a same way willingly giving him everything he wants Errol her assistant for than twenty five years is of course in love with her since twenty five years ago Like she to Raphael Errol dotes endlessly on her despite knowing and forced to accept that she will never care for him in the same way Now this young good looking Raphael who treats her so poorly and is objectively an evil person comes onto the scene and she falls for him instantly Imagine how this wrenched at his heart Yet nothing changed Thus he is arguably as much of a slave as Grey But at least he is doing it for a good woman All this does is make all the characters frustrating to no end Even the good ones And the ending? Hopelessly infuriating