All posts tagged: kind of metaphysical problem Taubes

The Greatest Feminist Novelist You May Never Have Heard Of

The Greatest Feminist Novelist You May Never Have Heard Of

The American novelist Susan Taubes drowned herself off the coast of East Hampton in 1969 at the age of 41. She had suffered from severe depression for a long time, but many friends thought the proximate cause of her death was a savage New York Times review of Divorcing, the only one of her novels to be published in her lifetime. The review had come out just a few days earlier. The critic, Hugh Kenner, had dismissed the work as the pretentious noodlings of a “lady novelist.” Kenner was cruelly, unforgivably wrong. Divorcing—reissued in 2020 by NYRB Classics, this time to high praise—is a masterpiece: witty, raw, and outrageous. More than half a century and a feminist revolution later, it still feels utterly original, and is still shocking. That readers now are likely to come to the novel knowing, either from reviews or the preface, that most of it is autobiographical makes the shock even more acute. Divorcing’s protagonist, Sophie Blind, has been given more or less Taubes’s story: childhood in Hungary; flight to America …