You can send news, tips, and suggestions to [email protected]. A mountain looms over Herot Hall and our second mother, Dana Mills, looks on. Over 800 years later, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein gave us a monster with not just pathos but psychology; Headley’s story owes as much to the Romantic era as the Anglo-Saxon. Calling Headley’s work a retelling does it short shrift. Everything is as it should be. For Willa, he’s the intruder who threatens her family; for Dana, he’s someone whose otherness makes him vulnerable. But Gren is not willing to give up a world he’s never known. The Mere Wife is a sly satire of suburbia, wittily detailed and narratively bold. If everyone is an animal, why do some get classified as monsters? It’s unforgettable that the women, not the titular hero of the original story, are the focus of The Mere Wife . Gren is a boy struggling to understand the world around him, despite that the world wasn’t meant to contain him. She knows she is a member of the marines. Book of the day Fiction The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley review – a modern Beowulf The Old English epic becomes an ambitious American … Fantasy and realism mix in an ambiguous, audacious genre-bender. 4.2 out of 5. (Penguin, $16.) Movie Reviews TV Reviews Roundtables Podcasts 'My Rembrandt': Film Review ... of a husband and wife, on either side of the bed. Her 2018 novel, The Mere Wife, was a novelist adaptation of the poem. The excess of Herot Hall is brought out in the prose to an almost satirical degree, especially when compared to the scrounging that Dana and Gren must do to survive. I don’t know. If it’s a geographical feature, then it’s Dana: her mountain camp is by the lake. New York Times bestselling author Maria Dahvana Headley’s fierce, feminist retelling of … Buy this book from to support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no additional cost to you. If it means “only”, then perhaps it’s an ironic reference to Willa, who is a desperate and dangerous woman under the homemaker surface. All are wounded, all are selfish, all are human – and it makes this story even more relevant. How are ratings calculated? and fantasy, steps into the adult world with this spot-on reimagining of a classic of Old English literature. The Mere Wife is a unique mythological re-telling, in the vast cacophony of re-tellings out there right now. I know the world. Maria Dahvana Headley: a feminist reading. (Willa, we learn, has only feared once that her husband might betray her: a time when he “began to pour himself scotch and sob at the dining table, using words like existential and guitar”.). 0 reviews. She is a post 9/11 war veteran, one that has lost her entire team and an eye from conflict. Dana Mills wakes up unsure of what has happened to her or why she is pregnant. Dana never thought to be a mother. Jake Meador is the editor-in-chief of Mere Orthodoxy and author of "In Search of the Common Good: Christian Fidelity in a Fractured World." Get our latest news, giveaways, free subscriptions and more. It’s a modern question to ask of an ancient story. She anticipates patriarchal requirements so perfectly that, as with Dana, it’s hard to tell whether she’s victim or accomplice. (The third word is the indispensable, untranslatable Old English call to attention hwæt: Headley gives a whole list of possibilities, which later turn up as section headings.). I say finally because I think the world needs this book. The pair is for all intents and purposes the monsters of the original, but here they are cast for more than sympathy. Certainly, reading Headley’s introductory remarks, it was born out of Q&A sessions at festivals following The Mere Wife’s promotion. The Mere Wife is clever and often funny, finding ingenious ways to update the Beowulf story, in a way that produces wry social commentary. Both Dana and Willa recognise something fearful in Gren. Diary of an MP's Wife by Sasha Swire review – candid account of a Tory clique. Women drive this novel from start to finish. ―Publishers Weekly "The Mere Wife [is] an intense, visceral reading It is this real wrinkle in the narrative that makes the modernization so believable, making this much more than only a rehashing of the original tale. A gated community … no place for Dana and Gren. ... let it go for a mere $185,000.) The novelist and essayist Lively hates the term “hobby,” preferring “consuming interest” to describe her passion for gardening. The question rippling through Headley’s ambitious novel is why we need to cast anyone as a monster at all. She goes from dinners to cocktail hours to school events with her son, Dylan, close at her heels. 4.2 out of 5 stars. In the Old English original, Grendel is simple malignancy, a grotesque “other” who stalks Heorot Hall and savages its inhabitants; when Beowulf kills him, his mother returns for vengeance. In addition, vets account for roughly 20% of all suicides in the US. The Mere Wife is an exquisitely told, brutal revisioning of Beowulf, set in modern, Stepford-like suburbia. Think “mere” as sea, as in the Old English, and not just as some dismissive term. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99. Above all, Headley’s novel, with its roots in ancient legend, proves especially relevant in this time of heightened … “Rape? While Dana’s sections are first-person, the Herot chapters are told in the third person and centred on Willa, with waspish humour at the expense of her Waspy life. To me, he looks like my son. Kidnapped from a desert battlefield and apparently beheaded on camera, Dana somehow survives – less one eye, but with PTSD, amnesia and an unexplained pregnancy. Plot. The Mere Wife author told Raf how she brought the perspectives of women and people of colour to the fore, and how she prioritised communicating her character's feelings and experience, over physical appearance. The Mere Wife. Even inside Herot, she knows that “You can’t fight nature … You can’t make it human. Not only does it tell an intimate tale of mothers struggling against one another and their sons, but it is a tale brought out from the fecund ground of one of the oldest tales in the world, Beowulf. The Old English epic becomes an ambitious American fable, in this bloodthirsty novel told from the point of view of the monster’s mother. LIFE IN THE GARDEN, by Penelope Lively. She and her son, Gren, live together in the caves that honeycomb the mountain and house the mere, that also feeds Herot Hall. ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review "Headley (Magonia) applies the broad contours of the Beowulf story to her tale but skillfully seeds her novel with reflections on anxieties and neuroses that speak to the concerns of modern parenting." That town no longer exists. Both could be wrong, though. She modernized the tale of Beowulf into the US in the decades following 9/11. It is a reminder that stories survive through the centuries because – however antiquated they seem on the surface – they hold meaning that never dims. To borrow from the blurb on Amazon: New York Times bestselling author Maria Dahvana Headley presents a modern retelling of the literary classic Beowulf , set in American suburbia as two mothers—a housewife and a battle-hardened veteran—fight to protect those they love in The Mere Wife . The Mere Wife is a book by Maria Dahvana Headley that is a retelling of Beowulf set in 21st-century America. In this way it is a story of mothers and sons, the equal intensity and distance of that bond. Headley, a writer of juvenile fiction ( Aerie, 2016, etc.) A boy with brown skin?” The echo here is not centuries old, but six years: Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager shot dead in a gated community by a neighbourhood watch patroller. Review by Alexander Pyles Few stories published today feel as mythical as Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife . The Beowulf analogue here is police officer Ben Woolf, but he’s certainly not the hero: the roaming consciousness of the novel spends barely more time resting with him than it does, delightfully, with a pack of dogs (“We travel on perfume lines, drink them out of the air like you listen to the radio”).

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