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A Whistling Woman portrays the antic, thrilling, and dangerous period of the late ‘60s as seen through the eyes of a woman whose life is forever changed by her times.
Frederica Potter, a smart, spirited 33-year-old single mother, lucks into a job hosting a groundbreaking television talk show based in London. Meanwhile, in her native Yorkshire where her lover is involved in academic research, the university is planning a prestigious conference on body and mind, and a group of students and agitators is establishing an “anti-university.” And nearby a therapeutic community is beginning to take the shape of a religious cult under the influence of its charismatic religious leader.
A Whistling Woman is a brilliant and thought-provoking meditation on psychology, science, religion, ethics, and radicalism, and their effects on ordinary lives.
“Byatt is unusual not in combining the roles of scholar and writer, but in insisting on their duality loudly, publicly and in the fabric of her fiction. . . . At her best—and this latest is among her best—she is someone intimately acquainted with grief. She knows its violence and its faltering retreat. This, ultimately, is the grandeur of her novels.” —Ruth Scurr, Times Literary Supplement
“Rich, acerbic, wise. . . . [Byatt] tackles nothing less than what it means to be human.” —Vogue
“With consummate skill and inventiveness, [Byatt] creates a large cast of characters who shine with intelligence and individuality.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Byatt’s detailed descriptions often take on the resonance of poetry.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A bold, brainy eulogy to the late ‘60s…. Byatt’s clashes between the intimate and the intellectual make for a raucous, lively work.” —Entertainment Weekly