Spouses and the Creative People They Marry


Writers love writing about other writers’s wives. The spouse of a creative person has recently become a popular subject to novelize. But this fad is just a cheap trick, says Sarah Weinman in New Republic, that frees authors from the biographic reality of their subjects and eliminates the ordinary drudgery involved in writing a book. And it isn’t always enough to salvage a story:

The appeal of these spousal tales is in their attempted elevation of the writer’s life to the same level of their art, and in the idea that the day-in, day-out toil of writing is part of a larger, more significant narrative arc. In the hands of capable practitioners, these fictionalizations of a writer’s orbit clue readers in to struggles that play out in the authors’ work. The less capable turn emotional depth into tone-deaf soap opera.

Ian MacAllen is the founder of English Kills Review. His writing has appeared in The Billfold, Electric Cereal, Thought Catalog, and io9. He holds a Master’s Degree in English from Rutgers University and lives in Brooklyn. He tweets @IanMacAllen. More from this author →