Thursday, December 6, 2012

Married Love : Review

Find out what all the hype's about: Look inside
at Amazon and read the stellar reviews.

Or: Moments of quiet crisis in ordinary lives.

That's how I might have subtitled this collection.

And, yes, both the crises and the lives seem to fade back into measured calmness or purposeful obscurity by stories' end.

"Married Love" is the title of the first story in Tessa Hadley's most recent collection, but the implied theme doesn't carry through into the other stories in any reliably consistent way.  Love in its many permutations does.

With five of the twelve in this collection published in The New Yorker and others made public in Granta and equally prestigious journals, Tessa Hadley hardly needs me to sing her praises.  Name the major reviewers: They're lauding this collection.

So I will simply state that if you are a fan of the short story, this collection is certainly worth pursuing.    

In Hadley's "P.S." notes on writing Married Love, she discusses the art and the particular merits of short fiction as a genre: "The short form is so good at catching life on the wing, flashes from the intensity and mystery of people's inner lives, their strange motivations, their yearnings."  She adheres to this focus in Married Love and other stories.  If you're looking for subtle shadings of emotion as you inhabit everyday people's the inner lives via the slightly distanced stance of third person perspective (for me, Joyce's Dubliners and Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" came to mind in this regard), this collection will satisfy.

My personal favorites in Married Love featured male protagonists, and I always marvel when authors can "switch genders" believably.  Hadley seems to excel in this regard.  If you're sampling from this collection, I suggest you try "The Trojan Prince" and "Journey Home" first, with "She's The One" and "Because the Night" next.

Thanks, as ever, to TLC Book Tours for offering me the opportunity for my first taste of a short fiction writer I'll be certain to follow in future.  And do see what others thought of Ms. Hadley's collection: click the TLC link above.


p.s. If you're looking to gift Married Love for the holidays, you can do so via,,, or any of the electronic platforms.


As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I've been eyeing this collection recently, so I was glad to see your review. This time of year short stories speak to me more than novels: reading one a night before going to bed exhausted (retail!) still feels like I've accomplished something. Maybe when I'm finished with Birds of a Lesser Paradise I will pick this one up.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I often wonder how authors (publishers?) choose which order to put stories in a collection. Where in the book are the stories you mentions - beginning, middle, or end?

Thanks for being on the tour!

Laurie said...

E - how are you finding Birds of Lesser Paradise? Have you posted on it yet?
H - actually, my four favorites are scattered through the collection. Wouldn't a note from the author as to how each collection was arranged be illuminating? I'd read every such post-script!
Thanks for visiting, you two!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...