Fear of Flying is a 1973 novel by Erica Jong, which became famously controversial for its portrayal of female sexuality, figured in the development of second-wave feminism.
The novel is written in the first person: narrated by its protagonist, Isadora Zelda White Stollerman Wing, a 29-year-old poet who has published two books of poetry. On a trip to Vienna with her second husband, Isadora decides to indulge her sexual fantasies with another man. Its tone may be considered conversational or informal. The story's American narrator is struggling to find her place in the world of academia, feminist scholarship, and in the literary world as a whole. The narrator is a female author of erotic poetry, which she publishes without fully realizing how much attention she will attract from both critics and writers of alarming fan letters.
The book resonated with women who felt stuck in unfulfilled marriages, and it has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.
Jong has denied that the novel is autobiographical but admits that it has autobiographical elements. However, an article in The New Yorker recounts that Jong's sister, Suzanna Daou (née Mann), identified herself at a 2008 conference as the reluctant model for Isadora Wing, calling the book "an exposé of my life when I was living in Lebanon." Daou angrily denounced the book, linking its characters to people in her own life and taking her sister to task for taking cruel liberties with them, especially Daou's husband. In the book, Isadora Wing's sister Randy is married to Pierre, who makes a pass at both Wing and her two other sisters. Jong dismissed her sister's claim, saying instead that "every intelligent family has an insane member."