The Women Could Fly

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Pub Date 18 Aug 2022 | Archive Date Not set

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"Megan Giddings's prose is brimming with wonder. The Women Could Fly is a candid appraisal of grief, inheritance, and the merits of unruliness." Raven Leilani

Reminiscent of the works of Margaret Atwood, Deborah Harkness, and Octavia E. Butler, The Women Could Fly is a feminist speculative novel that speaks to our times. A piercing dystopian tale about the unbreakable bond between a young woman and her absent mother, set in a world in which magic is real and single women are closely monitored in case they are shown to be witches . . .

Josephine Thomas has heard every conceivable theory about her mother’s disappearance. That she was kidnapped. Murdered. That she took on a new identity to start a new family. That she was a witch. This is the most worrying charge, because in a world where witches are real, peculiar behaviour raises suspicions and a woman – especially a Black woman – can find herself on trial for witchcraft.

But fourteen years have passed since her mother’s disappearance, and now Jo is finally ready to let go of the past. Yet her future is in doubt. The State mandates that all women marry by the age of thirty – or enrol in a registry that allows them to be monitored, effectively forfeiting their autonomy. At twenty-eight, Jo is ambivalent about marriage. With her ability to control her life on the line, she feels as if she has her never understood her mother more. When she’s offered the opportunity to honour one last request from her mother’s will, Jo leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time.

In this powerful and timely novel, Megan Giddings explores the limits women face – and the powers they have to transgress and transcend them.

"Megan Giddings's prose is brimming with wonder. The Women Could Fly is a candid appraisal of grief, inheritance, and the merits of unruliness." Raven Leilani

Reminiscent of the works of Margaret...

Advance Praise

'Equal parts magic and revelatory.' LitHub's Most Anticipated Books of 2022

'Megan Giddings has a knack for taking her readers on a wild, suspenseful and thrilling ride. With descriptive setting and peculiar character development, I'm sure this novel is about to give us Dune meets The Salem Witch Trials realness.' Buzzfeed

'A book with echoes of Octavia Butler and Shirley Jackson.' Electric Lit

'Equal parts magic and revelatory.' LitHub's Most Anticipated Books of 2022

'Megan Giddings has a knack for taking her readers on a wild, suspenseful and thrilling ride. With descriptive setting...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781035001583
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 43 members

Featured Reviews

This was an amazing book, well written with a fascinating storyline and well developed charcaters that were both believable and relatable. I really enjoyed it.

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Whether you liked "the Power" or not (definitely not worth the hype in my opinion), or simply not read it, you will not resist getting mesmerized and engrossed in this oniric tale of a society where non compliant/independent women are deemed to be witches. Not only is the writing phenomenal but the story is also beautifully crafted around a queer mixed race woman looking for her mother as well as for herself. So many current issues are talked about and dealt with successfully and tastefully without trying too hard or just for the sake of it, this in itself is reason enough to grab this gem. Every word is carefully chosen and allows you to picture the setting as well as feeling every emotions at the same time as the protagonist. The women could certainly fly and i went with them for the ride! Absolutely unforgettable!!

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I just loved the book it is witty topical and scarily real .A world that had the usual misogynistic and racist attitudes with the addition of anti-witch feelings .Of course the witches were women and of course they were black because these people were calling out for further hate crimes
The female lead character is gay black a woman and to add to it all a witch ,she was doomed from the beginning
The author managed to merge the magical and the real seamlessly to make the world utterly believable
The author has a clear easily read prose style making the book an enjoyable read .she covers a huge amount of heavy topics in a light intelligent way with some sections extremely witty and amusing
I would recommend this book for those who enjoy magical reality
I read an early copy on NetGalley Uk

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When are men most frightened of women? When they think they are witches! Josephine's mother disappears when Jo is young. Could she be a witch? When she is old enough, and finds clues to her mother's vanishing, Jo sets out to track her down. A story of desperate masculine control exerted over women and its consequences.

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What a great book - highly recommended.
A dystopian world where magic exists, with a lot of similarities to our own. A world with racism, sexism, homophobia, where being a woman, especially non-white or poor, condemned for witchcraft will cost your life. In some other states, being a gay man condemned for witchcraft will as well. A world where women have to marry men to keep some rights and some freedom. Jo, the main character, wonders - can love, can marriage truly exists in such a world where you depend on someone else like this? A husband the government asks to spy on you for signs of witchcraft?
Jo's mother, who didn't believe in magic at all, disappeared 14 years ago. Still processing the difficulties of going through this, among other difficulties from the systemic oppression and her personal circumstances, Jo will go on a journey that reconnects her with her past and her future, with her world and how to interact with it.
This book is deep (and ramble-y in a way I like), not shying from taking a topic and developing it, and making us interrogate it, and so, interrogate our world in turn. Megan Giddings writes wonderfully and some descriptions made a lot of ineffable things feel real. This is an amazing book.

