As her husband's obsessions with science taking a darker turn on the eve of World War II, Margaret Mayfield is forced to consider the life she has so carefully constructed. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of
Inspired in part by the life her great aunt and uncle, Pulitzer-winning author Jane Smiley paints a devastating portrait of an independent young woman whose life is wasted in a decades-long marriage to a megalomaniacal scientist husband. With her father and brothers dead, Margaret Mayfield is told by her mother that she needs to marry to support herself. The man she finds for a husband, Andrew Jackson Jefferson Early, is a wildly eccentric would-be genius devoted to making order of the chaotic universe. The two retreat to a California observatory where Margaret struggles to make peace with her marriage, even as Andrew proves increasingly erratic in his mind and cold in his heart. Finally, on the onset of World War II, he takes an action that Margaret cannot abide--but by then it is too late. With Margaret and Andrew Early, Smiley has created a searing portrait of two magnificently flawed individuals, shackled together in madness and failure. PRIVATE LIFE is a bleak but powerful tale of a woman brought low by the cruelties of economics, cultural expectations, gender inequity, and the tyrannical personality of the man she was supposed to love.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres
- General, Literary, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Historical Fiction, Love + Relationships + Sex
- May 4, 2010
- May 4, 2010
- Jane Smiley