First published in 1967, this book consists of three short novellas on the theme of women’s vulnerability – in the first, to the process of ageing, in the second to loneliness, and, in the third, to the growing indifference of a loved one. THE WOMAN DESTROYED is a collection of three stories, each an exquisite and passionate study of a woman trapped by circumstances, trying to rebuild her life. In the first story, ‘The Age of Discretion’, a successful scholar fast approaching middle age faces a double shock – her son’s abandonment of the career she has chosen for him and the harsh critical rejection of her latest academic work. ‘The Monologue’ is an extraordinary New Year’s Eve outpouring of invective from a woman consumed with bitterness and loneliness after her son and her husband have left home. Finally, in ‘The Woman Destroyed’, Simone de Beauvoir tells the story of Monique, trying desperately to resurrect her life after her husband confesses to an affair with a younger woman. Compassionate, lucid, full of wit and knowing, Simone de Beauvoir’s rare insight into the inequalities and complexities of women’s lives is unsurpassable.
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