Guernica Magazine

Striving for Purpose

Meg Wolitzer discusses politics and process in the context of her new novel, The Female Persuasion. The post Striving for Purpose appeared first on Guernica.
Credit: Nina Subin.

Greer Kadestky is an introverted college freshman forced to attend her safety school after her stoner parents bungled the financial aid forms for Yale. She’s far away from her high school boyfriend, Cory, who’s at Princeton on a full ride. Greer sits around her dorm until a friend drags her to a lecture, where Greer meets the larger than life Faith Frank—a sexagenarian feminist who occupies an outsized role in the impressionable young woman’s life. Faith takes Greer under her wing, gives her a job, and helps the shy Greer find her voice.

So begins The Female Persuasion, Meg Wolitzer’s latest novel. Though The Female Persuasion tackles modern feminism, and arrives against a backdrop of #MeToo and evolving conversations around gender politics, she, “wasn’t holding onto these ideas waiting for the right climate moment.” Wolitzer has always considered herself a feminist; the novel’s foundations—female power, relationships between mentors and protégés—were built on the influences of her mother, novelist Hilma Wolitzer, and Nora Ephron, to name a few.

The writer has plenty to celebrate in 2018. Beyond the release of The Female Persuasion and the accompanying publicity tour, another of Wolitzer’s books, The Wife, was recently adapted into a movie starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce, which will be released this August. When Wolitzer and I spoke, she offered insight into her craft and process, including the “secret factory” that helps transform experiences into novels. We discussed the concept of “women’s fiction” and the category

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