Before we get started, we have a bit of business this morning.
The back of my review copy reads “DO NOT QUOTE FROM THIS GALLEY” (allcaps in original) which I will be disregarding. How do you expect me to do a decent review if I can’t quote? That said, I will correct obvious errors (which I will mark [molaq]) and mark seeming errors I don’t know how to correct with [sic] (but without its usual snide connotation). I will note the location of these quotations with chapter numbers since my page numbers are unlikely to match anything you pick up.
These rules will apply to all posts in this series going forward.
Now, on with the show. Continue reading “The Bishop’s Wife: the actual review”
One of the great challenges with writing a Mormon book for a national audience is deciding how much to explain. And it’s something I, for some reason, have particularly strong feelings regarding how it should be done. So let’s talk about Mette Ivie Harrison’s worldbuilding* in The Bishop’s Wife.
In the first forty or sixty or so pages, the titular narrator, Linda Wallheim, just spends too much darn time explaining the Mormon world of Draper, Utah. And it’s not just the quantity but the nature of the explanation that grates on me. For instance:
The church taught that everyone who was in the celestial kingdom had to be in a marriage—marriage was the highest law of the gospel—but that didn’t mean she had to be married to Tobias. In the old days, people would say worthy single women were lucky because they’d be married to Joseph Smith or Brigham Young in the afterlife. But people didn’t say that much anymore since polygamy had been carefully scripted out of the mainstream Mormon church.
This is pretty great because it throws a lot of my complaints into a single paragraph. Continue reading “Let’s get those first forty to sixty pages out of the way first (the beginning of our thlook at The Bishop’s Wife) (no Cary Grant this time around)”
Over the next few Fridays, I’ll be posting several times on Mette Ivie Harrison’s upcoming novel, The Bishop’s Wife (to be released December 30 from Soho Press). I know Harrison primarily from her memoir Ironmom (which I haven’t read) and the frequently forgotten fact (only to me) that she writes YA fantasy. This is the first longer work of hers I’ve read.
Instead of writing a long post covering many issues, I’ve decided to write a series of shorter posts covering such topics as exposition, marketing, genre whatnot, and who knows? maybe even a review! A couple posts that seem unfair to post before you’ve had a chance to read the book will post in the new year.
Suffice it to say I think the novel is worth your time and I’ll see you next Friday and the Friday after that and the Friday after that . . . . or maybe every other Friday. We’ll see how it goes.
more posts on The Bishop’s Wife