Jen and I are reading The Uncoupling, by Meg Wolitzer in preparation for a chat with the author about her book and its themes on the What’s Old Is New Podcast. The Uncoupling tells the story of what happens in the sexual relationships of the couples of Stellar, New Jersey when a drama teacher new to the town and the high school decides to stage The Lysistrata with her drama group.
So far The Uncoupling has been an interesting read, with well-developed characters who are warm and recognizable if a little emotionally elusive. Wolitzer is known for exploring the dynamics of small towns, suburban couples, and the choices women with respect to their identities in the face of marriage and motherhood. I loved the pointed observations, wit and intelligence in the The Wife, but found her last offering, The Ten Year Nap to be largely unsatisfying.
I have heard from other readers that they don’t quite know what to make of The Uncoupling by the end of the novel, so I am curious to see how it progresses on from the 100 pages I have read. I have been surprised at the chosen approach given the storyline in The Lysistrata (which I am also reading in preparation for the same podcast).
I have also been making my way through She-Wolves: The Women Who Loved England Before Elizabeth, by Helen Castor. I am enjoying the stories of the women before Elizabeth, and man am I always amazed by just how convoluted everything royal is. The betrayals, marrying family, the battles between fathers and sons over the throne and money. I find this is not a book that I can just read straight through. I read a section and then come back to it after I have digested it a little. The names and relationships take some application to understand but the stories are fascinating, and Castor has an engaging writing style – I haven’t found this to be dry, and any confusion that I have had has not been her fault.