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The Mere Wife
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
New York Times bestselling author Maria Dahvana Headley presents a modern retelling of the literary classic Beowulf, set in American suburbia as two mothersa housewife and a battle-hardened veteranfight to protect those they love in The Mere Wife. From the perspective of those who live in Herot Hall, the suburb is a paradise. Picket fences divide buildingshigh and gabledand the community is entirely self-sustaining. Each house has its own fireplace, each fireplace is fitted with a container of lighter fluid, and outsidein lawns and on playgroundswildflowers seed themselves in neat rows. But for those who live surreptitiously along Herot Halls 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 didnt want Gren, didnt plan Gren, and doesnt 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, Danas and Willas worlds collide. A retelling of Beowulf set in the suburbs, Maria Dahvana Headleys The Mere Wife turns the epic on its head, recasting the classic tale of monstrosity and loss from the perspective of those presumed to be on the attack.
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sebrittainclark
The Mere Wife | Maria Dahvana Headley
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9 books
2,452 pages

7 Ebooks
1 Audiobooks

0 Library books
8 ARCs
5 #mountTBR

Longest: Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron(384)
Shortest: Gudetama:Mindfulness for the Lazy by Wook-jin Clark(48)

Favs: The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley and Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

#FebruaryStats

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sebrittainclark
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

5/5

This book has some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read. It's a modern vaguely fantasy retelling of Beowulf. It's a book that really asks the question what's the difference between heroes and monsters. It's truly an incredible book that I cannot recommend enough.

Tamra Sold! 1y
54 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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sebrittainclark
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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1. The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley and How to Take Smart Notes by Sankey Aaron's

2. Conversations by Ai Weiwei

3. Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

@rachelsbrittain #weekendreads

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HeyT
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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#BookReport
Managed to finish two books this week and complete my challenge commitments for the month. Both were four star reads for me.
#WeeklyForecast
I hope to finally get through all the lit crit of Beowulf this week. I am finding that it's giving me insight not only into the original work but helps me see how brilliant The Mere Wife is in its reinterpretation. Next up is all questions because I have no idea what I actually am in the mood for.

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HeyT
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

All I knew going in was that this was a modern retelling of Beowulf and I didn't quite see how that would work when I started but man was this so good. It's definitely dark with the running theme of who are the real monsters. I also kind of got a Shirley Jackson vibe with that suburban society of horrors feel.
#CalibreRoulette
#BuriedAliveChallenge

20 likes2 stack adds
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AceOnRoam
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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This might be just the book to take me out of my reading slump!

Was going to save it for #ReadHarder2020 but I think I need it more today.

#readingonroam

Centique Lovely to see you back on Litsy! 😍 Where are you roaming to at the moment? 3y
AceOnRoam @Centique hello!!! We are in the Coomera River on the Gold Coast, we will be in Queensland for the next few months 😀 3y
BarbaraBB Good to have you here - and reading again. So you‘ve made it to Australia. That was your starting point wasn‘t it? Does that mean you‘re heading home or just passing by? 😘 3y
See All 12 Comments
AceOnRoam @BarbaraBB thank you, happy to be back. Although I am Australian, we actually started our voyage in Cape Town, so yes, we are just passing through. We're seeing friends and family and waiting out the cyclone season here before heading north to Indonesia next year. 3y
BarbaraBB Everyone of your steps sounds incredible. I do envy you! Enjoy 💜 3y
AceOnRoam @BarbaraBB thanks heaps 😘 3y
LeahBergen There you are! So good to see you popping by here again. 😘😘 3y
AceOnRoam @LeahBergen 😘 hello lovely, great to be back with all of these awesome Littens 😍 3y
CarolynM 👋 Nice to see you. I don't know anything about the book. I hope you enjoy it. 3y
saresmoore I really enjoyed this book. It wasn‘t at all what I expected! 3y
AceOnRoam @CarolynM Thanks Carolyn, I'm definitely enjoying it. 3y
AceOnRoam @saresmoore I went in blind with this one, just knew it was a retelling of sorts, of 3y
38 likes1 stack add12 comments
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ClairesReads
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

an exquisitely told, brutal revisioning of Beowulf, set in modern, Stepford-like suburbia. It is a story of mothers and sons, the equal intensity and distance of that bond. Set against the backdrop of an unnamed war, this is a story about the distancing of domestic life from global crisis, and what happens when those two worlds intersect. It‘s a story of the wild and the tamed. Headley asks her reader big questions about the impact of othering.

