In The Wives of Bath, Susan Swan penetrates the world of a girls' boarding school and tells a story - at once shocking and wickedly funny - that encompasses rebellion and murder, and stunningly evokes the pain, confusion, and humour of female adolescence and sexual coming-of-age.
It is 1963. Mary Bradford (a.k.a. Mouse) is thirteen when she is shipped off to Bath Ladies College. Mouse, motherless, a hunchback, enters the school feeling very much on its margins, determined never to fit in with the "normal" girls, never to succumb to the expectations of the elder role models: the spinster teachers, the elegant mothers of her schoolmates. She chooses her allies carefully: her hump, whom she calls Alice, and john F. Kennedy, to whom she writes long letters asking and giving advice.
But the school itself is stranger than Mouse ever could have imagined. A secret underworld of tunnels beneath the buildings, stolen love letters, King Kong worship, and ghostlike apparitions - a world where young girls sometimes refuse to be simply "good little girls" - all lead Mouse into experiences, both terrifying and exciting, of an alternate reality for her sex. What begins as experimentation spins out of control, ending in a death that only Mouse can fully comprehend.
Susan Swan has created in Mouse Bradford - wise, witty and vulnerable - an unforgettable heroine. The Wives of Bath is a novel that both moves the heart an astonishes the imagination.
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Susan Swan is a professor of humanities at York University in Toronto. Her previous novels include The Biggest Modern Woman in the World (which was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award), The Last of the Golden Girls, and Unfit for Paradise.From Kirkus Reviews:
From the Canadian author of The Last of the Golden Girls (1991): a fantasia on the theme of gender (especially the adolescent variety), set to the tune of a macabre tale about a young girl with a severe case of penis envy. The whole megillah takes place at Bath Ladies College, a boarding school near Toronto, where one Mary Beatrice Bradford is dumped by her unloving doctor father, Morley, and her gin-swizzling stepmother, Sal. Nicknamed ``Mouse'' for her shyness, girl is a very smart 14-year-old hunchback (``I don't look like Quasimodo, but when children notice me coming, that's who they see''). Meanwhile, the school is ruled by a frumpy but good-hearted lesbian named Miss Vera Vaughan (called ``The Virgin'' by the girls), who has a dwarf named Sergeant and a lover in-house--the ``torpedo- breasted'' English teacher, Miss Peddie. A strange crew--but harmless. Actually, though, it's Mouse's fellow students who are round the bend--most especially Pauline Sykes, a charity case who rooms with Mouse and who spends most of her time dressed like a boy. Indeed, Paulie has a mind to turn Mouse male, too, putting her through a series of tests, including killing a pigeon and feeling up a girl--while cross-dressed, of course. But in the end Paulie goes much too far--leaving Mouse behind to contemplate what is so compelling about a penis. A wild reach for the territory of Fay Weldon and Elizabeth Jolley that goes way off the mark. Unpurposeful and silly. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Penguin Books / Granta, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: Used: Very Good. (B-40) light edge/reading wear. clean book with tight binding. no marks on pages, sturdy copy. one shallow cover crease. Bookseller Inventory # 58738
Book Description Penguin Books / Granta 18/10/1993, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Bookseller Inventory # 2341-9780140140811
Book Description GRANTA BOOKS, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Sent within 24 hours. Expedited UK delivery available. Bookseller Inventory # BBI1641100
Book Description Penguin Books / Granta, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: Used; Good. **SHIPPED FROM UK** We believe you will be completely satisfied with our quick and reliable service. All orders are dispatched as swiftly as possible! Buy with confidence!. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000231801
Book Description Penguin Books / Granta 18/10/1993, 1993. Book Condition: Very Good. This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. . Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780140140811
Book Description Penguin Books / Granta, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The Wives of Bath This book is in good or better condition. It has no tears to the pages and no pages will be missing from the book. The spine of the book is still in great condition and the front cover is generally unmarked. It has signs of previous use but overall is in really nice, tight condition. Shipping is normally same day from our UK warehouse. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780140140811
Book Description Penguin Books / Granta 18/10/1993, 1993. Book Condition: used-good. Will be shipped promptly from UK warehouse. Book is in good condition with no missing pages, no damage or soiling and tight spine. There may be some dog-eared pages showing previous use but overall a great book. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780140140811
Book Description Penguin Books / Granta 18/10/1993, 1993. Book Condition: used-good. Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in very good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Bookseller Inventory # 6545-9780140140811
Book Description Granta Books in Assosiation with Peguin Books, London, United Kingdom, 1993. Soft Cover. Book Condition: Very Good. 1st Paperback Printing. Paperback with wrapsMouse and Paulie, reluctant 14-year-old inmates of Bath Ladies College, are confronted by difficult questions. Why can't girls have muscles? Why don't boys cry? Gradually their secret life becomes a dangerous quest for the one small, vital thing that makes boys different from girls.We carry a wide selection of titles in The Arts, Theology, History, Politics, Social and Physical Sciences. academic and scholarly books and Modern First Editions etc.) Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 083796
Book Description Granta/Penguin, 1993. Soft Cover. Book Condition: Very Good. No Jacket. First Thus. Glazed card covers with folded in flap. Slight wear, no inscriptions. Appears unread (RP2*). Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 005924