Your Story, My Story by Connie Palmen
Publisher: Amazon Crossing (January 1, 2021)
Hardcover: 186 pages
Genre: Biographical Fiction
From the award-winning author of The Friendship comes a shattering, brilliantly inventive novel based on the volatile true love story of literary icons Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.
In 1963 Sylvia Plath took her own life in her London flat. Her death was the culmination of a brief, brilliant life lived in the shadow of clinical depression—a condition exacerbated by her tempestuous relationship with mercurial poet Ted Hughes. The ensuing years saw Plath rise to martyr status while Hughes was cast as the cause of her suicide, his infidelity at the heart of her demise.
For decades, Hughes never bore witness to the truth of their marriage—one buried beneath a mudslide of apocryphal stories, gossip, sensationalism, and myth. Until now.
In this mesmerizing fictional work, Connie Palmen tells his side of the story, previously untold, delivered in Ted Hughes’s own uncompromising voice. A brutal and lyrical confessional, Your Story, My Story paints an indelible picture of their seven-year relationship—the soaring highs and profound lows of star-crossed soul mates bedeviled by their personal demons. It will forever change the way we think about these two literary icons.
As a longtime Plath fan, I was immediately curious when I saw this book and the premise. Biographical fiction does not seem like it would be an easy genre to write but Palmen captured the spirit and the story beautifully.
Ted Hughes’ voice could be heard throughout the book which made the story come to life for me. So much has been made of their relationship and marriage over the years and this fresh perspective was both painful and captivating. The storyline was fair in showing the pain of mental illness – both within the person and the impact on those around them.
My one fear going into this book was that his infidelity would be brushed aside or excused due to Plath’s long battle with clinical depression. There were times that the plot flirted with that notion but overall it maintained perspectives well.
The writing was excellent and the translation was beautifully done. I am a huge fan of translated works and I found this one to be exceptional in both the story and the voice of the author.
If you are Sylvia Plath and/or Ted Hughes reader, this is a book you will not want to miss!
Content Warning: Mental Illness, Suicide, Infidelity
Thank you to Over The River PR and Amazon Crossing for this gifted copy in exchange for my honest review
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