in December 2019
Greek Literature Series
Patricia Felisa Barbeito
About the book:
“It may sound like a lie: I am His wife,” is the arresting opening declaration made by God’s Wife’s unnamed narrator, who will always be known through her role as an appendage, “at His side.” This premise immediately raises issues of power, domination, truth and belief. God’s Wife is ultimately a meditation on the power of literature to create a space of imaginative play. It is a love story, a philosophical treatise on the nature of faith and divinity, a self-conscious meditation on the nature of writing and creativity, and a feminist tract, all held together by the compelling authenticity of the narrator’s voice. Her voice is, of course, shaped by Amanda Michalopoulou’s inimitably spare and masterfully evocative prose, which, like the narrator’s mother’s brand of storytelling, uses few words and eschews didacticism.
“Tell me about Your wives,” I insist. “How did You choose them? What was their skin like, their eyes, their voice? Which one was the cleverest, which one the nicest? How many were there? Where are they buried?” When I pepper Him with such questions, He finds an excuse to leave the room. God’s way of saying that the conversation is over.
More about God’s Wife
The legendary Hanna Schygulla is reading an excerpt from God’s Wife
Read an excerpt at Lithub
God’s Wife is your third novel to appear in English translation. What should American readers know about your earlier books? And how do you see this one fitting into your body of work?
In most of them the protagonists are women. They cook, they raise families, they study and write books, they are pregnant with children, pregnant with ideas, they travel a lot, they fall in love and out of love, they settle or refuse to settle. I know women’s worlds. I was raised by a grandmother who hung sheets and towels to dry between two olive trees, the most poetic early image of my life. I am interested in how women fit into their environment, what is expected of them. In this sense God’s Wife is a repetition of the pattern. How we become who we are because of, and despite, our genetics.
Read the full interview at Paris Review
I realized the story couldn’t function within the usual constraints of time and space. After all, I wanted to recreate God, the greatest fictional character known to humanity.
Read the full interview at Words Without Borders Daily
What was the most challenging thing about writing the book?
When you conduct a lot of research you want that material to show up on the page. But I am still preoccupied with the thought that I should have cut more. My excuse was that the narrator, God’s wife, was a newborn student and the enthusiasm of an acolyte should show, until she was over and done with it all.
Read the full interview at Poets and Writers
When God and His wife leave their quarantine to travel into the real world she recalls “the feeling of wanting something for its own sake, for no particular reason; of money changing hands; of coming into ownership of an object”.
Read the full interview at Fence
Amanda Michalopoulou can give substance and voice to the improbable; she is the kind of writer who makes a black swan look perfectly wonted. In her previous novel Princess Lizard, a few ghosts were fluttering about —and made perfect sense. In this one there is no metaphor: God has proposed to a girl and the girl said, well, yes. The heroine has never spoken to this day; now, she does; and she asks a lot of questions. A lot: about the Creation, about love, sex and the meaning of life. God has no answers; he is appropriately enigmatic and irritatingly unsavory. And sexless to boot.
Read the full review at Three Percent
Who then is the wife of God in this novel? Questions around identity and existence are central to the narrative. Through a masterful interweaving of postmodern ideas about the self and writing, this identity is both constructed and deconstructed in the novel in an exploration of faith, femininity, love, and desire.
Read the full review at Los Angeles Review of Books
A very unusual and original book.
Read the full review at The Modern Novel