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Published by Hogarth on June 21st 2016
Genres: Adaptation, Contemporary, Family & Relationships, Fiction
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Pulitzer Prize winner and American master Anne Tyler brings us an inspired, witty and irresistible contemporary take on one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.
Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.
When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?
You are either a huge fan of re-imaginings or you hate them. I tend to fall in love with classical stories made modern and this latest installment of Hogarth’s Shakespeare is a wonderful retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. Anne Tyler’s retake on this story of an arranged marriage set in Baltimore stars Kate as the “shrew” although I just found her witty and sarcastic, not really shrewish. Her father is in the midst of a scientific breakthrough but his assistant is about to be deported. What is a father to do? Arrange a marriage between his assistant, Pyotr, and his daughter Kate. Kate isn’t having it though. As a preschool teacher and taking care of the house, she feels she has earned her right to do with her life as she wants but ends up catering to her younger sister and father after her mother has died.
The story is really a romance about two clueless people who have known each other forever but never realized that they actually have a lot in common. The writing is sharp and humorous filled with all kinds of my favorite snark. I was hoping that Kate would be a bit more sarcastic since she does have a bit of bite but not quite shrewish in my opinion. I really enjoyed the relationship and setting of the story but the dialogue is what really makes it perfect.
About the Author
Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. The Beginner’s Goodbye is Anne Tyler’s nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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