read it: the mere wife

mere wife.jpg

Wow.

Beautiful, lyrical, poetry in prose. I don’t think I’ve ever read quite a voice like this before. It’s gorgeously lush.

The Mere Wife is a modern retelling of Beowulf set in suburbia. I’m not quite sure how to categorize it — fantasy, contemporary fiction, magic realism? I’ve mostly settled on fantastical because that seems most apt. It focuses on women and the power women wield, the price of protection and love, and different kinds of monsters. It reads like two stories happening at once — the literal text read as is, and the story that the decadent prose is concealing. It’s hard to tell which one feels more true.

If you’ve read Beowulf previously, the parallels to and deviations from the text are fascinating. (I like the Seamus Heaney version though it’s been years since I’ve revisited it. It turns out Headley has a new translation forthcoming from MCD x FSG also — I might wait to revisit Beowulf until that’s out.) If you haven’t read Beowulf, that’s okay. You don’t need to in order to enjoy this book.

Some people will be turned off by the writing style — if you only like windowpane writing, this might not be for you; this text makes you work for it a little — but I urge you to give it a shot.

ffic: day 5

Prompt: One of the children shivers.

Inktober: chicken


THE CHALLENGE

  • Write a piece of flash fiction daily for the month of October — 31 first drafts for 31 days.
  • Each flash fiction piece should be <1000 words long and must contain an arc/plot/conflict (vignettes and slice-of-life stories don’t count).
  • Feel free to use the list of prompts collected.
    • Try to go two to three layers down from where your brain first goes with the prompt.
  • Share the piece: to your blog, to a kind friend, to an internet rando (feel free to send it to me!). Maybe tag it with #flashfictioninktober. (Or not. I don’t know how clever hashtags work. How do internet?)