29 likes1 stack add3 comments
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ClairesReads
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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🔪

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ClairesReads
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Yes already can tell I‘m going to love this

readordierachel Oh, I need to read this! 3y
ClairesReads @readordierachel I‘ve only read a little but it‘s GREAT so far 3y
20 likes2 comments
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ClairesReads
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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A very loose interpretation of “a book of mythology” #readharder2019

Redheadrambles Ohh yes this is one I wanted to get to but it slipped me by 3y
ClairesReads @Redheadrambles I‘ve only read a few pages but it‘s amazing so far 3y
21 likes2 comments
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parasolofdoom
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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My top 5 books of the decade (by genre) -- Literary/Contemporary

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ElectricKatyLand
Mere Wife | Maria Dahvana Headley
Pickpick

Beowulf retelling set in contemporary, exurban commuter town, after the Iraq war. Grendel's mother comes back from war pregnant and transformed. She retreats inside a mountain overlooking a gated village to protect her son, but he befriends the leading family's son. Violence and revelations ensue.

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Carolyn11215
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

The suburban housewifes rather than the outsiders living in a cave in the mountain are the real monsters in this story described as “Beowolf in the burbs.” I found the friendship of Dylan and Gren so moving. The heartache of war, the love of a mother for a son, the petty need to “keep up with the Jones” mentality are all explored in this unusual book.

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daena
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Library loot! 📚

42 likes1 stack add
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DarcysMom
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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@leslieseidel The book is in the mail! You should receive it on Tuesday.
#LMPBC #round5 #groupY
@BridgetteM @grumpygirlbooks

@suvata

leslieseidel Great!! Thanks! 3y
46 likes1 comment
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DarcysMom
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick
50 likes1 stack add
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DarcysMom
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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I am so excited to have started my latest #LMPBC book this weekend!
@leslieseidel @BridgetteM @grumpygirlbooks
#LMPBC #round5 #groupY

@suvata

50 likes1 stack add
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Brooke_H
Mere Wife | Maria Dahvana Headley
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I have never read anything like this. I'm old, and I've read a whole bunch of books, so that's sort of saying something. I'm no Beowulf expert—I've read it, maybe 25 years ago. I enjoyed it. But this book is a whole new level of epic. It really is like an ancient epic poem. It's intense and crazy. The writing is gorgeous. And there's a chapter told from the collective “we“ of police dogs. I mean, does one need more? So so so excellent.

Tamra I‘m going to read Beowulf soon, so I‘ll stack this one too! 3y
Brooke_H @tamra I‘m looking forward to your thoughts in comparison with Beowulf! 3y
12 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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BridgetteM
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
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I meant to post this a while ago; sorry for the delay! I received my #LMPBC #Round5 #GroupY book. I‘m going to start it soon. Can‘t wait! And thank you, @DarcysMom for the thoughtful card!

@leslieseidel @grumpygirlbooks

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grumpygirlbooks
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Mehso-so

Oof this was reeeeeeeeeally close to a pan but the end is worth pushing through to get to. Mostly. It was a tough read! Great writing, though. Also this is in the mail !!! Can‘t wait to get the next one! Annotating is HARD.

Longer review coming....? Maybe.....? Lol I‘m still processing!

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EchoCharlie
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
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I bought myself a tablet on Black Friday, which has led to even more impulse purchases of on-sale ebooks #noregrets

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NotCool
Mere Wife | Maria Dahvana Headley
Pickpick

The first time I picked this up, I couldn‘t get through it. The second time, not only did I read it straight through, I was shook. The language is beautiful and lyrical. The different women (especially the Greek Chorus grandmothers) were intriguing and frustrating.

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TheLibrarian
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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@Elma @MirrorMask @monalyisha - Have you read any of these? Do any stand out to you? I‘ll tag the rest in the comments.

