"I Who Have Never Known Men" by Jacqueline Harpman

By Jacqueline Harpman

Reviewed by Collee

ISBN 9781945492600

This 1995 novel, first published in French, is a rather austere account of a woman's life. From her girlhood locked in a prison cell with 39 women (with no knowledge of the outside world), to her eventual nomadic existence in a barren land above the subterranean holding cell where the story begins, answers do not abound here. I found myself not caring about explanations, though. This tale is about the journey - how we negotiate relationships in a community and how we live honestly. I loved the quietness of tone here and the mysteries that one is left to ponder on one's own. Another speculative, dystopian novel that I'm glad didn't get lost to the ages.

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