THE BEAUTY OF THE HUSBAND by Anne Carson

THE BEAUTY OF THE HUSBAND

A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos

KIRKUS REVIEW

Is it verse or is it fiction? What a question. The most essential fact is that this is a story, a love story told by poet and novelist Carson (Men in the Off Hours, 2000, etc.) in 29 brief, lyrical “tangos” (which are kind of like stanzas, only a lot more romantic) that have little quotations from Keats in front of each. Basically, it’s Girl-meets-Boy, Girl-gets-Boy, Girl-and-Boy-grow-old-and-get-tired-of-each-other. A marriage, in other words. Narrated mostly by the wife, it becomes quickly lugubrious in a sort of Liv Ullmann/Sylvia Plath–ish kind of way (“I believe / your taxi is here she said. / He looked down at the street. She was right. It stung him, / the pathos of her keen hearing”), but it is a vivid portrait all the same, razor-sharp and as quick as a flea. The lightness of touch is the saving grace—narrated in standard prose, this would be at once unremittingly drab and thoroughly old hat—that makes this doomed marriage different from all other doomed marriages we have read about. It even makes it feel somewhat less doomed.

Slight, and slightly weird, but worth a look.

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-40804-5
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2001




MORE BY ANNE CARSON

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AdultMEN IN THE OFF HOURS by Anne Carson
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