#LMPBC #GroupF

See All 17 Comments
scowler1 The Power👍👍👍 3y
monalyisha OoOooO. So many good ones! I haven‘t read any. I own “The Power” & would prefer to read my copy rather than sharing one. Top choice (which wasn‘t even on my radar!): 3y
monalyisha I peeked inside of all of them on Amazon & would say I‘d *least* like to read “Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.” But honestly, I wouldn‘t be upset about that one, either. 😊 3y
MirrorMask I haven't read any of these but I'm leaning towards 3y
TheLibrarian @monalyisha @MirrorMask That‘s the one I‘m leaning towards too. That‘s the one I‘ll go with unless @Elma has any objections. 3y
Tamra I loved Underground Airlines! 3y
Elma I haven't read any of them. They all sound good. I'm good with 3y
LazyDays Butting in here, thats the one I would have picked also! 3y
monalyisha Woop Woop! 3y
Elma Yay! 3y
bookishbitch I read The Power and really enjoyed it. 3y
70 likes17 comments
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shaynarae
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

This novel retelling of Beowulf set in modern times from the perspective of women was a lovely read and challenges the way we determine who and what are monsters and heroes. #catsoflitsy

aeeklund I love this book so much. 4y
28 likes1 stack add1 comment
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saresmoore
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

The Mere Wife is a riveting and toothsome retelling of Beowulf. There is much acute reality (perhaps that even being the true horror) in the midst of what is murky & unknown. Maria Dahvana Headley crafts evocative settings and complex histories with short, sharp sentences. The story is both dreamy & apoplectic, shying away from nothing, and revealing a fresh, raw layer of monstrous womanhood.

Cinfhen Great review!!! 4y
saresmoore @Cinfhen Thank you! I have to get all the adjectives out of my system in book reviews so I don‘t unwittingly ( 4y
Cinfhen Ha!!!! 4y
See All 6 Comments
TrishB Great review 👍🏻 4y
batsy Fab review! I've never read Beowulf, so I plan to read the Heaney translation, and then this one, as it came recommended by Moray. But I unfortunately couldn't fit it in this month for #NewYearWhoDis 4y
readinginthedark Ooh, this sounds so good! 4y
88 likes4 stack adds6 comments
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saresmoore
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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“Willa wonders if her mother has plans for everyone she‘s ever met, graphing their futures on some invisible chart. Her mother and women like her are the reason men can live at all, running corporations, announcing wars. Every man has a woman at home, and every woman plots the course of the universe, putting it into his breast pocket, like a note attached to a kindergartner, sending him out into his day.”

cathysaid ❤️❤️❤️ This is on my #popsugarreadingchallenge list and now I‘m really looking forward to it! 4y
saresmoore @cathysaid Oh, it‘s so good! I just finished it and I‘m reeling. 4y
andrew61 It was mentioned on 'the librarian is in' podcast and I thought that it sounded good but then forgot. Have stacked it ☺ 4y
Suet624 So, so true. 😂😂😂 4y
70 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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saresmoore
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Not bad stats for a #Readathon day!

I am LOVING The Mere Wife. @Moray_Reads has good taste, just so everyone knows.

#24in48

Moray_Reads So glad! I thought it was brilliant, I loved the oppressive atmosphere 4y
Kaye 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 4y
janeycanuck Cute socks! 4y
See All 7 Comments
LeahBergen She certainly does! 👍🏻 4y
Wife 🌹 4y
saresmoore @janeycanuck Those were a Christmas gift from my husband—they have books and worms on them! 😊 4y
saresmoore @Moray_Reads It‘s my favorite kind of atmosphere! Well, in books. 4y
80 likes1 stack add7 comments
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Lexeegee
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

Great story and audiobook performance.

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razmanda
Mere Wife | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

Gorgeous, stunning, heartbreaking retelling of Beowulf from the perspective of the mothers of Beowulf and Grendel, recast as a bored suburban housewife and a war veteran, respectively. It sticks or the very broad strokes of the original while also touching on gentrification, the cost of war, PTSD and how we view ourselves and others. Really, really great.

