I was given this beautiful book for Christmas, requested by me after I heard a Guardian podcast of our lady laureate reading several of the pieces contained within The World’s Wife. While presented in the form of poems, these are very much tales, each one telling the story of the wife of a notable man and giving her personal twist on his deeds, and in many cases, misfortunes.
You don’t need to get all the references to enjoy this feisty, humorous and occasionally contemplative collection, but it does add to the words on the page. In many, Duffy follows up on a known piece of mythology, effectively giving us a glimpse of what happens after the curtain’s close.
The wife of King Midas sees the glimmer of a pear in her husband’s palm, and ends up sleeping with a chair to the door – terrified he’ll touch her as she sleeps and transform her to gold too. Continue reading