Native Tongue

Native Tongue Review

Called "fascinating" by the New York Times upon its first publication in 1984, Native Tongue won wide critical praise and cult status, and has often been compared to the futurist fiction of Margaret Atwood. Set in the twenty-second century, the novel tells of a world where women are once again property, denied civil rights and banned from public life. Earth's wealth depends on interplanetary commerce with alien races, and linguists--a small, clannish group of families--have become the ruling elite by controlling all interplanetary communication. Their women are used to breed perfect translators for all the galaxies' languages.

Nazareth Chornyak, the most talented linguist of the family, is exhausted by her constant work translating for trade organizations, supervising the children's language education, running the compound, and caring for the elderly men. She longs to retire to the Barren House, where women past childbearing age knit, chat, and wait to die. What Nazareth comes to discover is that a slow revolution is going on in the Barren Houses: there, word by word, women are creating a language of their own to free them from men's control.

Title:Native Tongue
Edition Language:English

Enjoy the book review !

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Althea Ann

    Read for book club.OK, first off: Suzette Haden Elgin is clearly a separatist, who believed that both women and men would be better off apart from each other. (Not that she seemed to care much about w...

  • Wealhtheow

    Absolutely excellent. I know The Handmaid's Tale gets more press and praise, but this is a far more realistic and chilling misogynist future. There's really so much meaty stuff, and I'm so far from el...

  • Kaion

    Noting the passing last week of Suzette Haden Elgin: linguist, verbal self-defense teacher, feminist genre writer, & founder of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. I read Native Tongue in my first...

  • Rhiannon

    This book had an amazing concept. It was full of amazing ideas (the creation of a secret language for an oppressed second class - women). But, it lacked several things, in my opinion, that prevented i...

  • Mary Holland

    Women have no rights and are the property of men. Aliens communicate with humans through the families of the linguist 'Lines', who have a monopoly on learning Alien languages. The women of the Lines, ...

  • Nathan

    I'll never forgive the university professors who made me read this novel. Some of the sci-fi elements in it were interesting and it posed some compelling linguistic questions but mostly it was just ti...

  • Stephen

    4.5 stars. Excellent story with well drawn characters (both male and female) and an original premise. Recommended!!...

  • Kaila

    Upon buying:Just look at how amazing that cover is. HOW COULD I SAY NO.Upon finishing:The cover had disappointingly little to do with the book. I wanted babies in giant test tubes presided over by gig...

  • Jenny

    I enjoyed it the first time I read it (I've studied Linguistics myself, which made it interesting) and I occasionally enjoy re-reading. But the re-reads expose more and more holes in the plot that get...

  • Mikhaela

    Considering how obsessed I am with dystopian science fiction, I can't believe I never read this feminist cult classic until now. It's not as well-written as the Handmaid's Tale, but it's still pretty ...