Kate Battista is stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and infuriating younger sister Bunny?
Dr Battista has other problems. His brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, his new scientific breakthrough will fall through…
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. Will Kate be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to win her round?
Anne Tyler’s brilliant retelling of The Taming of the Shrew asks whether a thoroughly modern woman like Kate would ever sacrifice herself for a man. The answer is as surprising as Kate herself.
My reading experience:
The Hogarth Shakespeare project sees Shakespeare’s works retold by acclaimed and bestselling novelists of today.
Knowing that this is a modern version of The Taming of the Shrew, at first I thought this may turn out to be more farce than comedy, more ridicule than parody. However, I bonded with Kate. Completely stuck in a rut, fighting against her fathers measured request and then giving in to it, when it came to the crunch on her wedding day I held my breath when I thought that Pyotr had ultimately rejected her, finding the situation and her, worthless.
Of course Kate’s father is despicable but doing his best so we can’t hate him. Likewise her sister Bunny who is a rebel teen with a scientist for a Dad who has put “systems” into force to measure their lives.
A tragi-comedy, Tyler’s retelling made me laugh and cry. It was simple, easy to read and light despite the contentious topic. I enjoyed my first Anne Tyler novel and recommend it for a weekend by the fire.
“…you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”
“But why you would want to catch flies, huh? Answer me that, Vinegar Girl”
Themes: deception, immigration, arranged marriage, single parenting, laboratory animals, family, academia, feminism
I read this for my Bookgroup @ReadingBtwWInes