Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2012

Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong

Published in 1973, Erica Jong's Fear of Flying resonated with women who felt trapped in sexually unsatisifying marriages. The novel is narrated by a fictional woman named Isadora Zelda White Stollerman Wing, a 29-year-old poet. While on a trip with her second husband, Wing takes an opportunity to have a torrid affair with another man, indulging in sexual fantasies that she felt uncomfortable expressing to her spouse. The novel quickly became a national sensation, with the public wondering if it was partially autobiographical (Jong maintains it wasn't, but admits that it does include some autobiographical elements). Fear of Flying is also credited with providing some not-so-endearing terms for the American lexicon, such as the phrase "zipless f___", of which Jong explains is, "Zipless because when you came together zippers fell away like rose petals, underwear blew off in one breath like dandelion fluff." If that's what women want from sex, they're getting it in this novel, which to date has sold more than 20 million copies.