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An experiment in form, After Sappho is told in the collective voice and uses the pronoun “we” to knit together biographical anecdotes from the lives of many historical women, including Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, and Italian writer Lina Poletti. The book takes a cue from the ancient Greek poet Sappho’s own writing, largely left to us in fragmented form, and its themes of desire and belonging. In one moment, a glass mirror shatters and yet “we” can still admire ourselves in the fragments. Though heavily researched, the work blends fiction and nonfiction into a chatty whole. The cumulative effect is a loose history of feminist fire-starters and lesbian icons coming into their own in the modern era. —Eliana Dockterman

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