I want to thank NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Josephine Thomas just turned twenty eight and she’s not married and bisexual where all women are required to marry by thirty or they have to register to be monitored by the government and homosexuality and any other forms of non conformity around gender are illegal and society is encouraged to report signs of witchcraft
Josephine has heard every conceivable theory about her mother’s disappearance when Josephine was twelve and there have been many theories that she was kidnapped and murdered and she changed her identity for a new start and that she was a witch
I really enjoyed definitely recommend
Thank You NetGalley And Pan Macmillan
I just reviewed The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings. #TheWomenCouldFly #NetGalley

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Until reading some of my fellow reviewers thoughts I had no idea this book would be quite so Marmite (that’s divisive for the non British among us). I was not entirely Giddings’ captive audience for this novel. While I love dystopian fiction I really struggle with fantasy and usually anything that mentions witches is a real turn off for me, but the combination of the two was quite dare I say it, bewitching. Throw in issues of race, sexuality and patriarchal control of women’s lives and there was enough to draw me in.
Giddings throws you straight into Jo’s life with no scene setting or character building but after a few chapters I realised it was a much more organic way to get to know someone and that I felt bonded to her as a protagonist by finding out who Angie and Party City were quickly with little back story just as you hear about the friends and family of people you meet in everyday life.
I loved Giddings descriptions of attraction, fizzing with sex without being at all overt. Her descriptions of magic are likewise, exciting and thrilling but still private and intimate to the witches who practice their crafts.
Jo’s desire for a life where she can do nothing but the one thing that drives her passionately, to create really resonates with me. As a creative who needs to make rather than make crafting into a business I could see how difficult the societal norm of having to be married by 30 and married in order to continue to work would stifle her.
Her complex relationship with her parents, especially her missing mother was another thing where I could identify so much of my own life in Jo’s story. Giddings writes with such honesty and simplicity of the complex feeling relationships can cause.
I won’t say much about the plot as I hate spoilers but suffice it to say I was blindsided by the end and shocked again at the ending of the end.
I will definitely be excited to read anything else by this author.

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A beautifully satisfying conclusion in an infuriatingly believable patriarchal society where women’s lives are entirely controlled and under suspicion, whether or not they’re a witch (too easy to imagine in a Republican US where the possibility of magic exists). The main character is flawed but likeable and believable, and the characterisation honest; the same goes for those around her, and has you rooting for her throughout.

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Wonderful, intriguing and captivating. A well thought out plot and colourful characters. It draws you in and once it has you it doesn't let go.
A stunning book and story it keeps you hooked for the whole ride. No second guessing here, you have to endure and experience until the conclusion.

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This is an intriguing book which places you in a world where witches are acknowledged as existing but are still burnt at the stake if found. Witchcraft is held up by the patriarchy as an example of why women need to be controlled and directed by men in order to keep everyone safe. The MC is questioning herself, her mother, her memories of childhood and trying to work out how to move forward and embrace all she is and can be. Loved it. (Copy received from Netgalley in return for an honest review)

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So I never used to read many dustopia stories... but lately I cannot resist and this one had me at "set in a world where witches are real"
This story is a dystopian image of what it's like to live in a man's world, where unmarried women have to register at the age of 28. They have to find a husband before 30 to keep any kind of rights such as the ability to continue to work. Where women are suspected of witch craft and condemned for such acts.

This story is truly relatable what with acts of racism, homophobia and sexism throughout. So really this world wasn't too far from our own.

The story rambles on a bit in places but I felt it added more depth to the story giving us an opportunity to explore their world and in turn our own. The author really deserves credit for her descriptions as it bought it all the life.

I truly recommend this book to any and all dystopia fans... such a great read!!

Thank you to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for.providing me with an E-Arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I was given an ARC of this story and it was certainly thought-provoking because it highlighted the absurdity of small, uneducated minds.

The story is set in a time where women are strictly monitored and controlled by men, with special focus on the question of witchcraft. It was reminiscent of the past where women were drowned or burned if thought to be a witch - men's insecurities and fears of women taken to extreme. It was scary and it made me angry at the arrogance and feeling of entitlement by men.

It was an interesting mix of modern day and women without a voice and the idea of magic - well done.

The writing style was good, although, it confused me at times because it tended to wander from the point. I was also perplexed by the use of a capital 'b' for the word black - colours don't need a capital unless a name or at the beginning of a sentence. Heritage in that context does not need a capital as it's not a country like people from Mexico, for example, being Mexicans. I know the idea of racism, gender and poverty were themes within this tale but I think if someone is black or white, capitals are not necessary.

The actions of the people reminded me of the ridiculous hysteria of mobs like in the witch trials of the past and how quickly these people gather on the bandwagon (men and women) - this was described very well.

This was a sad, maddening and frightening story that I hope never happens, although, history shows that even now it's a man's world and women have to constantly fight for their rights.

Worth reading.

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What an amazing book!
The book is super exciting and would love to read more from the author!

Thankyou netgalley for the ARC

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This was an incredible novel, with fascinating characters, in particular Jo, who is 28, when it is mandated that all women must marry at 30, or lose their autonomy. That, and the fact that witches were still around made for a good story. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for giving me a copy of the book

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