J.R. Thorp is a writer, lyricist and librettist. She won the London Short Story Award in 2011 and was shortlisted for the BBC Opening Lines Prize, and has had work published in the Cambridge Literary Review, Manchester Review, Antithesis, Wave Composition and elsewhere. She wrote the libretto for the highly acclaimed modern opera Dear Marie Stopes and has had works commissioned by the Arts Council, the Wellcome Trust and St Paul's Cathedral. Born in Australia, she now lives in Cork, Ireland.
Learwife is her first novel.
@ThoroughlyThorp | jrthorp.com
AN OBSERVER BEST DEBUT NOVELIST OF 2021
'Dreamlike and haunting' The Times
'I am the queen of two crowns, banished fifteen years, the famed and gilded woman, bad-luck baleful girl, mother of three small animals, now gone. I am fifty-five years old. I am Lear's wife. I am here.'
Word has come. Care-bent King Lear is dead, driven mad and betrayed. His three daughters too, broken in battle. But someone has survived: Lear's queen. Exiled to a nunnery years ago, written out of history, her name forgotten. Now she can tell her story.
Though her grief and rage may threaten to crack the earth open, she knows she must seek answers. Why was she sent away in shame and disgrace? What has happened to Kent, her oldest friend and ally? And what will become of her now, in this place of women? To find peace she must reckon with her past and make a terrible choice - one upon which her destiny, and that of the entire abbey, rests.
Giving unforgettable voice to a woman whose absence has been a tantalising mystery, Learwife is a breathtaking novel of loss, renewal and how history bleeds into the present.
The wife of King Lear is given a powerful voice in this haunting narrative of her life . . . The writing in this novel is pitch-perfect: lyrical, imaginative and there to savour . . . Fascinating and heart-wrenchingThis vivid reimagining of King Lear's wife shows Shakespearean scholars what they are missing . . . An original and highly accomplished debut that reimagines the life of a woman written out of literary history . . . A fresh perspective on an age-old tale . . . With Learwife, Thorp also joins the ranks of authors such as Pat Barker, Natalie Haynes and Madeline Miller, who have in recent times successfully depicted female characters omitted from myth and literary history . . . Thorp is a stylish writer, who blends old and new worlds in prose that is elegant, rhythmic and innovativeThorp's prose is sweepingly lyrical; studded with jewels, wrapped in rich fabrics, blooming with resonant images: light of all sorts - sun, moon, torches, conflagration; the changing face of water. She finds mystery in the everyday, locates the poison that lurks withinTells the story of King Lear's wife in a blistering reimagination . . . A must for fans of Margaret Atwood, Sarah Waters, Pat Barker and Natalie HaynesThe chronicle of love, rage and grief that Shakespeare never wrote