Cover image for Reader, I Married Him
Reader, I Married Him
Tracy Chevalier
Literary Fiction
Short Stories
This collection of original stories by todayA??s finest women writersA??including Tracy Chevalier, Francine Prose, Elizabeth McCracken, Tessa Hadley, Audrey Niffenegger,...
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This collection of original stories by today''s finest women writers--including Tracy Chevalier, Francine Prose, Elizabeth McCracken, Tessa Hadley, Audrey Niffenegger, and more--takes inspiration from the famous line in Charlotte Brontë''s most beloved novel, Jane Eyre.

A fixture in the literary canon, Charlotte Brontë is revered by readers all over the world. Her novels featuring unforgettable, strong heroines still resonate with millions today. And who could forget one of literature''s best-known lines: "Reader, I married him" from her classic novel Jane Eyre?

Part of a remarkable family that produced three acclaimed female writers at a time in 19th-century Britain when few women wrote, and fewer were published, Brontë has become a great source of inspiration to writers, especially women, ever since. Now in Reader, I Married Him, twenty of today''s most celebrated women authors have spun original stories, using the famous line from Jane Eyre as a springboard for their own flights of imagination.

Reader, I Married Him will feature stories by:

Tracy Chevalier

Tessa Hadley

Sarah Hall

Helen Dunmore

Kirsty Gunn

Joanna Briscoe

Jane Gardam

Emma Donoghue

Susan Hill

Francine Prose

Elif Shafak

Evie Wyld

Patricia Park

Salley Vickers

Nadifa Mohamed

Esther Freud

Linda Grant

Lionel Shriver

Audrey Niffenegger

Namwali Serpell

Elizabeth McCracken

Unique, inventive, and poignant, the stories in Reader, I Married Him pay homage to the literary genius of Charlotte Brontë, and demonstrate once again that her extraordinary vision continues to inspire readers and writers.

Author Notes

Tracy Chevalier was born on October 19, 1962 in Washington, D.C. After receiving a B.A. in English from Oberlin College, she moved to England in 1984 where she worked several years as a reference book editor. Leaving her job in 1993, she began a year-long M.A in creative writing at the University of East Anglia.

She is the author of several novels including The Virgin Blue, Burning Bright, Remarkable Creatures, and The Last Runaway. Her novel Girl with a Pearl Earring was made into a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Kirkus Review

The author of Remarkable Creatures (2010) and Burning Bright (2008) invites writers to turn one of the most famous lines in English literature into short fiction. As Chevalier notes in her introduction, it's the declarative, fiercely self-determined tone of Jane Eyre's words that captures the imagination. And, by addressing us directly, Jane makes us her confidants, witnesses, and accomplices. There's no question that Charlotte Bront has inspired generations of writersespecially women. Here, Jane's bold statement serves as a prompt for a distinguished group of authors. Some of these stories address Jane Eyre directly. "Grace Poole Her Testimony," by Helen Dunmore, is a chilling condemnation of both Jane and Rochester, full of heart-stopping lines. In "Reader, She Married Me," Salley Vickers offers Rochester's point of view, while Francine Prose turns Rochester into a Bluebeard. Audrey Niffenegger brings Jane and her dear friend Helen into the future to create a dystopian romance. And Kirsty Gunn's "Dangerous Dogs" is a sly exploration of Bront's masterpiece, methods, and biography narrated by a fledgling writer. In many entries, though, the connection to Bront's work is more oblique, with Jane's words largely severed from their original context. Emma Donoghue uses the life and letters of Mary Benson, wife to an Archbishop of Canterbury, to craft a sad and tender story of love between women. Lionel Shriver's tale of a new widow's war on her neighbor's tree is an unalloyed delight. As for the contribution from the always wondrous Jane Gardam, best to let the reader experience it without preamble. A clever idea well-executed; a treat for fans of short fiction and for Bront's many ardent fans. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

New York Review of Books Review

For this anthology, the best-selling author of "Girl With a Pearl Earring" gave other women writers a challenge: Take up the famous line from "Jane Eyre" and use it as the starting point for an original short story about marriage. And back came 20 responses that, added to Chevalier's own contribution, represent a wide spectrum of perspectives and cultures. Some are directly tied to "Jane Eyre," but among the standouts are stories that have been untethered from the mother ship. In "AMigrating Bird," the Turkish author Elif Shafak depicts a marriage of the mind, a one-sided relationship between an Islamic university student in a Turkish town and a fellow student, a young Dutchman there to learn Turkish. She convinces herself, on the flimsiest of evidence, that he will convert to Islam in order to marry her, only to find that he already has a girlfriend and "marriage is the last thing on his mind." The story ends heartbreakingly: "Like a shutter in a rainstorm, banging against a window, I venture forth, retreat back, try afresh, retreat again. Nothing changes in my life, and yet nothing is the same." In another gem, "Luxury Hour," by Sarah Hall, the "him" is implied: a man married on the rebound after a love affair has ended. More than a homage to Charlotte Bronte, this and other stories provide fascinating takes on the inexhaustible subject of love.