I recently read Abraham , by Daniel Backer and it put me in mind or Marge Piercy’s 1991 novel Body of Glass (published in the US as He, She and It), a modernised Golem story set in a dystopian future where the corporations run everything and are at cyber war with various groups of citizens and Free Towns. It’s a beautiful story. Somewhere between a fairy-tale, a horror novel and a love story. Having read Abraham I knew that I had to re-read Body of Glass and what a beauty it still is, after all these years.
I first read it in 2011, not long after I had moved back in with my parents in defeat after the collapse of my own relationship, and so the parallels there between the characters and myself were clear and raw. Looking back now, I suppose I must have transferred a lot of my own feelings on that to them and re-reading it with a different perspective I love the book differently now.
The clarity of the decisions made by Shira and the heartbreak at having left her son with her husband. The heartache at the betrayal by her own mother and grandmother. The real and perfect love she feels for her cyborg, Yod. Beauty and heartache set against a fascinating backdrop of politics, consumerism, cyber-war, organ harvesting and fear.
Shira‘s own homecoming, from the corporate city to her home town, the free Tivka rang with my own. The return from the broken marriage to the woman who had raised her. But in re-reading Shira’s own tragedy was nothing like mine had been, but her redemption and recovery came quickly with Yod, where my own didn’t really come until years later.
Piercy creates such wonderful parallels between the two narratives in her book – the 16th century Jewish Ghetto and the future nightmare where segregation is along different lines – that it reads seamlessly, and is not at all clunky like so many novels that attempt this can be.