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Moray_Reads
Mere Wife | Maria Dahvana Headley
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1. This is the horribly printed 1508 pamphlet that I spent all day trying to transcribe. I feel like I've gone mad or blind. Maybe a bit of both.
2. No holiday here!
3. Planning Christmas decorations!
4. Gloves, which I regretted not taking to work
5. Contemporary, suburban, feminist retelling of Beowulf. Big 👍
#humpdaypost @MinDea

LeahBergen That printing! 😳 4y
Moray_Reads @LeahBergen I suppose I can make allowances for how early it was done, but really, what a pain. It's not even very interesting 🙄 4y
ravenlee I can just make out the words “incipient migraine.” (Daria quote) 4y
See All 8 Comments
Moray_Reads @LeahBergen @ravenlee it's a huge pain but I just deciphered the phrase "Whoever read of such an God-daring generation of hypocrites making their mouths Grenades to cast up Bullets of Blasphemy against heaven", which almost makes the damage to my sight and sanity worth it! 4y
ravenlee Wow, that‘a pretty cool! 4y
LeahBergen That IS cool. Bullets of Blasphemy would be a good band name. 😆 4y
Moray_Reads @LeahBergen or God-daring Hypocrites 😂 4y
LeahBergen Yes! 😂 4y
43 likes8 comments
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Moray_Reads
Mere Wife | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

Beowulf relocated to a gated community in contemporary suburbia. Yes, really. And it really works. Headley creates a truly unsettling take that constantly shifts, mirrors, reverses and deconstructs her characters and her narrative. And while the story is about two very different boys (one is Grendel) it's really about two mothers. Both are damaged and neither are innocent and in their struggles Headley really sticks it to the patriarchy ⬇️

Moray_Reads She examines women's roles, PTSD, war, grief, hated of the "other" and so many other things. She writes with brilliant fluency, ring together big questions, ancient mythology and clever wordplay (the "mere wife" is just one example of her talent for dual meanings) with power and poetry. Very, very clever and very, very good. 4y
Moray_Reads @saresmoore I think you'd like this! 4y
saresmoore Wow, yes, I‘m doubly convinced by your review & recommendation! 4y
See All 7 Comments
Heideschrampf @scripturient xmas prezzie for torsten? 4y
daniwithtea I hadn‘t heard of this book but I love love love this author! 4y
batsy Sounds great! Love your review. 4y
scripturient @Heideschrampf More like xmas prezzie for myself. 🤣 4y
60 likes10 stack adds7 comments
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GivenLemons
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

A beautiful and compelling book I read in one sitting. I loved how it played with my perception of exactly Gren was physically, but he was just so human. I‘d never read the story of Beowulf before.

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Ellen_C
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

Beowulf in modern America. Dana Mills‘ & son Gren are hiding in the mountains just up from an affluent community under the unofficial rule of queen bee Willa Herot. Gren reaches out to Willa‘s son, hell breaks loose, officer Ben Woolf arrives to deal with the “monsters”. But who are the real monsters? https://cannonballread.com/2018/11/when-white-women-cry-people-die/?fbclid=IwAR2...

Owlizabeth How familiar should one be with Beowulf before reading this? I barely remember it from HS English and that‘s intimidating me. 4y
Ellen_C I‘m not sure it really matters. I did read Beowulf before reading this, and it made me appreciate the way the author worked in some of the details from the poem. If you have a general knowledge of the story, you could probably still appreciate it. If you‘ve never read Beowulf, I think you‘d still find this story interesting. 4y
5 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Mitch
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Interesting conversations around all things Beowulf with Neil Gaiman and Maria Dahvana Headley. Interesting aside - the ratio along her right arm spells an old English word that translates as ‘ badass‘ - love it!

Emilymdxn Sounds super interesting! I didn‘t love what Neil Gaiman did to Beowulf in monarch of the glen tho tbh 4y
Soubhiville Fun! What a great candid shot. She looks quite mischievous 😏. 4y
Mitch @Soubhiville she really was! 4y
71 likes3 comments
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Well-ReadNeck
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
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91 likes8 stack adds
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Lindy
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

“The flipside of hero is monster.”
Dualisms abound in this contemporary retelling of Beowulf with women as the focus of the tale. You‘ve got returned soldiers with PTSD and rich people in gated communities that displace the rural locals. What makes someone “other?” Told partly in first-person plural, which I love. #Audiobook performed by Susan Bennett, expertly switching MPV: steely matrons to PTSD flashback to dogs.
(Internet author photo)

LauraBeth I keep picking this up off the shelf at the library but for some reason haven‘t borrowed it. You just convinced me to read it! 4y
Lindy @LauraBeth Excellent! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It‘s been a Beowulf year for me: I reread some graphic novel adaptations and listened to (edited) 4y
45 likes2 comments
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Lindy
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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What do you do with the cleaning supplies of the world? Use them to wash the blood away, and grind the bones into bread.

