The Poets' Wives

The Poets' Wives

A Novel

Book - 2014
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"What does it mean to be a poet's wife, his muse and lover, there for the heights of inspiration and the quotidian of the day-to-day, and oftentimes, too, the drudgery of being in a supporting role to "the great man"? In this exquisite and sensitive new novel, David Park explores this complicated relationship through three luminous characters: Catherine Blake, wife of William Blake, nineteenth-century poet, painter, and engraver; Nadezhda Mandelstam, whose husband, Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, died in a transit camp en route to Siberia during Stalin's rule; and Lydia, the wife of a fictional contemporary Irish poet, who looks back on her husband's life in the days just after his death. All three women deal with their husband's fame or notoriety, taking seriously their commitment to the men they married and to assisting with and preserving their work. And this despite infidelities, despite a single-mindedness at the expense of others, and despite hardship sometimes beyond comprehension. Set across continents and centuries, under wildly different circumstances, these three women exist as a testament to love, to relationship despite the odds, and to art. Deeply insightful and beautifully wrought, The Poets' Wives is David Park at his best--a novelist who finds dignity and grace away from the spotlight, and who reminds us that art has the power to capture even the quietest of voices" -- from publisher's web site.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, c2014
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781408846469
1408846462
9781620405246
1620405245
Branch Call Number: PARK
Characteristics: 320 pages ; 24 cm

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bookwormjeph
Sep 19, 2014

It took me a little while to decide if I liked this novel. MY main doubt being that I knew very little about each of the poets life's that are fictionalised in these three stories- all from the perspective of their wives. I persevered and was glad I did. The third section is of a completely fictional poet and ironically I enjoyed this story less than the other two focused on real poets- William Blake and Russian poet Osip Mandelstam. A rsahter intriguing set of stories so beautifully written they could almost be classed as poetry themselves.

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