Three women, each destined to play the role of a poet's wife: Catherine Blake, the wife of William Blake - a poet, painter and engraver who struggles for recognition in a society that dismisses him as a madman; Nadezhda Mandelstam, wife of Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, whose poetry costs him his life under Stalin's terror; and the wife of a fictional contemporary Irish poet, who looks back on her marriage during the days after her husband's death as she seeks to fulfil his final wish.
Set across continents and centuries, and in very different circumstances, these three women confront the contradictions between art and life, contemplate their emotional and physical sacrifices for another's creativity, and struggle with infidelities that involve not only the flesh, but ultimately poetry itself. They find themselves custodians of their husbands' work, work that has been woven with love's intimacies and which has shaped their own lives in the most unexpected of ways.
Deeply insightful and beautifully wrought, The Poets' Wives is David Park at his best - a novelist whose work has the power to bring the hidden from the shadows, into a delicate and shimmering light.
David Park has written eight previous books including The Big Snow, Swallowing the Sun, The Truth Commissioner and, most recently, The Light of Amsterdam. He has won the Authors' Club First Novel Award, the Bass Ireland Arts Award for Literature, the Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize, the American Ireland Fund Literary Award and the University of Ulster's McCrea Literary Award, three times. He has received a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and been shortlisted for the Irish Novel of the Year Award three times. In 2014 he was longlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. He lives in County Down, Northern Ireland.