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Strange Fits of Passion
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Strange Fits of Passion

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  7,713 Ratings  ·  406 Reviews
The reader is left to uncover the truth in this labryinth of a tale, a riveting story told within the framework of one reporter's notes and a woman's letters from prison. Everyone believes that Maureen and Harrold English, two successful New York City journalists, have a happy, stable marriage. It's the early '70s and no one discusses or even suspects domestic abuse. But a ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 11th 1999 by Mariner Books (first published April 1st 1991)
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Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anita Shreve writes a gripping story. In this one, the setting of a small town on the coast of Maine, during a frigid winter, had me turning pages very quickly. A lot of sympathy is generated by Mary, a battered wife, who has left her former life behind. Much nuance is added to the tale by having events described by different characters.
I rarely rate novels 5 stars, yet this one deserves to get 5. A novel by Anita Shreve “Strange Fits of Passion” is so absorbing a story that you simply can’t put the novel down until you finish reading it at one time. A story of a turbulent tragic story of domestic abuse. A woman who is sentenced to a life prison for a first degree murder she did for self-defense against her brutal husband. Unlike other novels that use a lot of “I” and seem to have only one character speaking and playing role th ...more
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really really enjoyed this book! It was one of those books that you are sad to say good-bye to.. .you know the ones, the ones where you start savoring the chapters and put off reading the ending because you don't want to part with it! Fortunately, this was a library book so I couldn't employ my usual stall tactics. Don't let the name of the book fool you into thinking this is a hot steamy love story. . .it is not. There are many different types of passion, and not all of them are good. I don't ...more
May 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for a book group, otherwise I would never have chosen a book about domestic violence myself. The story was compelling but I am not a Shreve fan. As in her past books, the characters are unlikable and I feel she is a very manipulative, intrusive author. The characters feel like puppets on a stage; I never feel transported by the writing. In this case, the narrative is intentionally disjointed because the bulk of the story is related in a series of writings and interviews by the m ...more
Gale Martin
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had read this before I began writing creatively because it is so instructive, and I was really intrigued by her craft--the method she used to unravel this tale. Pacing and revelation in this work are everything a reader expects from this author.

While I love her penchant of teasing out only what readers need to know to stay engrossed in the story, her main characters are always somewhat thin. I couldn't relate to her protagonists though I did feel for the battered woman. I just didn't g
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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This isn't the Anita Shreve book I'd recommend to others. I didn't enjoy reading this emotionally unsatisfying story filled with alcoholism, domestic violence and other forms of violence. On the surface, the Ivy League educated husband and wife have an ideal marriage, but as we all know appearances can be deceiving.

The story, which is set in the late 1960 or early 1970s, follows a sequence of events set mostly in a small cold town in Maine filled with a cast of colorful characters that you'd fi
Paul Bryant
Sep 25, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historians of domestic violence
Shelves: novels
The story of the dreadful marriage is presented twice - first by the escaping wife and then by the reporter who wrote the ensuing glossy magazine article. These two versions are presented to the daughter of the wife 20 years later, and the whole idea - I think - is to show how our views about this nasty subject have changed, and how repulsive the attitudes of the early 1970s were towards women in this situation.
That's not a bad idea for a novel, but Anita Shreve spends such a lot of time paint
Aug 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written book, collected as a series of interviews and anecdotes that form an article. The article in question revolves around a murder case that took place in St Hilaire. We are offered a series of insights into the motives of the characters and most importantly, the central character, Mary, or Maureen as she was known; she assumed a new identity as she sought to escape from her violent husband.
The writing is amazing, especially the change of pace as the character goes fro
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of this book was so hard for me to read. I love Ms. Shreve and have read every book that she has written (this being my last until she writes a new novel), but this book was disturbing. The first half deals with domestic violence. The second half deals with the promise of a new life which was a little bit easier reading. I will not even mention what happens because I know that would ruin it for so many readers.

Although I found this book difficult to read most of the time, I still
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Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. Early literary influences include having read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton when she was a junior in high school (a short novel she still claims as one of her favorites) and everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote while she was a senior (to which she attributes a somewhat dark streak in her own work). A ...more
More about Anita Shreve...
“Once you tell your first lie, the first time you lie for him, you are in it with him, and then you are lost.” 13 likes
More quotes…