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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 mothers—a housewife and a battle-hardened veteran—fight 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 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. A retelling of Beowulf set in the suburbs, Maria Dahvana Headley’s 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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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! 3w
Brooke_H @tamra I‘m looking forward to your thoughts in comparison with Beowulf! 3w
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👍👍👍 3mo
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!): 3mo
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. 😊 3mo
MirrorMask I haven't read any of these but I'm leaning towards 3mo
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. 3mo
Tamra I loved Underground Airlines! 3mo
Elma I haven't read any of them. They all sound good. I'm good with 3mo
LazyDays Butting in here, thats the one I would have picked also! 3mo
monalyisha Woop Woop! 3mo
Elma Yay! 3mo
bookishbitch I read The Power and really enjoyed it. 3mo
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. 3mo
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!!! 4mo
saresmoore @Cinfhen Thank you! I have to get all the adjectives out of my system in book reviews so I don‘t unwittingly ( 4mo
Cinfhen Ha!!!! 4mo
See All 6 Comments
TrishB Great review 👍🏻 4mo
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 4mo
readinginthedark Ooh, this sounds so good! 4mo
88 likes5 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! 4mo
saresmoore @cathysaid Oh, it‘s so good! I just finished it and I‘m reeling. 4mo
andrew61 It was mentioned on 'the librarian is in' podcast and I thought that it sounded good but then forgot. Have stacked it ☺ 4mo
Suet624 So, so true. 😂😂😂 4mo
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 4mo
Kaye 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 4mo
janeycanuck Cute socks! 4mo
See All 7 Comments
LeahBergen She certainly does! 👍🏻 4mo
Wife 🌹 4mo
saresmoore @janeycanuck Those were a Christmas gift from my husband—they have books and worms on them! 😊 4mo
saresmoore @Moray_Reads It‘s my favorite kind of atmosphere! Well, in books. 4mo
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! 😳 6mo
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 🙄 6mo
ravenlee I can just make out the words “incipient migraine.” (Daria quote) 6mo
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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! 6mo
ravenlee Wow, that‘a pretty cool! 6mo
LeahBergen That IS cool. Bullets of Blasphemy would be a good band name. 😆 6mo
Moray_Reads @LeahBergen or God-daring Hypocrites 😂 6mo
LeahBergen Yes! 😂 6mo
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. 6mo
Moray_Reads @saresmoore I think you'd like this! 6mo
saresmoore Wow, yes, I‘m doubly convinced by your review & recommendation! 6mo
See All 7 Comments
Heideschrampf @scripturient xmas prezzie for torsten? 6mo
daniwithtea I hadn‘t heard of this book but I love love love this author! 6mo
batsy Sounds great! Love your review. 6mo
scripturient @Heideschrampf More like xmas prezzie for myself. 🤣 6mo
60 likes11 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. 6mo
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. 6mo
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 7mo
Soubhiville Fun! What a great candid shot. She looks quite mischievous 😏. 7mo
Mitch @Soubhiville she really was! 7mo
71 likes3 comments
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Well-ReadNeck
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley
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91 likes9 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! 7mo
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) 7mo
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! 7mo
LibrarianRyan I I knew that. 2 I would wear those shoes. 7mo
Lindy @LibrarianRyan Better you than me. I think those shoes would cripple me. 7mo
LibrarianRyan @Lindy they don‘t have that high of heel, mainly just platform. But that clear pvc would suck. 7mo
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! :) 🧚🏼‍♀️ 7mo
Lindy @GatheringBooks Yes, and I‘m loving it! 7mo
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 💪🏼 7mo
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! 7mo
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 likes2 stack adds
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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!! 8mo
riversong153 @AlaMich 😂😂😂. I must‘ve blocked it out or something lol. 8mo
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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Unabridged
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. 9mo
mdemanatee @bunny okay, finished and definitely worth getting your hands on 👍 9mo
bunny @mdemanatee Thanks for the update! It's definitely going on my TBR now. 9mo
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! 9mo
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.

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Dorianna
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Saturday reading.

callielafleur I've heard good things about this one, can't wait to see what you think! 9mo
Dorianna @callielafleur It‘s wonderful and I highly recommend it. 9mo
19 likes2 comments
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JessReads
Mere Wife | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

Even though I had only heard good things about The Mere Wife, I was still surprised by how much I liked it! It is a modern retelling of Beowulf that reads kind of like a fable. It has some insightful things to say about race and prejudice and fear and love and how they all complicate one another. Pick this up if you liked The Changeling (or vice versa)!

