Beginning in childbirth and entered like a multiple dwelling in motion,Women and Men embraces and anatomizes the 1970s in New York - from experiments in the chaotic relations between the sexes to the flux of the city itself. Yet through an intricate overlay of scenes, voices, fact, and myth, this expanding fiction finds its way also across continents and into earlier and future times and indeed the Earth, to reveal connections between the most disparate lives and systems of feeling and power. At its breathing heart, it plots the fuguelike and fieldlike densities of late-twentieth-century life.
McElroy rests a global vision on two people, apartment-house neighbors who never quite meet. Except, that is, in the population of others whose histories cross theirs believers and skeptics; lovers, friends, and hermits; children, parents, grandparents, avatars, and, apparently, angels. ForWomen and Men shows how the families through which we pass let one person's experience belong to that of many, so that we throw light on each other as if these kinships were refracted lives so real as to be reincarnate.
A mirror of manners, the book is also a meditation on the languages, rich, ludicrous, exact, and also American, in which we try to grasp the world we're in. Along the kindred axes of separation and intimacyWomen and Men extends the great line of twentieth-century innovative fiction.
Joseph McElroy is the author of nine novels, includingA Smuggler’s Bible (Harcourt),Hind’s Kidnap (Harper & Row),Ancient History: A Paraphase (Knopf),Lookout Cartridge (Knopf),Plus (Knopf),Women and Men (Knopf),The Letter Left to Me (Knopf),Actress in the House (Overlook), andCannonball(Dzanc, 2013). His short novella about India,Taken From Him, has just been published as an Amazon Kindle Single. Another novella,Preparations for Search, appeared in 2010.Night Soul and Other Stories, a volume of short fiction, was published by Dalkey Archive Press in 2011. A volume of his essays,Exponential, has been published in Italy and in expanded form will be forthcoming from Dzanc.
His non-fiction book about water is close to completion. Three short plays are forthcoming, and a children's book. He received the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and D.H. Lawrence Foundations, twice from Ingram Merrill and twice from the National Endowment for the Arts. Among other universities he has taught at Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, University of New Hampshire, Temple, NYU, the University ofParis, and the City University of New York. McElroy was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1930. He was educated at Williams College and Columbia University.