This is an imagining of the fate of King Lear’s wife (from Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”). She is not in the play, and it is not mentioned what happened to her. In this novel, Lear’s wife has been banished to a remote abbey without explanation. As the story begins, she has been in exile for 15 years, and is told of the death of the King and her three daughters. She begins to plan her departure. The nuns however, have different plans.
The writing in this novel is superb, as is the characterization of the Queen, shown in her witty, caustic dialogue. Other reviewers agree: The Scotsman: “beautiful, poetic prose”; Newtown Review of Books: “beautifully written”; The Guardian: “opulently written”. However, The Guardian thought that this richness could “capsize the craft of the novel, and sometimes, especially in the earlier parts, it threatens to do so”. And The Scotsman commented that the story “lacks narrative drive”. My reading experience did not
“I am the queen of two crowns, banished fifteen years, the famed and gilded woman, bad-luck baleful girl, mother of three small animals, now gone. I am fifty-five years old. I am Lear’s wife. I am here.“
“So I will leave, once I have gathered the right things, and consulted the weather” … “I will go to find their graves.”
“I have no friends. If I did, I would not be suspended here in agony, like a fish on a pike.”
Author: J. R. Thorpe