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The Mere Wife

By Maria Dahvana Headley
The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

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.

This modern fantasy tale transports you from the ancient mead halls of the Geats to the picket-fenced, meticulously planned community of American suburbia, known as Herot Hall.

In the expert hands of Maria Dahvana Headley, this vibrant retelling underscores the timeless struggle between the protected and the outsiders. Enter the confines of Herot Hall, a gated community sequestered from the wild surroundings by sophisticated security systems. Here, life is a series of cocktail hours and playdates for Willa, the charming wife of Herot's heir, and her son Dylan.

Meanwhile, deep in a nearby mountain cave lives Dana, a hardened soldier and mother of Gren, a child of mysterious origin. Their worlds collide in a shocking turn of events when Gren breaks into Herot Hall and escapes with Dylan.

A brilliant literary novel that effortlessly melds modern literature with ancient mythology, The Mere Wife is a captivating testament to unintended consequences, the brutality of PTSD, and the enduring power of motherhood.

67 Reviews

Loudly Crying Face“I originally started reading this book because I loved Maria Dahvana Headley’s translation of “Beowulf” and the intro to that translation talked a lot about Grendel and the mother of Grendel. I almost feel like I liked that prologue to the Beowulf translation more than this novel about the mother of Grendel. In the end I didn’t find it particularly fun, the pacing was erratic and the writing and descriptions were kind of avant-garde and abstract in a way that usually isn’t for me. Still, I found the writing beautiful, the entire novel incredibly thought provoking and heart-wrenching and I think it had a lot of insightful things to say about women womanhood, queerness, violence and perhaps even police brutality.”
Beautifully writtenOriginal writingDark settingMagical settingHeartbreakingThought-provokingViolence
“A satisfying and note-perfect updating of Beowulf, not just a simple substitution but seeing our contemporary world as an equal position in the old Norse tale would see it. Brilliant stuff. While reading I kept recalling Sarah Gailey's The Echo Wife. Which can only be considered an endorsement of this tale.”

About Maria Dahvana Headley

Maria Dahvana Headley is a #1 New York Times-bestselling author & editor. Her books include the novels Magonia, Aerie, Queen of Kings, and the memoir The Year of Yes. With Kat Howard she is the author of The End of the Sentence, and with Neil Gaiman, she is co-editor of Unnatural Creatures. Her short stories have been shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, and her work has been supported by the MacDowell Colony and by Arte Studio Ginestrelle, where the first draft of this book was written. She was raised with a wolf and a pack of sled dogs in the high desert of rural Idaho, and now lives in Brooklyn.

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