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Lindy
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Did you know you can kill someone with a stiletto heel? Our daggers travel with us, underfoot.

(Photo is from the Guo Pei exhibit at Vancouver Art Gallery.)

Jennick2004 🤣 Interesting info! 4y
LibrarianRyan I I knew that. 2 I would wear those shoes. 4y
Lindy @LibrarianRyan Better you than me. I think those shoes would cripple me. 4y
LibrarianRyan @Lindy they don‘t have that high of heel, mainly just platform. But that clear pvc would suck. 4y
40 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Lindy
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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“Coffee?” Willa asks, the silver tray already in her hands. This is a council of war, even though it‘s Christmas Day. War is always one cup, black, no sugar. And, sure enough, the mothers take their portion. No one eats breakfast. If Willa offered, it would be a national scandal. The mothers count calories like kills.

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Lindy
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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I call death onto those who don‘t know a child when they see a child. Men who think they made the world out of clay and turned it into their safe place. Men who think a woman wouldn‘t flip the universe over and flatten them all beneath it.

GatheringBooks sounds intense! :) 🧚🏼‍♀️ 4y
Lindy @GatheringBooks Yes, and I‘m loving it! 4y
30 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Mitch
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Just booked to see Maria Dahvana Headley in conversation will Neil Gaiman.....sounds like a treat! Admittedly, part of me is going in order to see her hair ! I might need to make an appointment at the salon - it‘s amazing 😮!

There are tickets left if fancy joining me! #uklittens

https://www.foyles.co.uk/mere-wife

JamieArc I recently got an undercut and have had several hair tattoos - my hair stylist is an artist! While most of the time, no one can see the hair tattoo, it makes me feel empowered 💪🏼 4y
Mitch @JamieArc that‘s so cool! I‘ve had close cropped hair for years but I‘ve been trying to grow it! Now all I want to do is carve dragons! 4y
80 likes2 comments
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riversong153
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
Pickpick

This book is superb! I can‘t remember the last time I used this word but I‘m sticking with it. If you‘re into modern retellings or just looking for something different that will knock your socks off and leave your toes freezing... up this is it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

29 likes1 stack add
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riversong153
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
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I don‘t remember Beowulf at all. I read it in HS. But this retelling is so good so far!

AlaMich Does anyone remember Beowulf-in-high school fondly? If there is, I‘ve sure never met them!! 4y
riversong153 @AlaMich 😂😂😂. I must‘ve blocked it out or something lol. 4y
30 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Bookgirl
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Bailedbailed

I didn‘t know what this was about until I started reading and realized it‘s a modern fairytale retelling of Beowulf. Grendel is a 7 year old boy named Gren. His mother is a soldier with PTSD who is also clearly insane. I know how Beowulf ends...no thanks. It‘s well written but I‘m not in the mood for something sad.

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UnabridgedPod
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

Brilliant! Headley's ability to craft an amazingly evocative contemporary story while wrapping in the retelling of Beowulf AND the conventions of the medieval tale is just awe inspiring. As in her fabulous YA novel Magonia, her world building is first rate; her characterization is empathetic, flawed, and compelling; and her plotting is relentless.

13 likes1 stack add3 comments
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aeeklund
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Tonight @RavenRenegade and I got to hear Maria Dahvana Headley in conversation with Nicola Griffith. It was a spectacular, amazing evening, and my heart is so, so full. The Mere Wife is one of my favorite books of 2018, and to get to talk to her about it was absolutely incredible. 😍😍😍

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The.Intentional.Reader
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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A contemporary retelling of Beowulf and Grendel. Very interesting so far and the cover is amazing!

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mdemanatee
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Good morning from some pre-clock in me time.

bunny Ooh, that book is one I've had my eye on! Hope you enjoy. 4y
mdemanatee @bunny okay, finished and definitely worth getting your hands on 👍 4y
bunny @mdemanatee Thanks for the update! It's definitely going on my TBR now. 4y
21 likes3 comments
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Dorianna
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

An intense read that I could not put down. I didn‘t know what to expect from a modern day retelling of Beowulf but this was the perfect way to do it. The audiobook is also amazing and the narrator adds even more to the story.

callielafleur Yay! I love it when the hype pans out! 4y
15 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Dorianna
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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This is one intense book.