I have to rewrite my review. I haven't read this book in 20 years, and started re-reading it early this month. My how things change.
While I like Piercy's writing and her characterizations and setting are very strong, I was totally blown away by the fact that just about every single character -- and there are many characters in this novel -- is involved with some kind of animal exploitation. This is probably not something a non-vegan would notice, and I recognize that animal exploitation has historically been the norm so some depictions of it, and much ignorance around it, is to be expected. Yet it is difficult to read and care about characters who laugh at chickens dying, where one woman works at a furrier, where another character has hunted, another has slaughtered animals without being squeamish -- and on and on. One or two of these things, sure, I understand -- that's how things were and realistically that cannot be helped-- but this is totally beyond anything I've read before. I mean, it is fiction. Stick someone in a bookshop instead of a furrier's. Make the family business something like tailoring. But for every character to exploit animals beyond eating them is just too distracting and upsetting for me to continue. Particularly when Piercy is trying to write about the horrors of war.
In the end I knew I would end up loathing just about every character in this 740+ -page work, so I stopped reading it. This book has gone from my favorite novel to seriously disappointing piece of shit.