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The Beauty Of The Husband (Cape Poetry) Paperback – 14 Jun 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (14 Jun. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224061305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224061308
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 1.2 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 316,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

In The Beauty of the Husband, subtitled "A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos", Ann Carson explores her ambiguous feelings toward a difficult but intriguing marriage. Each poem begins with a short quote from John Keats, whose idea that "beauty is truth" is the thread holding together a relationship with a man addicted to lying and philandering. A scoundrel ("He lied when it wasn't even convenient"), the husband is redeemed and forgiven almost everything because of beauty.

For Carson, the truth is "layered and elusive," hidden under the conversations of a thousand nights, nights when the lights were still on at dawn. There is a daring quality to Carson's work, a startling vision and perspective that will not be judged by normal standards. By penetrating to the core of a relationship, Carson stands convention on its head and finds "the light that pain brings". These poems bespeak the brilliance and shade of shape-shifting truth and conjure a freshness of language that shimmers. Somehow it seems fitting that the book itself, as an object to hold and behold, is also beautiful.

Though Anne Carson's poetry is shot through with the myths and images of the classical world, this ancient light helps illuminate contemporary situations and concerns. A classics professor at McGill University in Montreal, Carson has arrived in a surprisingly short time as one of Canada's finest poets. More than that, her exquisite, intelligent, highly original poems put her in the first rank of world poets. --Mark Frutkin, Amazon.com

Review

"The most instantly penetrating of contemporary poets... she has great intellectual and emotional knowledge, a vast habitat, to every bit of which she brings powerful perception and a freshness as startling as a loud knock at the door" (Calvin Bedient New York Times Book Review)

"Anne Carson, a Canadian, is quite remarkable. She really has captured me. I have been reading her obsessively over the past months. A stunning writer" (Harold Bloom Paris Review)

"In every form we find a sly, plainspoken eroticism that is a perfect complement to her sly, plainspoken intellectual ardour... a truly great poet of the 21st century" (Rebecca Wolff Time Out)

"She is an exceptionally exciting new voice" (John Lancaster Daily Telegraph)

"Carson writes ina language any poet would kill for: sensuous and funny, poignant, musical and tender, brilliantly lighted" (Ruth Padel New York Times Book Review)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this book. I took it out of the library years ago and read it through in one draught, going back to reread the parts I loved the best.

I bought it as a Kindle purchase because I was curious to see if my memory of the poems was faulty. If anything my appreciation of the poems has deepened over time. Anne Carson is confessional without being in the least bit sentimental. Some parts of the book are gut-wrenching in their awfulness.

Highly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vivian on 30 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a pearl and you should buy it.
This is a book full of poems and you should have it.
This is not an easy-reading essay, it deserves your time.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 26 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
If you're looking at this book and thinking that you might like to buy it, don't think - just buy it. And buy a copy for anyone you know who loves poetry and beautiful things.

'The Beauty of the Husband' is a genuine treasure, a real work of genius. Moving to read, stunningly beautiful, and unique.

Buy it now!
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Kavanagh on 1 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I am half way into this book and already adore it - it is simply magnificent. Real, witty, profound....my description could never do it justice. Simply buy it and read it! It is a must!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Love Hurts 24 Feb. 2002
By "krchicago" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Anne Carson has written a beautiful book of poems/tangoes that somehow tell the story of a marriage without actually telling a story. We have fully realized moments, conversations (Carson writes amazing poetic conversations, here and in her other works), events -- without all the connections in between. And yet these moments are woven together, internally and from one tango to the next, with language used as the steps of a dance, providing motifs and figures that carry the reader from one page to the next. Dance, games, rules, war, the rules of war, love, beauty, truth, lies and betrayal -- all of these themes run in and out of the complicated pattern of steps. The technique always serves the lyric, however, and we never lose sight of the feelings Carson wishes to evoke. You feel the separate pains of each betrayal (her betrayal of her mother, the not-yet-husband's failure to appear for their wedding, his first infidelity, each subsequent lie), but despite the pain there is no bitterness in this book -- in fact, Carson's final advice is to "hold beauty." Just as you cannot tell the tale of the lover without telling the tale of the beloved (as the final poem ironically suggests), so, perhaps, you cannot have love, beauty and truth without their opposites. Carson, plainly, is on the side of beauty.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VERY STRONG BOOK BY A MAJOR POET IN ENGLISH 30 April 2001
By Matthew Bialer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I disagree with the naysayers.....I just heard Ms. Carson read some of these poems and they are powerful and emotional. These poems are very different from GLASS, IRONY AND GOD or AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN RED but she is just increasing her range. I am amazed at how wide she is able to cast her net, her economy of language, her wide range of references in history, literature, the classics, pop culture. I think when you see her read (and I think her poetry is still great if one doesn't hear her read) her wry humour really clicks....it is amazing how much emotion she is able to convey through her wit....I think she is one of the most unique and refreshing voices in literature today. She is a very exciting poet.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
amazing 12 July 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
beautiful and shocking. a piece for any reader. the essential beauty and shocking nature of the human is wonderfully conveyed in this piece. i participate in competitive forensics and placed 9th in the state with this piece, in my first year. the piece has so many levels that it can be understood and throughly enjoyed by the least literate, least educated and those with doctorate degrees in literature. while it may not have the same spirit as many of carson's other works, it has a beauty of its own as it creates a very complex comprehensive story of a husband and betrayed wife, with wonderful words in the 28th tango. remember "hold, hold beauty."
those who are still trapped in carson's other works remember to allow the writer grow too, don't confine her to what you think she should be doing. remain open to changes in carson... she has not yet reached her prime.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
beautiful 6 April 2007
By D. Loedel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A book that captures the beauty and difficulty of love, relationship, and time, more than any I have read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
What does the lover want from Love? 10 Sept. 2005
By fishbola - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The storyteller in the The Beauty of the Husband is a woman who may or may not be Anne Carson, recollecting a failing marriage with a beating mind. Like other great stylists - Proust for example, her form of telling a story is peerless. Because after you have grasped the story why go back except to relish in style? As Godard has pointed out, "what is art except that by which forms become style." Perhaps Carson herself has written the best synopsis to her book,

what is the nature of the dance called memory

: Proust used to weep over days gone by,
do you?

So put on Piazzolla, read this book and answer for yourself what a lover wants from the beloved. Start with a little beauty and truth...
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