New books — From the November 2013 issue

New Books

Download Pdf
MicroFiche

The title of Margaret Drabble’s new novel, The Pure Gold Baby (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26), refers to “Lady Lazarus,” a poem Sylvia Plath wrote a few months before she committed suicide: “I am your opus, / I am your valuable, / The pure gold baby.” Plath does not appear in Drabble’s novel, but she is perhaps the unnamed presiding spirit, the character Drabble looks back to as she portrays the lifeworks and working lives of several women (and a few men) who set out in the early Sixties to make a difference in the world — and who now find themselves reconsidering their early choices. Drabble’s protagonist is Jess Speight, a young anthropologist who, on a trip to Africa, encounters a tribe of children with unusual toes:

When she saw their little bare bodies, their proud brown belly buttons, the flies clustering round their runny noses, their big eyes, their strangely fused and forked toes, she felt a simple sympathy . . . a kind of joy, an inexplicable joy.

This article is only available to magazine subscribers. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $39.99/year.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Download Pdf
Share
undefined

More from Jane Smiley:

New books From the September 2013 issue

New Books

New books From the July 2013 issue

New Books

New books From the May 2013 issue

New Books

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2014

Stop Hillary!

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

How the Islamic State was Won

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Cage Wars

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Everyday Grace

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content