Summary (from goodreads): An astonishing novel that removes Emily Dickinson’s own mysterious mask and reveals the passions and heartbreak of America’s greatest poet. What if the old maid of Amherst wasn’t an old maid at all? Her older brother, Austin, spoke of Emily as his “wild sister.” Jerome Charyn, continuing his exploration of American history through fiction, has written a startling novel about Emily Dickinson in her own voice, with all its characteristic modulations that he learned from her letters and poems. The poet dons a hundred veils, alternately playing wounded lover, penitent, and female devil. We meet the significant characters of her life, including her tempestuous sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert; her brooding father, Edward; and the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, who may have inspired some of her greatest letters and poems. Charyn has also invented characters, including an impoverished fellow student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, who will betray her; and a handyman named Tom, who will obsess Emily throughout her life. Charyn has written an extraordinary adventure that will disturb and delight. 9 illustrations.
The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson is an enchanting piece of art. Charyn dives to the depths of Emily’s mind, traveling down “organized rabbit trails” of her random but poetic thoughts. Her character is distinctly unique, her story frightening but beautiful.
This book feels like hot chocolate going down—delicious, sweet, but surprisingly fiery, leading your thoughts here and there, but keeping the flavor of Emily in your mind the whole time.
Content and Recommendation: Emily’s experiences are not for “young” people, but it would be appropriate for ages 16+
The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson is released today!