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Pauline's Fantasy Reviews

Reviews of fantasy books, plus some mystery, sci-fi and literary works, and my random thoughts on book-related matters.

Currently reading

Dragon Queen (The Memory of Flames, #5)
Stephen Deas
The Splintered Eye (The War of Memory Cycle #2)
H. Anthe Davis, Erica Dakin

The World's Wife: Poems

The World's Wife - Carol Ann Duffy This is, almost inevitably, a very mixed bunch of poems. The premise is simple - to look at some key moments of history or mythology, and imagine the female viewpoint. And some are wonderfully insightful, some are laugh-out-loud funny, some are extremely clever and some are, frankly, less inspired.

It really helps, I suppose, to have had the sort of classical education which knows exactly who Eurydice was and what she did, otherwise you spend more time Googling the references than enjoying the poems. Even so, some of them were quite a struggle to get through. It's more a book for skimming, or perhaps for reading out loud, than to sit and read straight through.

For me the book was partly spoiled by the overt contempt towards the male gender which oozes out of almost every poem. I know it's deliberately taking the female viewpoint, but surely it's still possible to feel sympathy, even gentle affection, for the old buffers, even when they are at their most stupid. It's hard to imagine a book like this written in reverse, spitting venom at women, even finding a publisher, and somehow all the cleverness doesn't quite outweigh the nastiness.