Extreme Sex: Contemporary American Women Writers at the Margins

  • Beth Widmaier Capo


Several recent novels write first-person female protagonists engaged in sexuality on the margins, troubling normative gender roles. Alissa Nutting’s Tampa depicts a sociopath pedophile in a slickly sick gender satire. Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Small Backs of Children uses hybrid narrative form to push the transformative power of violent sexuality. Fragmented narration and first-person perspective also engage readers in Carole Maso’s Defiance, while Tamara Faith Berger uses tropes of pornography to question boundaries. Analyzing how these authors use narrative perspective, structure, and style to shape reader response, this chapter argues for the feminist and literary value of extreme sexualities while exposing the politics that still push women writers to the margins. These works create a productive unease by bringing marginalized sexual experiences into the cultural imaginary and slowly transforming notions of sexual agency.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beth Widmaier Capo
    • 1
  1. 1.Illinois CollegeJacksonvilleUSA

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