- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st edition (April 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571199852
- ISBN-13: 978-0571199853
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,681,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The World's Wife 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
The voices of Mrs. Tiresias, Mrs. Faust, Mrs. Quasimodo and other wives wittily recast myth and history from a woman's point of view in the pages of Manchester-based Duffy's fifth collection. Self-contained Penelope is not waiting for her Odysseus; frustrated Mrs. Sisyphus is married to a workaholic; Pygmalion's statue, tired of being pestered by her groping suitor, "changed tack/ grew warm, like candle wax/ kissed back"--and after sex gets dumped. But while Duffy's revisionist dramatic monologues are rife with clever twists, this material has been well mined by such poets as Alta, Margaret Atwood and Alicia Ostriker. Even references to Viagra, sheep-cloning and Monica Lewinsky seem an updating of Transformations (1971), Anne Sexton's deadpan fairy tales studded with cultural references, with the poems trapped in a similarly polarized conception of gender relations. Thus Thetis is brutalized in a new way each time she changes form--man is cross-bow to her albatross, charmer to her snake, fisherman to her mermaid--and to Queen Herod, the Christ child is simply a threat to her infant girl: he's "The Wolf. The Rip. The Rake. The Rat./The Heartbreaker. The Ladykiller. Mr. Right." The luckiest in love is Mrs. Beast, married to a devoted creature that's hung like a mule, and just as hardworking: "And if his snot and trotters fouled/ my damask sheets, why, then, he'd wash them. Twice." The flippant tone elicits chuckles, but one imagines these characters would've come a longer way by now, baby. (Apr.) FYI: Duffy's anthology Time's Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century includes 50 contemporary poets, each of whom is represented by a poem of his or her own on "time," and by a favorite poem on the same subject. (Anvil [Dufour, dist.], $18.95 paper 160p ISBN 0-85646-313-2).
-, $18.95 paper 160p ISBN 0-85646-313-2).
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From The New Yorker
" . . . The élan of this volume sets it apart, the characters (and poems) triumphant." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The World's Wife lets previously unheard women speak. Their voices are not always what readers expect from a lyric speaker, for how often is deep emotion examined through rhyming slang for tits, or the nicknames for a penis? Yet when Duffy calls a modern wife frustrated by her husband's discovery of Viagra "Mrs. Rip Van Winkle," or a contemporary-voiced woman whose husband works mindlessly and ceaselessly "Mrs. Sisyphus," Duffy reveals that their personal struggles are not theirs alone. Their troubles have resonance, and echo through history, literature and myth---even though in the past it may have been left unspoken.