Reminiscent of the works of Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson, and Octavia Butler, a biting social commentary from the acclaimed author of Lakewood that speaks to our times—a piercing dystopian novel about the unbreakable bond between a young woman and her mysterious mother, set in a world in which witches are real and single women are closely monitored.
Josephine Thomas has heard every conceivable theory about her mother's disappearance. That she was kidnapped. Murdered. That she took on a new identity to start a new family. That she was a witch. This is the most worrying charge because in a world where witches are real, peculiar behavior raises suspicions and a woman—especially a Black woman—can find herself on trial for witchcraft.
But fourteen years have passed since her mother’s disappearance, and now Jo is finally ready to let go of the past. Yet her future is in doubt. The State mandates that all women marry by the age of 30—or enroll in a registry that allows them to be monitored, effectively forfeiting their autonomy. At 28, Jo is ambivalent about marriage. With her ability to control her life on the line, she feels as if she has her never understood her mother more. When she’s offered the opportunity to honor one last request from her mother's will, Jo leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time.
In this powerful and timely novel, Megan Giddings explores the limits women face—and the powers they have to transgress and transcend them.
Megan Giddings is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. Her first novel, Lakewood, was one of New York Magazine's top ten books of 2020, an NPR Best Book of 2020, a Michigan Notable book for 2021, a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards, and was a finalist for an L.A. Times Book Prize in the Ray Bradbury Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Speculative category. Megan's writing has received funding and support from the Barbara Deming Foundation and Hedgebrook. She lives in the Midwest.
"Megan Giddings’ prose is brimming with wonder. The Women Could Fly is a candid appraisal of grief, inheritance, and the merits of unruliness." — Raven Leilani, author of Luster
"Born of a radical imagination and executed with piercing elegance and skill, The Women Could Fly recalls legendary works of dystopian fiction but casts a spell all its own. Giddings is a rare and utterly original voice bridging the speculative and the all-too-real." — Alexandra Kleeman, author of Something New Under the Sun
“Profound, daring, wondrous, and utterly original. A feminist dystopian epic about a world where women’s life choices are policed and female power and autonomy are the most dangerous forces of all, Megan Giddings’ The Women Could Fly offers a hypnotic blend of enchantment and outrage. I could not love this novel more.” — Jessamine Chan, author of The School for Good Mothers
"Combining the misogynist oppression of The Handmaid’s Tale with the sharp insight and science fictional tone of Octavia Butler, Giddings’s latest is a chilling but all too plausible tale." — Library Journal
“The Women Could Fly lifts the veil of this world to show, amid the old grief and injustice, a glimmer of necessary magic. This is a gem of a book about womanhood, lineage, and defiance.” — C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills Is Gold
“The Women Could Fly is one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling books I’ve read in years. It’s wildly imaginative, funny, deep, radical, and full of suspense—I read it in one giant gulp of pleasure. Megan Giddings is truly a remarkable writer.” — Jami Attenberg, author of I Came All This Way to Meet You
“The Women Could Fly drew me in immediately with its balance of humor and pain, magic and familiarity, and the unforgettable characters who are the novel’s beating heart. Reading this book is like putting on an old winter coat and discovering a magical talisman in the pocket: it’s full of warmth, comfort, and a whole new world of possibility. Megan Giddings is an exquisite novelist, and a writer to watch.” — Adrienne Celt, author of End of the World House