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Winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Ferro-Grumley Award: A beautiful novel about the strength of love and personal perseverance during the political fervor of the Progressive Era

Set in Russia and New York during the early twentieth century, Beyond the Pale follows the lives of two women born in a Russian-Jewish settlement who immigrate to New York’s Lower East Side. Gutke Gurvich is a midwife who travels to America with her partner, a woman passing as a man. Their story crosses with that of Chava Meyer, a girl who was attended by Gutke at her birth and was later orphaned during the Kishinev pogrom of 1903. Chava immigrates with the family of her cousin Rose, and the two girls begin working at fourteen as they live through the oppression and tragedies of their time. They grow to become lovers, which leads them to search for a community they can truly call their own.

Touching on the hallmarks of the Progressive Era—the Women’s Trade Union League, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911, anarchist and socialist movements, women’s suffrage, anti-Semitism—Dykewomon’s Beyond the Pale is a richly detailed and moving story, offering a glimpse into a world that is often overlooked.

ABOUT Elana Dykewomon

  • BIOGRAPHY

    Elana Dykewomon has published seven award-winning books foregrounding lesbian heroism, including the classics Riverfinger Women (1974), Beyond the Pale (1997), and Risk (2009). A former editor of the international lesbian feminist journal Sinister Wisdom, she is the recipient of the Lambda Literary Award and the Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley Award. In 2009 she received the Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prize, awarded by the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. Dykewomon and her partner live in Oakland, California.   

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