Reviews for Married Love And Other Stories
Booklist Reviews 2012 October #2
Examining the varied panoply of human affection through a dozen precise yet nuanced portraits, Hadley (The London Train, 2011) parses the meaning of love in all its paradoxical, panoramic glory. The title story introduces teenager Lottie, a protected, nerdy girl who dramatically announces her impending, impetuous marriage to a man old enough to be her grandfather. Later, we see Lottie weighed down by the reality of domestic tedium and motherhood. Two young lovers travel to meet their families in "A Mouthful of Cut Glass," only to find their relationship may not stand up under such scrutiny. A young man comes of age during wartime in "The Trojan Prince," but the torch he carries for a young woman fades in the reality of war's aftermath. Revisionist history reunites three old friends in "The Godchildren," while a widow finds reinvigorated life after her husband's death in "Post Production." Hadley's command of the telling detail, the unspoken riposte, and the subtle interpersonal struggles that fuel everyday human actions infuses this collection with both saucy fire and sobering fatalism. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #1
A subtly incisive vision and the ability to conjure full fictional scenarios in limited spaces characterize the new collection by a noted British writer. In her second volume of stories, Hadley (The London Train, 2011, etc.) considers private fears, bad decisions, tipping points and unexpected assertions of free will, via 12 short fictions, six originally published in The New Yorker. "The Trojan Prince" introduces a young merchant seaman in the 1920s, flirting with the daughter of a wealthy family but ultimately choosing not to respond to her signals of attraction. In "A Mouthful of Cut Glass," one of several stories reflecting social schisms, two college students take their partners home to meet the family and come face to face with the class divide. The comfortable middle classes, an easy target, are pictured often, hosting boozy parties with unintended consequences in "Because the Night" or, in the title tale, coping badly with a teenager's announcement of marriage: "Whatever for?" responds the mother, "Dad and I have never felt the need." The strongest tales are at the front of the collection, though the briefer later ones linger on the palate too, like "In the Cave," which pinpoints an infinitesimal but irrevocable emotional shift. Shrewd, insightful, unpredictable, Hadley's stories successfully plumb the complicated daily deeps. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2012 September #1
These stories are rich in character and steeped in class consciousness. In the exquisite title story, a 19-year-old violin student shocks her family by announcing that she intends to marry her music teacher, a married man 45 years her senior. To no one's surprise, things don't go well: three babies come along in rapid succession, her music career is forgotten, and other young women catch her husband's eye. Other stories capture familiar slice-of-life moments: a cleaning woman, diligently scrubbing toilets in an industrial work site, is preoccupied with her son's safe return from Afghanistan; a rectory-raised college student visiting her boyfriend's parents for the first time overhears his mother ridiculing her posh accent; and a schoolgirl's new friendship with a girl from "the Homes" is a cause for concern to her mother. VERDICT There is not a lot of domestic bliss to be found in these finely rendered stories, but there are many small moments of everyday life made recognizable by an exceptional storyteller. Highly recommended.--Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., ON (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
Not just married love but family life and social stratification come under Hadley's expert scrutiny here. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #1
Every story in this very English collection by New Yorker contributor Hadley (Accidents in the Home) juxtaposes the promise, even magnificence, of a rich inner life against the disappointing banality of everyday existence. In the title story, the author allows a willful girl to fling herself headlong into an ill-advised marriage, then makes us watch as all her pluck, all her potential, slowly dries up. In other stories, the author gives her characters refuge--a fecund greenhouse, the city of Venice, a house remembered from childhood--but ensures that they are not happy there, that each place is dark or rainy or infested with off-putting people. When Hadley sets a story ("In the Country") in the bucolic English countryside on a perfect summer weekend among the members of a loving family, it isn't long before her protagonist imagines being buried alive, "earth in her mouth and nose and ears... her flesh turning to a dry brown fertilising cake." Disillusion is Hadley's stock in trade. She is kind to the families she creates--mothers and fathers especially are respected, even revered. But when she dissects them with her sharp instruments of observation, she strikes nerves that can cause pain. Agent: Joy Harris, the Joy Harris Literary Agency. (Dec.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC