Headley has written a novel that does everything a book should, but does the extra work with creating a brand new translation of an old story. Her use of the word “mere” not only serves to describe one of the framing devices of the novel but defines her two main characters: Willa and Dana. Even Dana Mills, as a soldier landing on foreign shores to fight against people who live there, is an invader. 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”). Fans of Beowulf should be encouraged to take a step into this reinterpretation and revel in the new forms the old characters take. Liked it? What Gren wants – a place by the hearth, the touch of a friend, love – makes him perfectly human. She has no one, and she does not need anyone, except for her son. Free UK p&p over £15, online orders only. From the catalog copy: From the catalog copy: From the perspective of those who live in Herot Hall, the suburb is a paradise. He’s almost as tall as I am and he’s only seven. She plans dinner parties and pours cocktails, but she also sees that a balaclava looks like “a sucked dry head, skull and eyes missing, only skin left”. John Gardner, of course, famously recast that poem in his novel Grendel, re-centering the epic around the monster, and plumbing its ancient setting with modern psychological depth.Headley is after something else entirely. Diary of an MP's Wife by Sasha Swire review – candid account of a Tory clique. How are ratings calculated? 140 global ratings. Willa, whose husband is the heir to Herot Hall, enjoys everything life has to offer. Book. The story’s setting is in a microcosm of civilization: suburbia. THE MERE WIFE. 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. 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. 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. 0 reviews. He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied English and History. Herot has no place for Dana and Gren, her miraculous child, born fatherless and with teeth. He was an accident, a surprise spark in the dark, and one that will not go quietly. The Mere Wife: A Novel › Customer reviews; Customer reviews. Take a second to support Three Crows on Patreon! Engraved on the Eye by Saladin Ahmed REVIEW, Review: A Collection of Obsessions by Michael R. Fletcher. They are instead transformed into outsiders, aliens, strangers. I say finally because I think the world needs this book. Maria Dahvana Headley: a feminist reading. Gren is a boy struggling to understand the world around him, despite that the world wasn’t meant to contain him. How she loves him, how she fears for him: “His eyes are black gold. Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife tells the story of Dana Mills, an American POW beheaded on YouTube for the world to watch. Women drive this novel from start to finish. The Mere Wife is a book by Maria Dahvana Headley that is a retelling of Beowulf set in 21st-century America. Everything is as it should be. Studies indicate that 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan vets suffer from PTSD. Or consensual?” demands an interrogator after she’s picked up by her comrades. If you see problems or bugs on the site, please let us know and include the URL and also which browser you are using. The question rippling through Headley’s ambitious novel is why we need to cast anyone as a monster at all. Even inside Herot, she knows that “You can’t fight nature … You can’t make it human. by Maria Dahvana Headley ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 17, 2018. Neighbors gossip and everyone is judged by who wears what at what function. An adaptation of a traditional Karen Hill tribe folk tale about the love triangle between the elephant, the mahout and the wife. The Mere Wife is not a retelling of that great old tale, but rather a playful reconsideration, an invitation to look at its characters from a different perspective. To me, he looks like my son. (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.). The Mere Wife is clever and often funny, finding ingenious ways to update the Beowulf story, in a way that produces wry social commentary. He was hers, and she was his, as simple as that. Review by Alexander Pyles Few stories published today feel as mythical as Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife . Fantasy and realism mix in an ambiguous, audacious genre-bender. The Mere Wife shows war from a mother’s perspective; the tragedy of all-encompassing love in a world that inevitably destroys. The pair is for all intents and purposes the monsters of the original, but here they are cast for more than sympathy. What is heroism in a man becomes horrifying in a woman. A list of “selected translations” at the start of the novel gives Headley’s definitions of three words: the masculine noun aglæca means “fighter, warrior, hero”; the feminine counterpart aglæca-wif means “wretch, monster, hell-bride, hag”. 5 star 65% 4 star 10% 3 star 11% 2 star 7% 1 star 7% The Mere Wife: A Novel. 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 . Last week I read The Mere Wife, a novel (affiliate link) by Maria Dahvana Headley, and I found it quite interesting. The Old English epic becomes an ambitious American fable, in this bloodthirsty novel told from the point of view of the monster’s mother. Book of the day Fiction The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley review – a modern Beowulf The Old English epic becomes an ambitious American … Headley elevates the quiet calm of suburbia by her use of language. “Any of those things will make him a target. If it means “only”, then perhaps it’s an ironic reference to Willa, who is a desperate and dangerous woman under the homemaker surface. He’s all bones and angles. The Mere Wife, Maria Dahvana Head­ley; Susan Bennett, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-42729783-9, $44.99, CD, 9 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital down­load]) July 2018.. Maria Dahvana Headley transforms Beowulf into a modern, vicious, and lyrical story about racial, class, and gender divides, and the messy legacy of gentrification. The Mere Wife is a unique mythological re-telling, in the vast cacophony of re-tellings out there right now. 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 Mere Wife" (MCD and Farrar, Straus and Giroux), by Maria Dahvana Headley Maria Dahvana Headley's new novel, "The Mere Wife," is much more than a simple recasting of the ancient epic poem "Beowulf" in the suburbs. All are wounded, all are selfish, all are human – and it makes this story even more relevant. Headley, a writer of juvenile fiction ( Aerie, 2016, etc.) Dana is a US marine, and her military background makes her a convincing threat as well as enabling a sharp comment on literary traditions of sexism. She knows she is a member of the marines. A gated community … no place for Dana and Gren. Think “mere” as sea, as in the Old English, and not just as some dismissive term. Few stories published today feel as mythical as Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife. 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 . It's "The Stepford Wives," 9/11 and English class thrown into a lyrical blender, and it's kind of glorious. But “The Mere Wife” brings the story into the 21st century in a curious way. 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