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LectricSheep
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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A modern retelling of Beowulf from Grendel‘s mom‘s perspective where Heorot is suburbia? Uh, yes. So much yes. I‘ve always felt like Grendel‘s mom was the most interesting underrepresented character in the epic.

In case you‘re wondering what line my page flag is marking: “Earth‘s a thieved place. Everything living needs somewhere to be.”

MinDea Yes! 10mo
LibrarianRyan Ohhhhh. I‘ll will have to TBR this. A new book is coming out called Boneless Mercies. It‘s disposed to be a gendered swapped Beowulf. 10mo
NovelGirl82 Oh, I need this!!! Beowulf is one of my absolute favorites!! 10mo
See All 6 Comments
LectricSheep @LibrarianRyan I hadn‘t heard!! That sounds super cool. I‘ll be on the lookout for it. 10mo
LectricSheep @NovelGirl82 me too! I don‘t know why, but I feel like Beowulf doesn‘t get a lot of love from modern readers. That‘s why this retelling makes me so excited! 10mo
NovelGirl82 It doesn‘t! Even back when I graduated high school in 2000, a lot of the others in my AP English thought it odd that I actually enjoyed it when I did my report on it. My husband still thinks I‘m weird for loving it (he has so many things to think I‘m me weird for, though, it‘s ok 😬). It just fascinated me, though! 10mo
78 likes8 stack adds6 comments
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parasolofdoom
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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July reads! The Mere Wife was my favorite.

catiewithac How was Dead Girls? 10mo
Reviewsbylola I really liked The Trauma Cleaner and Bell Jar. Great month! 10mo
parasolofdoom @catiewithac disappointing honestly :(. It started strong but went really off r after two essays 10mo
parasolofdoom *rails 10mo
21 likes5 comments
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parasolofdoom
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

Fuuuuuuu. That was something. I finished moments ago, words fail me. Best book of the year so far.

17 likes2 stack adds
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parasolofdoom
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Anyone dive into this release yet? It's so good -- I'm about a quarter in.

vivastory I'm hoping to read it soon! 10mo
akckitty @vivastory same. It‘s on my list! 10mo
24 likes1 stack add2 comments
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parasolofdoom
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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review
Well-ReadNeck
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

Enjoyed this modern, feminist re-telling of Beowulf. This novel is smart and nuanced. Such a clever and detailed re-telling. I love what Headley has to say about privilege and making Grendel‘s mother a veteran adds so much to the story. She interweaves so many modern “other” categories here: mental illness, race, socio-economic, fear of other cultures (especially those we send our military to combat); homosexuality. Pure genius. #netgalley

2BR02B What a gorgeous cover. 😍 10mo
rohit-sawant Great review! 10mo
readordierachel Sold! 10mo
See All 6 Comments
MoniqueReads305 Stacked 10mo
lalatiburona @jveezer did you know about this?! 😍😍 10mo
jveezer @lalatiburona no! I‘ll check it out! 10mo
126 likes23 stack adds6 comments
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Well-ReadNeck
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Can‘t join you guys for the full-on 24-in-48 this weekend, but will be doing some reading and following you on Litsy. I‘m already growing my TBR with your posts!!!! 😘

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kidmonster
Mere Wife The | Maria Dahvana Headley

"No one needs to see us for us to exist. No one needs to love us for us to exist."

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aeeklund
Mere Wife | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Pickpick

When you tweet about how much you love a book and THE AUTHOR RETWEETS YOU. #dead

mrozzz Soooo cool!! 10mo
Kalalalatja Awesome! 10mo
21 likes2 comments
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aeeklund
Mere Wife | Maria Dahvana Headley
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“Everything in me says, GET AWAY FROM HERE, but I know what I am. I‘m a stack of broken dishes in the shape of a woman, and this is a flight response.”

RaimeyGallant Great quote. 10mo
Kalalalatja Oh, wow! 10mo
32 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Liberty
The Mere Wife: A Novel | Maria Dahvana Headley
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Eeeeeeeeeee! 🔥🔥🔥

Sophoclessweetheart What a divine cover! 14mo
aeeklund AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! 14mo
119 likes17 stack adds2 comments