book cover of The Mere Wife

The Mere Wife

(2018)
A novel by

 
 
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.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Maria Dahvana Headley writes with crackling headlong sentences that range among old plots and news observations about a world that earlier today seemed too familiar. Master story teller, brilliant stylist, a writer with this sort of command of language is a delight to read. Here's a book to call up an old story in the newest possible way." - Samuel R Delany

"The Mere Wife is an astonishing reinterpretation of Beowulf Beowulf in suburbia--epic, operatic, and razor-sharp, a story not of a thick-thewed thegn, but of women at war, as wives and warriors, mothers and matriarchs. Their chosen weapons are as likely to be swords as public relations, and they wield both fearlessly. They rule, and they fight." - Nicola Griffith

"The Mere Wife [is] an intense, visceral reading experience. . . [the book is] a revisioning of Beowulf, and Maria finds the bones, the sharp edges, the bleeding heart of that story, and tells it against a modern context." - Kat Howard

"The Mere Wife is a work of magic. A wild adventure; a celebration of monsters, myths, and the power of mother-love. Imagine a writer so bold, so ambitious, so about it that she challenges Beowulf to arm wrestle. That writer is Maria Dahvana Headley and let me tell you something, she is here to win." - Victor LaValle

"Maria Dahvana Headley translates the excesses of contemporary life into the gloriously mythic. This is not just an old story in new clothes: this is a consciousness-altering mind trip of a book." - Kelly Link

"Maria Dahvana Headley is a gift, a genius, and an absolute wonder; I would follow her anywhere." - Carmen Maria Machado

"With a sharp eye and a deft flourish, Maria Dahvana Headley reimagines one of our oldest stories to give us a chilling, elemental vision of our latest selves. The Mere Wife is a bold, stunning riptide of a book." - Téa Obreht


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Used availability for Maria Dahvana Headley's The Mere Wife

Hardback Editions

July 2018 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Mere Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Maria Dahvana Headley
ISBN: 0-374-20843-3 / 978-0-374-20843-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: MCD
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

July 2019 : USA Paperback

Title: The Mere Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Maria Dahvana Headley
ISBN: 1-250-21494-7 / 978-1-250-21494-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Picador
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


November 2018 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Mere Wife
Author(s): Maria Dahvana Headley
ISBN: 1-911617-62-1 / 978-1-911617-62-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Scribe UK
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

July 2018 : USA Audio CD
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Title: The Mere Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Maria Dahvana Headley
ISBN: 1-4272-9783-5 / 978-1-4272-9783-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


July 2018 : USA Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Mere Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Maria Dahvana Headley
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Availability: Amazon   


July 2018 : Canada Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Mere Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Maria Dahvana Headley
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


July 2018 : UK Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Mere Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Maria Dahvana Headley
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

July 2018 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
thumb

Title: The Mere Wife
Author(s): Maria Dahvana Headley
Publisher: Scribe
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


July 2018 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
thumb

Title: The Mere Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Maria Dahvana Headley
Publisher: MCD
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA