Sunday, January 14, 2018

Mrs Caliban by Rachel Ingalls

I read this slender volume in an evening while my spouse was watching a Hallmark Christmas movie.


While he was vegging out to a feel-good wish fulfillment movie, I was reading a feel good wish fulfillment novel about a housewife estranged from her husband after the loss of two kids and a dog and his series of affairs, which housewife meets a frog man named Larry who escaped from a science lab where he underwent cruel tests and learned English with the help of electric shocks, so that Larry killed the scientists to escape, and the sad wife and Larry commence an affair that includes her hiding him in the guest room and serving him avocado salad and their enjoying night time swims and walks in other people's gardens, then some punks attack Larry and he has to defend himself and, well, the kids don't make it...


And the housewife's best friend is dating two men and her kids are troubled and the ending is very convoluted with the philandering husband meeting an appropriate end.

Did I wish I had watched the Hallmark movie instead of reading about a frogman creature learning about human experience and a housewife telling her story of alienation and loss and loneliness?

Heck, no.

Mrs. Caliban was first published in 1982, which explains the use of the phrase "pontificating" because I remember people did that back then, and author Rachel Ingalls had a flash of fame before people forgot her novel. But it was noticed by some very important writers such as Ursula la Guin and Joyce Carol Oates and John Updike and Eleanor Cotton (The Luminaries) and New Directions said it knocked their socks off and so they republished it this year and I am sure it will make connections with readers today.

Is Larry real or an alienated housewife's fantasy? Who cares. Just read it.

I received a free book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Mrs. Caliban
Rachel Ingalls
New Directions
ISBN 0811226697 (ISBN13: 9780811226691)

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