Heroines

Sheila Heti writes:

In 2009 Kate Zambreno went to live in Akron, Ohio, the sort of place you only choose if the situation is desperate. She was there because her husband had been hired to ‘curate and organise a small collection of rare books at the university … the gift of a rubber industrialist’. Friends asked why they’d made this uninspiring move. ‘The economy, you know. I mumble. A great job. (I really want to say: I DON’T FUCKING KNOW. But I don’t. I tell the mutual lie of our marriage.)’ Now exiled from cosmopolitan Chicago, having already been exiled there from New York, she writes in Heroines: ‘I am realising you become a wife, despite the mutual attempt at an egalitarian partnership, once you agree to move for him. You are placed into the feminine role – you play the pawn.’ The distressing fact of her wifedom is one of the central threads in Heroines: how will this young woman make sense of being a wife, and what sort of wife is she? And can she both be a wife and what she most longs to be – an artist, a writer, someone who speaks to the world and is heard?

(LRB 6 June 2013)

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