Fear of Flying
Erica Jong
1973

A classic of the second-wave of feminism, Fear of Flying is Erica Jong’s first and best-known novel. The story of Isadora Wing’s self-discovery, in-marriage sexual frustrations and exploration of fantasy with another man, the book struck a chord with married women and made Jong a household name. What is more, it made Fear of Flying not only an important book in American literature, but a major text of the 1970s women’s movement.

Hugely controversial and hugely popular for its explicit treatment of a woman’s sexuality and extensive pornographic episodes, the book introduced the term “zipless fuck” – a purely sexual encounter between strangers – which remains in usage in popular culture today. It is not, though, merely or even predominantly a novel about sexual escapades; likely based upon Jong’s sister – who has vocally condemned Jong for exploiting the story of her marriage – Fear of Flying is more generally about a young woman struggling to make sense of love, sex, freedom, and what it means to be a woman.

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