The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley is a live-wire of a novel. It sounds like a strange, potentially dry, premise -- Beowulf, but make it suburban, and yet Headley’s novel is an energizing, propulsive read. Willa Herot lives in a pristine neighborhood, where her reality has been carefully curated. Her home is the loveliest one on the block; she has a precious, well-behaved baby boy and an enviable marriage. It all hangs by a delicate thread. In a mountain cave overlooking the suburban haven lives Dana, a veteran suffering from PTSD, and her son, Gren, who has never experienced life outside the safety of the cave. An innocent meeting between the two boys sets both worlds reeling. Headley’s take on the epic poem deals with topics like motherhood, womanhood, otherness, and modern-day monsters with searing intensity, her writing as beautiful as it is brutal.
The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley