The Silent Woman
Long-dead poet rules from well beyond the grave....
A literary tour de force through mined muddy fields left behind by the obsessive Sylvia Plath. Finest example of meta-biography, a book about (writing) biographies I can think of. Malcolm paints with words, if not etches her impressions in photoreali
A literary tour de force through mined muddy fields left behind by the obsessive Sylvia Plath. Finest example of meta-biography, a book about (writing) biographies I can think of. Malcolm paints with words, if not etches her impressions in photorealistic fashion directly onto readers' retinae. Her depiction of once Plath's ultimate neighbor's Trevor Thomas' house, where and with whom she conducted an interview for the book, "the Aleph of her tale of the labirynth of the Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes story" is not one easy to shake off one's mind [consider yourself warned]: it's as if I had been there as well, seen it too. If you're new to the life stories of Hughes and Plath, in that order, this is the only both-poet-centric literary work you should ever read, or wish for.
[ Abstract; the entire book originally appeared in a double issue of The New Yorker magazine in August of 1993 ] http://goo.gl/0yVrD
[ Author's biography ] http://goo.gl/APwtI
[ Well-acted movie "Sylvia" (2003) provides most of the collateral context, but tells only one side of the story - originally was to be called "Sylvia and Ted," only "Ted" clearly didn't make it. ] http://goo.gl/ffAiz
[Addendum 28 may 2011: two more books which provide a wider narrative for the life story of Sylvia Plath: "Ted Hughes : Life of a poet" by Elaine Feinstein, neither authorized nor hagiographical, biography of same. Feinstein is a fine writer and poet in her own right, author of, a.o., "Loving Brecht," who met Plath and was friends with Ted; http://goo.gl/eOGPL - sample 2001 review of this book http://goo.gl/Mes83
…and as deep a look as we're ever likely to get into the life of Assia Weevil, the "Jezebel" of Plath's for whom Hughes left Sylvia, and who 6 years later "copycat-gassed" herself, along with hers and Hughes' daughter Shura ] http://goo.gl/w5901
[Addendum 30 may 2011: in 2001 Ted Hughes' memorial stone was flown in by helicopter and placed in secret in a pretty inaccessible spot of the Dartmoor moors.] http://goo.gl/WjrtX
[direct link to this review: http://goo.gl/DWtB0 ]