Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2020
"The world isn’t large enough for monsters and heroes at once. There’s too much danger of confusion between the two categories."

I highly recommend that you first read Maria Dahvana Headley's translation of Beowulf: A New Translation. Go ahead. I'll wait. Done?

Ok, here we go.

This is not a direct transmogrification of Beowulf into the present day world. Rather, Beowulf serves as the lattice of a trellis that Headley uses to guide the narrative as it grows into its own unique form.

Some of the latticework;
-Each section of the novel is headlined by a different translation of the first Old English word of Beowulf--Hwæt!
- The cadence and alliteration of Beowulf can be found in the more poetic passages of the book.
- And of course there is a cop named Ben Woolf, a son named Gren, and a Herot hall.
- There are heroes and monsters...only who is the hero and who is the monster?

Headley's lyrical prose sucks you into the intensity of the story. I tried to avoid reading The Mere Wife before bedtime because it made my brain too active to easily fall asleep.

I expect that in the future there will be an annotated omnibus combining the text of Headley's Beowulf translation and The Mere Wife. It will be a staple of high school honors and college comp lit classes.

Highly recommended.
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