The Women Could Fly

Amistad: HarperCollins. Aug. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9780063116993. $26.99. FANTASY
Giddings returns after her critical hit Lakewood with a sophomore novel set in a slightly sideways near-future—one so close you can see it from here—where fears of witchcraft and restrictions against women provide shelter and cover for laws that put all women under male “protection.” That nearly all proven witches are non-white adds racial animus to the misogyny and anti-LGBTQ+ hatred on display everywhere. But is witchcraft real, or is it an excuse? Jo Taylor’s search for the mother she thought walked away is her chance to discover the truth, not just about her mother, but about herself and who she as a queer Black woman. Jo’s journey through a landscape that combines magical realism with social commentary and horror, exposes a world where all relationships are under duress and raises the question of whether or not there is a place where it is possible to be free.
VERDICT Combining the misogynist oppression of The Handmaid’s Tale with the sharp insight and SFnal (science fictional) tone of Octavia Butler, Giddings’s latest is a chilling but all too plausible tale.
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