Reader, I Married Him edited by Tracy Chevalier

Reader, I Married Him is a short story collection that borrows from the generalreader i married him premise of Jane Eyre.  The title phrase is in reference to the character of Jane Eyre addressing her reader from time to time within the narrative of the novel.

Even if you haven’t read Jane Eyre, but like the short story format, you’ll probably enjoy Reader, I Married Him.  Writers such as Tracy Chevalier, Lionel Shriver, Emma Donoghue, and others have crafted stories here that either stick closely to the theme of Jane Eyre, or contain elements of it but go off into their own universes.

In Joanna Briscoe’s “To Hold”, a twice-married woman falls for another, then marries still another, a union of fate as it were, or revenge; In Jane Gardam’s “It’s a Man’s Life, Ladies”, the narrator observes the relationship of her grandmother to her seafaring grandfather and the secrets of making that marriage work; in Lionel Shriver’s “The Self-Seeding Sycamore”, love, or satisfaction comes through the demise of a vexing tree; in Elizabeth McCracken’s “Robinson Crusoe at the Waterpark”, the older of two dads has a change of heart after their child comes into danger; and in the story that shares the collection’s title, Susan Hill retells the woes of a famous royal scandal.  And there are many more.

As with all short story collections, it’s doable to get in a story or two as time allows, and to skip around.  The only problem with this is making sure you have read them all – and you’ll want to read them all in this excellent collection.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

 

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