The Mere Wife
Maria Dahvana Headley
A New Statesman book of the year New York Times bestselling author Maria Dahvana Headley's fierce, feminist retelling of the classic tale of Beowulf. To those who live there, Herot Hall is a paradise. With picket fences, gabled buildings, and wildflowers that seed themselves in ordered rows, the suburb is a self-sustaining community, enclosed and secure. But to those who live secretly along its periphery, Herot Hall is a fortress guarded by an intense network of gates, surveillance cameras, and motion-activated lights. Dylan and Gren live on opposite sides of the perimeter, neither boy aware of the barriers erected to keep them apart. For Dylan and his mother, Willa, life moves at a charmingly slow pace. They flit between mothers' groups, playdates, cocktail hours, and dinner parties. Gren lives with his mother, Dana, just outside the limits of Herot Hall. A former soldier, Dana didn't want Gren, didn't plan Gren, and doesn't know how she got Gren. But now that she has him, she's determined to protect him from a world that sees him only as a monster. When Gren crosses the border into Herot Hall and runs off with Dylan, he sets up a collision between Dana's and Willa's worlds that echoes the Beowulf story - and gives sharp, startling currency to the ancient epic poem.