50 Years of FEAR OF FLYING, the Groundbreaking Publication
On December 5, 2023, Berkley will publish a new trade paperback edition of Erica Jong’s groundbreaking debut novel FEAR OF FLYING to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the book’s original publication in 1973. The 50th Anniversary Edition will include a new cover look designed by Lynn Buckley with art direction from Kaitlin Kall, an introduction by writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner, and a foreword by the author’s daughter Molly Jong-Fast.
“The earthshaking event that was the publication of Fear of Flying can be difficult to imagine now. Male reviewers’ reactions at the time reveal their utter shock at confronting a woman in touch with her own desires. Fiction—for women and men—has never been the same,” says Berkley Executive Editor Tracy Bernstein.
Published in the same year the Supreme Court passed the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, Fear of Flying became a cultural flashpoint and captured the seismic sexual awakening of the 1970s. The book influenced a generation of writers and has been publicly praised by such novelists as Brodesser-Akner, Jennifer Weiner, Melissa Broder, and Meg Wolitzer, who calls Fear of Flying “smart, bold, bracing, and, importantly, extremely funny.”
In a deeply personal and candid foreword, Jong-Fast reflects on the inescapable hold the book had on her mother, the enduring legacy of protagonist Isadora Wing, and the novel’s ability to “capture the collective imagination, even for a moment.”
Brodesser-Akner alos heralds the novel’s remarkable cultural impact in her introduction, writing: “At its most basic, Fear of Flying is a trailblazing, historic account of what it meant to grapple with the complexities and contradictions of what women were told they should want and what they actually do… She made this grappling accessible to a mass audience of women who, for the first time, understood that they weren’t alone.”
The novel’s fiftieth anniversary brings Fear of Flying back into the public consciousness just as the country wrestles with Roe v. Wade’s dismantling. A reading of the novel in 2023 reaffirms the relevance and unique impact of Erica Jong’s seminal work.