Saturday, March 24, 2012

Reveiw: Satellites Out of Orbit

I won 'Satellites Out of Orbit' by Chris Wind in the Member Giveaways section on LibraryThing. I rated it 3 stars.

Chris Wind’s ‘Satellites out of Orbit’ provides a “contemporary feminist perspective” of marginalised and silenced characters from myth, legend and modern history. The author attempts to reveal how a patriarchal society impacts the retelling of stories and history to reinforce the status quo and is, for the most part, very successful.

The book is divided into 5 sections: epistles, myths, letters, soliloquies and fairytales. Epistles contains the point of view of women silenced in the Bible. The concept is novel, but the execution is sometimes a little awkward. The ‘voices’ of Mrs Noah and Vashti in Epistles are very entertaining, but this is not consistent throughout the section, making the characters a little two dimensional. However, in the remaining sections, most of the characters have a distinctive ‘voice’.

Wind’s style is politically feminist. Issues such as infidelity, incest, abortion, marriage, childbirth and ambition are examined in light of how society places constraints on women. Obviously the pieces are written with a post modern perspective and shed light on how far women have actually come – from being relegated to childbearing and having to disguise themselves as men to experience success outside the home to having ambitions apart from traditional roles realised.

Wind has also provided an extensive appendix and advises readers to be familiar with the original stories in order to get the most out of the pieces. However, in the Kindle version, the hyperlink to the appendix is at the end of each piece, making flicking back and forth difficult.

‘Satellites out of Orbit’ is an entertaining read. To get the most out of it, the reader requires an open mind. It needs to be taken for what it is: a subjective view on the subjectivity of literature and history. Wind exposes how the simple stories that are often considered ‘romantic’, or are the basis for belief systems, can be used for the subjugation of women. The pieces also point out that there is still a paradox in our society as women have greater freedom outside of the home, but are still expected to attain certain ‘ideals’.

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