Books: Call of The Eco-Feminist

ANIMAL DREAMS by Barbara Kingsolver; HarperCollins; 342 pages; $21.95

Though routinely maligned as a decade of swinish greed, the 1980s also produced a kinder, gentler brand of storytelling, one that might be described as "eco-feminist" fiction. The central plot of this evolving subgenre has become reasonably clear. Women, relying on intuition and one another, mobilize to save the planet, or their immediate neighborhoods, from the ravages -- war, pollution, racism, etc. -- wrought by white males. This reformation of human nature usually entails the adoption of older, often Native American, ways. Ursula K. Le Guin's Always Coming Home (1985), an immense...

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