Acclaimed for its deft blending of fantasy, psychology, and archetype, The Wild Mother is a brilliant depiction of the Wild Woman and those who would enslave her out of fear. Its protagonist is Lilith, predecessor of Eve who fled Eden for the woman-inhabited wilderness called the Empty Land. While returning to our own world to claim the 10-year-old daughter she was forced to abandon, Lilith is taken prisoner by Adam Underwood, the child's father. Her liberation by two others Adam has enslaved -- his blindly devoted colleague, Eva, and his still spirited mother -- forms the crux of this powerful reinterpretation of the myth of female destiny.
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Cunningham (The Return of the Goddess, 1992--not reviewed) offers a contemporary feminist fairy tale in which Lilith--far from being the evil, demonized child-stealer of the Judeo-Christian tradition--proves to be the archetypal Wild Mother without whose influence the modern-day family of Adam and Eva cannot be truly human or happy. An immortal race of women, all direct descendants of Lilith-- by tradition, the biblical Eve's successor and Adam's first rebellious wife--lives in wild communion with nature in the uncharted Empty Land. The modern Adam, a charismatic professor of alchemy and magic, once ventured into their realm, captured himself a Lilith-wife and brought her back to modern civilization, where, before escaping, she gave birth to a daughter, Ionia, and--unheard of for one of her race--a son. When the novel opens, the children's thoroughly domesticated human grandmother (``Grammar''--who ``had not a very high opinion of nature and considered herself at war with it,'' feeling that ``nature ought to at least obey its own laws if it would not obey hers'') runs the household; Adam exploits his devoted colleague Eva while pursuing intellectual projects, advancing his coldly calculating male ambitions and scheming to trap his erstwhile wife, the unvanquished, essentially unknowable Lilith. Since Lilith has always wanted to reclaim her daughter, the ten-year-old Ionia becomes Adam's bait--leading to Lilith's captivity, Ionia's having to choose between being wild or human, and transformative experiences for one and all. Cunningham is not just jumping on the bandwagon to run with wolves; here, she gracefully blends the mythical and magical with the humane. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Captivating archetypal characters dramatize the everyday magic of self-discovery in a work as intriguing as Cunningham's previous novel, The Return of the Goddess . Alchemy professor Adam Underwood lives with his mother and his children in a walled mansion ringed by the mysterious "Empty Land," a region inhabited by the descendents of Lilith, the first woman. One of those descendants, also named Lilith, is the mother of Adam's children, and the professor plans to use their daughter to re-possess her. Lilith is caught in Adam's trap and begins to die; though immortal, she cannot survive captivity. The series of events triggered by this wild mother's imprisonment changes all of the characters forever; Cunningham's simple, powerful narrative shows them growing believably and inevitably as a result of the choices they and others make. Like most fables, the story has a moral: self-knowledge is life and growth; all of us spend far too little time pursuing it. Though not without flaws--Adam's complete blindness to the wild mother's needs being one of them--this is a beguiling tour de force.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Station Hill Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110882681478
Book Description Station Hill Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0882681478 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0582878
Book Description Station Hill Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0882681478