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The Red Word

Fiction: Drama
Unabridged   12 hour(s)
Publication date: 03/13/2018

Best Fiction in Canada's Governor General's Literary Awards

The Red Word

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781681689883
Digital Download ISBN:9781681689890


The Red Word captures beautifully the feverish binarism of campus politics and the headlong rush of youth toward new friends, lovers, and life-altering ideas. With strains of Jeffrey Eugenides's The Marriage Plot, Alison Lurie's Truth and Consequences, and Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons, Sarah Henstra's debut adult novel arrives on the wings of furies.

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Product Description

A smart, dark, and take-no-prisoners look at rape culture and the extremes to which ideology can go, The Red Word is a campus novel like no other. As her sophomore year begins, Karen enters into the back-to-school revelry―particularly at a fraternity called GBC. When she wakes up one morning on the lawn of Raghurst, a house of radical feminists, she gets a crash course in the state of feminist activism on campus. GBC is notorious, she learns, nicknamed "Gang Bang Central" and a prominent contributor to a list of date rapists compiled by female students. Despite continuing to party there and dating one of the brothers, Karen is equally seduced by the intellectual stimulation and indomitable spirit of the Raghurst women, who surprise her by wanting her as a housemate and recruiting her into the upper-level class of a charismatic feminist mythology scholar they all adore. As Karen finds herself caught between two increasingly polarized camps, ringleader housemate Dyann believes she has hit on the perfect way to expose and bring down the fraternity as a symbol of rape culture―but the war between the houses will exact a terrible price.


“Zeller's pacing and treatment of various voices become more consistent with each passing minute of this solid production, and the timely subject matter makes this a worthwhile listen.” —AudioFile

"The Red Word is the smartest, most provocative novel I've read in a long time. Sarah Henstra dives headlong into some murky, turbulent waters-gender politics, campus sexual assault, complicity, moral responsibility-and emerges with a book that's as shocking as it is essential." —Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children and Nine Inches

"Set in the 1990s, The Red Word interrogates the prevailing political preoccupations of that time: gender politics, third-wave feminism, and consent . . . A timely and nuanced dissection of rape culture.” ―Booklist

“An aesthetically arresting interrogation of rape culture…timely and brilliant.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Author Bio

Sarah Henstra is a professor of English at Ryerson University. She is the author of the young adult novel Mad Miss Mimic, which was published by Penguin Canada. The Red Word is her first work of adult fiction. She lives in Toronto.