Book a Week: The Beauty of the Husband, by Anne Carson

In 2012, I resolve to read at least one book a week and to post my thoughts on the books I read here each Monday.

I don’t remember what led me to add Anne Carson’s book to my “to-read” list. I’m sure it had something to do with the mixture of genres in this “fictional essay in 29 tangos.” I plan to tell a tale via poems and short stories for my master’s capstone project (aka thesis), so I probably noted this book as one to read for ideas on how to structure my own book.

The structure of The Beauty of the Husband is fascinating. Carson pays homage to Keats throughout the book. She also pulls from greek classics and many other works that I’m not very familiar with. Sometimes this makes for difficult reading for the less-educated (me).

Still, I was moved by the tragedy of this love story, the desire and obsession. The “tangos” read like poems that at times verge on prose. I worried that I would get lost in all the allusions, but to Carson’s credit I did not, though I’m sure one with a better understanding of them would pick up on even more layers of meaning than I was able to.

A challenging, complex choice for my first read of 2012, but inspirational as well.