Woman on the Edge of Time Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Marge Piercy

First published: 1976

Genre: Novel

Locale: New York City and environs, and Mattapoisett, Massachusetts

Plot: Utopian

Time: 1976 and 2137

Consuelo (Connie) Camacho Ramos (kohn-SWEH-loh kah-MAH-choh RRAH-mohs), a thirty-seven-year-old Mexican American woman whose early beauty has been erased by hard times and tragedy. Her first husband was killed, and her daughter was taken from her by the state's child welfare agency, but she is determined to survive. Once she used her mind at college; now she uses it to live with crushing poverty. She is fiercely loyal to what she has left of her family, a niece, and it is a fight with her niece's pimp that results in her entering a mental hospital. From there, Connie discovers a unique talent: She can commune with the future. With the help of Luciente, a woman from the future, she visits Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, in the year 2137 and is amazed by the utopian life that she finds there. Meanwhile, back in 1976, she battles the doctors who wish to perform neuroelectric experiments on her in a struggle that is fueled by the social consciousness that she is developing under Luciente's tutelage.

Luciente of Mattapoisett (lew-see-EHN-teh), a woman in her thirties with sleek black hair, black eyes, and bronze skin. She is from the year 2137 and, as a “sender,” is able to contact receptive people from the past, such as Connie. Luciente works primarily as a plant geneticist, although, like everyone in her village, she shares in a number of other tasks. She is energetic, kind, and sensitive. She acts as Connie's guide and ambassador during Connie's visits to Mattapoisett. In many ways, Luciente represents what Connie is capable of becoming but could never hope to be in the racist, sexist, class-conscious society of 1976.

Jackrabbit of Mattapoisett, an artist and one of Luciente's current lovers. He is a slender young man with curly, light brown hair. His long legs and a boundless appetite for life and love prompted him to choose the name Jackrabbit. He went mad as a teenager and was strengthened by the healing process. This bout with mental illness and the caring way in which his community responded stand in powerful contrast to Connie's predicament. Jackrabbit can be careless and irresponsible, but his silly, curious nature makes him a pleasure to know. Jackrabbit is killed while serving a voluntary six-month stint on defense.

Bee of Mattapoisett, a big-boned black man with a bald head. He is a chef and another of Luciente's current lovers. He reminds Connie of Claud, the boyfriend she had after she left her second, abusive husband. Connie and Bee make love one night in Mattapoisett.

Dolores (Dolly) Campos, Connie's twenty-two-year-old niece, a prostitute addicted to drugs. Unlike Connie, she is unable to see beyond a life of easy money and quick highs.

Geraldo (hehr-AHL-doh), Dolly's handsome pimp and boyfriend. Geraldo commits Connie to Bellevue Hospital after she hits him over the head with a bottle in an attempt to stop him from attacking Dolly.

Luis (Lewis) Camacho (lew-EES), Connie's older brother and the owner of a plant nursery in New Jersey. Upwardly mobile, he has left his heritage behind by adopting the Anglicized name Lewis and marrying women who are successively more light-skinned and Anglo-looking. He has no sympathy for Connie's plight.

Gildina 547–921–45–822-KBJ, a young woman from the future, but a future that is vastly different from Luciente's. A series of operations and shots have given her a tiny waist, oversized hips and buttocks, and enormous, pointed breasts. She is a contract girl, assigned to a mid-level officer for two years of sexual services. Her existence is a stark reminder of what the future might bring.

Cash, the mid-level officer to whom Gildina is contracted. He has superneurotransmitters in his brain that are capable of turning him into a fighting machine. This technology is a refinement of the experiments planned for Connie.

Sybil, a practicing witch and Connie's friend at the mental hospital. She is tall, haughty, and strong.

Categories: Characters