Shylocks Daughter: A Novel Of Love In Venice by Erica JongShylocks Daughter: A Novel Of Love In Venice by Erica Jong

Shylocks Daughter: A Novel Of Love In Venice

byErica Jong

Paperback | September 30, 2003

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When the beautiful Jessica Pruitt arrives in Venice to star in a film based on The Merchant of Venice, she is preoccupied: she has recently lost custody of her daughter, and as an older actress she is increasingly aware of the difficulty of landing leading roles. One day, as she wanders through an old Jewish ghetto, Jessica is magically transported to sixteenth-century Venice where she finds herself the heroine of "Will" Shakespeare's play. Immediately attracted to the younger playwright, Jessica enters into an intensely passionate love affair that defies time and place. Reading group guide included.
Erica Jong is the author of eight novels—including Fear of Flying—six books of poetry, and several works of nonfiction. She lives in New York City and Connecticut.
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Title:Shylocks Daughter: A Novel Of Love In VeniceFormat:PaperbackPublished:September 30, 2003Publisher:WW NortonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0393324923

ISBN - 13:9780393324921

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Poor Poster Child According to John Updike, Erica Jong's FEAR OF FLYING "belongs to, and hilariously extends, the tradition of CATCHER IN THE RYE and PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT, that of the New York voice on the couch, the smart kid's lament...... fearless and fresh, tender and exact". Nor is he alone in his praise. But having read this novel, I am at a loss to understand what all the fuss is about. Published in 1973 and set in 1971, when the feminist movement was gaining momentum, this novel revolves around Isadora Wing, a twenty-nine year old aspiring writer and poet who accompanies her psychoanalyst husband, Bennett, to a conference in Vienna. There is some sex, much talk about sex, endless male bashing, and a protagonist immersed in her own self-pity, who, as the title suggests, fears flying. In fairness, the male characters leave much to be desired. Isadora's ex-husband is literally a lunatic and her current husband, Bennett, is emotionally distant. The object of her affections, the sometimes vulgar Adrian, also a psychoanalyst, is, like Isadora, selfish to a fault. Their odyssey through several European countries is undertaken without regard for their spouses (or children, in Adrian's case). Indeed, Isadora is arrogant enough to think that any decision to eventually return to Bennett to pick up where they left off will be hers alone to make. Relations with her mother and sisters are also strained and Isadora frequently obsesses over the poor hand that she thinks life has dealt her. Everything that goes wrong is someone else's fault or attributed to some patriarchal conspiracy, and her self-pitying, woe is me, I'm a victim narrative gets tedious. It is also rich, given that she grew up middle class and eventually married a doctor. Finally, any novel written in the first person runs the risk of enhancing a reader's perception that the protagonist is me oriented. But this story can still be a success if the author's intent is to get inside the head (and be critical) of a spoiled, immature, narcissistic, twenty-nine year old woman/ girl. Conversely, the author fails if, as I suspect, her objective is to portray her protagonist as a leading light in a feminist crusade. Any group, feminist or otherwise, ought to be downright insulted if someone of Isadora's ilk is portrayed as their poster child. Sadly, this novel merits two stars at best. PS: I'll still recommend that people read FEAR OF FLYING and form their own conclusions.
Date published: 2015-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing read I LOVED this book, Erica Jong is a very insightful author and has some intresting points of view. I fully support the reference of Erica as the female Henry Miller.
Date published: 2008-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from fresh and funny I read this 30th anniversary edition of Fear of Flying while taking the train to visit my mother in the hospital, a woefully adult event. I had just turned 30, and although the events of the book took place 30 years prior to my reading it, I was pleased to find how much of it withstood the passage of time, and how funny and sympathetic the heroine, Isadora Wing, turned out to be. Isadora is an upper-middle-class Jewish girl from New York City, travelling in Vienna with her husband, a stuffy analyst. She embarks on a road trip/affair with another married analyst, and through the course of events, tells the story of her romantic adventures as well as her life and upbringing as a nice, neurotic, Upper West side girl. She's over-educated, under-employed, and completely unsure of how to handle herself with men, publishers, and her very married uber-fertile sisters. The book provides something a discourse on feminism as it started to move out of academia and bohemia and into middle-class neighbourhoods. And it's an examination of (admittedly square) sexuality as a road to freedom (of sorts). Although over 30 years have passed since its publication, I appreciated the frankness of its sexual depictions in a society still marred by fear of sexuality, the body, and women's power. Likewise, I appreciated Isadora's vulnerability in admitting that she still needs a man to be whole, while fighting with her urge to be on her own. While we've "come a long way" as women, as intellectuals, and as forgers of our path, feminists still suffer from the same neuroses as Isadora--which instinct to follow, which mistakes to make, and how to be accountable without bearing the blame for everyone else. It's a crazy line to walk, and both Isadora and Erica Jong as her creator recognize the dilemma and explore it in brainy, satisfying, humourous, and often surprising ways. It's not a perfect novel, but it's one that's not afraid of its imperfections.
Date published: 2007-03-14

Editorial Reviews

An amazing tour de force. — Cosmopolitan

Erica Jong can write a historical novel that both honors its tradition with affectionate parody and creates its own full fictional reality. — New York Times Book Review

Fresh, innovative, ingenious...moving. The imagination of the poet she essentially is strikes deep. I recommend it with all my heart. — Anthony Burgess