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The mere wife /

by Headley, Maria Dahvana [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : MCD,Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.Edition: First edition.Description: 308 pages ; 22 cm.ISBN: 9780374208431; 0374208433.Uniform titles: Beowulf.Subject(s): Housewives -- Fiction | Veterans -- Fiction | Mothers and sons -- Fiction | Planned communities -- Fiction | Suburbs -- Fiction | Caves -- Fiction | Dystopian fiction | Fantasy fiction | Fiction | Science fiction | Dystopian fiction | Dystopias -- Fiction | Dystopian fiction | Fantasy fictionSummary: From the perspective of those who live in Herot Hall, the suburb is a paradise. Picket fences divide buildings--high and gabled--and the community is entirely self-sustaining. Each house has its own fireplace, each fireplace is fitted with a container of lighter fluid, and outside--in lawns and on playgrounds--wildflowers seed themselves in neat rows. But for those who live surreptitiously along Herot Hall's periphery, the subdivision is a fortress guarded by an intense network of gates, surveillance cameras, and motion-activated lights. For Willa, the wife of Roger Herot (heir of Herot Hall), life moves at a charmingly slow pace. She flits between mommy groups, playdates, cocktail hour, and dinner parties, always with her son, Dylan, in tow. Meanwhile, in a cave in the mountains just beyond the limits of Herot Hall lives Gren, short for Grendel, as well as his mother, Dana, a former soldier who gave birth as if by chance. Dana didn't want Gren, didn't plan Gren, and doesn't know how she got Gren, but when she returned from war, there he was. When Gren, unaware of the borders erected to keep him at bay, ventures into Herot Hall and runs off with Dylan, Dana's and Willa's worlds collide.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

<p> 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 . </p> <p>From the perspective of those who live in Herot Hall, the suburb is a paradise. Picket fences divide buildings--high and gabled--and the community is entirely self-sustaining. Each house has its own fireplace, each fireplace is fitted with a container of lighter fluid, and outside--in lawns and on playgrounds--wildflowers seed themselves in neat rows. But for those who live surreptitiously along Herot Hall's periphery, the subdivision is a fortress guarded by an intense network of gates, surveillance cameras, and motion-activated lights.</p> <p>For Willa, the wife of Roger Herot (heir of Herot Hall), life moves at a charmingly slow pace. She flits between mommy groups, playdates, cocktail hour, and dinner parties, always with her son, Dylan, in tow. Meanwhile, in a cave in the mountains just beyond the limits of Herot Hall lives Gren, short for Grendel, as well as his mother, Dana, a former soldier who gave birth as if by chance. Dana didn't want Gren, didn't plan Gren, and doesn't know how she got Gren, but when she returnedfrom war, there he was. When Gren, unaware of the borders erected to keep him at bay, ventures into Herot Hall and runs off with Dylan, Dana's and Willa's worlds collide.</p>

From the perspective of those who live in Herot Hall, the suburb is a paradise. Picket fences divide buildings--high and gabled--and the community is entirely self-sustaining. Each house has its own fireplace, each fireplace is fitted with a container of lighter fluid, and outside--in lawns and on playgrounds--wildflowers seed themselves in neat rows. But for those who live surreptitiously along Herot Hall's periphery, the subdivision is a fortress guarded by an intense network of gates, surveillance cameras, and motion-activated lights. For Willa, the wife of Roger Herot (heir of Herot Hall), life moves at a charmingly slow pace. She flits between mommy groups, playdates, cocktail hour, and dinner parties, always with her son, Dylan, in tow. Meanwhile, in a cave in the mountains just beyond the limits of Herot Hall lives Gren, short for Grendel, as well as his mother, Dana, a former soldier who gave birth as if by chance. Dana didn't want Gren, didn't plan Gren, and doesn't know how she got Gren, but when she returned from war, there he was. When Gren, unaware of the borders erected to keep him at bay, ventures into Herot Hall and runs off with Dylan, Dana's and Willa's worlds collide.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

This lyrical novel uses the Old English epic Beowulf as its template, but in this rendering, female and matriarchal power move to the fore. Grendel's mom has a name here: Dana Mills, an Iraq war veteran who has survived an attempted beheading and been impregnated by an unknown wartime father. She and her monster of a son live in an abandoned railroad station under a mountain mere, or inland sea, near an Aspen-like community called Herot Hall. Its elite citizens parallel the poem's Danes. There's a chorus of formidable mothers and mothers-in-law, but the tale centers on one powerful woman, Willa Herot, whose son befriends Grendel, drawing him and Dana toward civilization and danger. Dana slays Willa's husband, Roger, and Willa subsequently marries the sexy police chief, Ben Woolf. Those familiar with the long poem can see where this is going. VERDICT As with any mythically or allegorically driven novel, the plot becomes fantastical when grafted onto modern tropes. Nevertheless, Headley's heroic prose and vivid imagery offers thought-provoking correlations between ancient themes and recent historical events. Its emphasis on feminist power gives an old tale renewed significance. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/17.]-Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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