From The New York Times:
Nearly everything about Kate Walbert’s new novel is wickedly smart, starting with the title: “A Short History of Women.” Does it connote modesty or grandeur? “Short” sounds modest. “History” sounds grand — grandiose, in fact, when affixed to a work of fiction. But “Women” clinches it: modest, then. After all, what more trifling subject could one elect to research? Such, at any rate, is the prevailing view in the world inhabited by Walbert’s characters — all five generations of them. One of the book’s accomplishments is that it persuades us that this sentiment holds no less currency in 21st-century America than it did in late Victorian England. But Walbert’s primary concerns — unlike those of some of her characters — aren’t political. Her writing wears both its intelligence and its ideology lightly. No manifesto, this is a gorgeously wrought and ultimately wrenching work of art.