In Lioness Emily Perkins Weaves A Seductive Web

“Emily Perkins’ previous novel, The Forrests, was longlisted for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction, and her work for stage and screen includes co-writing the film adaptation of fellow New Zealander and Booker-winner Eleanor Catton’s debut novel The Rehearsal. Now, she taps into contemporary conversations about power, privilege and gender inequality in her fifth novel, Lioness, the story of a middle-aged woman in crisis,” Lucy Scholes writes in a review of the book for the Financial Times.

“While not as powerful as Perkins’ very best work, Novel About My Wife (2008) – a gripping, insidious story of a woman’s descent into madness, as told by her husband – the nuance of Lioness’s portrait of a mid-life personal and political awakening is extremely seductive. Therese isn’t a cardboard-cutout woman scorned; she’s someone who’s spent most of her life internalising the male gaze. As such, the thrust of her reckoning is her having to come to terms with her own complicity in the structures that have protected her.”

Christchurch-born Perkins, 53, was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to literature.

Original article by Lucy Scholes, Financial Times, July 13, 2023.

Tags: Emily Perkins  Financial Times  Lioness  

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