Shifting seamlessly between past and present, consciousness and dreams, Lila Karp explores the conflicted psyche of thirty-two-year-old Harriet Battenberg as she inventories her life during a fourteen-hour labor. Wrenching flashbacks recall embittering conflicts with her mother, unfulfilling relationships with men, a miscarriage, and an abortion. Harriet’s struggle above all is to understand how her perception of womanhood has brought her to this moment of personal crisis.
Lila Karp halts time in the midst of exploring the psychological and sexual entanglements of a woman’s experience. Her wit and distinct literary style make hers a unique voice among writers from the 1960s U.S. feminist movement, a voice that still resounds today for everyone fighting to find themselves and write their own histories and futures. The Queen is in the Garbage is a shocking and absorbing story that uses a feminist perspective to deconstruct fundamental questions of womanhood, autonomy, and the very essence of human existence.
“Lila Karp is clear about confusion; it’s an accomplishment to map chaos with such skill.” —New York Times
“Deft, defiant . . . accurate.” —New York Times Book Review
“At any given moment, life becomes an accounting, a listing, a bookkeeper’s sheet offered in answer to the question: what am I doing here? Lila Karp’s novel is, essentially, the ledger-sheet answer to that question.” —The Village Voice
“For a whole generation of women . . . Lila Karp has managed to get it all on paper.” —Kate Millet, author of Sexual Politics
“When I read The Queen Is in the Garbage for the first time this year, I was impressed by Karp’s daring to write from a feminist perspective in 1969, long before such a perspective was considered legitimate. I believed her narrator, and I believed her story.” —Marilyn French, author of The Women’s Room