Mike Lester's Reviews > Lover of Unreason: Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath's Rival and Ted Hughes' Doomed Love

Lover of Unreason by Yehuda Koren
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M 50x66
's review
May 05, 2012

really liked it

Holy shit. I'm really gonna do it. I've flirted with reviewing this book for so long, but never had the cashews to do it until now. The subject is just so damned sensitive. Chalk one up to Chianti. First, I suppose, we have to deal with the specter of Sylvia Plath's suicide. Her presence/ghost hovers over every page of this book, as I'm sure it did over Hughes and Wevill during their relationship. Now, there are two schools of thought when it comes to the suicide of SP, one being that Ted Hughes is Satan, the other being that SP was a fragile person who hooked up with Satan (Ted). Being a highly-sexed heterosexual male, I must say that there is a part of me that cannot completely hate Hughes for his actions and can understand them to an extent, however low down they may have been. Women will just never understand the power of the pussy (not to be crass, really, just being honest--what do you think all those Pre-Raphaelite paintings of sailors and mermaids and nymphs symbolize anyway?); it's truly a supernatural phenomenon. A man can be made to literally destroy himself and those closest to him for a bit of tang. Now, before all you Ellen Jamesians get riled up and decide to comment on this review, please bear in mind that I fully sympathize with Sylvia and do indeed view her as the wronged party, okay? I'm just saying that I understand the draw of warring emotions Ted must have been feeling during all of this as well. If that makes me an asshole, then, so be it. Pucker up. Now, on to Assia Wevill. They say it takes two to tango, and yes, it does indeed. Assia went into this affair knowing full well that she was destroying a marriage and a family, and yet, the reader can't help but feel sympathy for her as well. This is the beauty of this book. Not only is it written so skillfully that we cannot hate any of the participants (especially Hughes and Wevill-who actually murdered her own child in the course of committing suicide), but the reader gets to fully know the woman who was shrouded in mystery for so long. Wevill's story is at once tragic and disturbing; a truer portrait of desperate grief has yet to be written, I'd say. Ultimately, my heart goes out to the children, Freida, Nicholas (who has recently committed suicide himself), and poor little Shura. After finishing the book I can't help but feel sorry for all involved in this tragic, fatal love triangle. And yes, all you self-righteous bastards out there, that includes Ted Hughes as well. Let the hateful comments begin!

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