When my mother and I used to ride the New York City subway together, she would look at the men sitting across from us with their legs splayed and launch into a rant about the entitlement that allowed them to take up so much space. Couldn’t they squeeze their knees together as we women did to create room for another person to sit? She had resented male privilege all her life; I suspect she even resented my son as a baby, before he became a person she loved.
I’ve summoned these memories because of the imminent publication of my new novel Livid, which explores female anger—in particular the kind of low-key anger my mother harbored, which was always simmering under the surface of a friendly, extroverted, life-loving woman. Sybil, the protagonist of Livid, is assigned to sit on a jury with her ex-husband to decide the fate of a woman who is accused of killing her own husband. Sitting in the courtroom day after day, Sybil has plenty of time to ruminate about her rage, the defendant’s rage, and how this binds them as women.