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BookBrowse Reviews Wifedom by Anna Funder

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Mrs. Orwell's Invisible Life

by Anna Funder

Wifedom by Anna Funder X
Wifedom by Anna Funder
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  • Published:
    Aug 2023, 464 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Peggy Kurkowski
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About this Book



A unique and original blend of biography, fiction, and literary criticism reveals the legacy of Eileen Blair, George Orwell's first wife, whose unacknowledged sacrifices made his meteoric success possible.

When life became overwhelming for writer, wife, and mother Anna Funder in the summer of 2017, she turned to her favorite writer for clarity of vision. Reading George Orwell in the summer led to reading six biographies of his life in the autumn, which revealed a curiously overlooked woman who ultimately captured Funder's heart. In Wifedom: Mrs. Orwell's Invisible Life, Funder unearths the story of Eileen Blair (née O'Shaughnessy)—the brave, complex, and talented woman "buried first by domesticity and then by history."

Wifedom is many things: literary criticism, feminist theory, memoir, and "counterfiction" that recreates the terrifically (and tragically) one-sided marriage of Eileen and Eric Blair (Orwell's real name). Inspired by the 2005 discovery of six new letters written from Eileen to her best friend, Norah Symes Myles, Funder provides a rousing rebuttal to the six ...

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