About the Book:
From the award-winning author of The Friendship comes a shattering, brilliantly inventive novel based on the volatile true love story of literary icons Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.
In 1963 Sylvia Plath took her own life in her London flat. Her death was the culmination of a brief, brilliant life lived in the shadow of clinical depression—a condition exacerbated by her tempestuous relationship with mercurial poet Ted Hughes. The ensuing years saw Plath rise to martyr status while Hughes was cast as the cause of her suicide, his infidelity at the heart of her demise.
For decades, Hughes never bore witness to the truth of their marriage—one buried beneath a mudslide of apocryphal stories, gossip, sensationalism, and myth. Until now.
In this mesmerizing fictional work, Connie Palmen tells his side of the story, previously untold, delivered in Ted Hughes’s own uncompromising voice. A brutal and lyrical confessional, Your Story, My Story paints an indelible picture of their seven-year relationship—the soaring highs and profound lows of star-crossed soul mates bedeviled by their personal demons. It will forever change the way we think about these two literary icons.
“Memory is literary by nature. It takes factual events and gives them a metaphorical charge, lending what really happened a symbolic weight, persistently in search of the security of a story.”
What a sad story! I applaud the author for tackling such a sensitive subject as the relationship between Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Plath committed suicide at the young age of 30. This book is told from Hughes’s point of view, and paints a portrait of Sylvia Plath as a troubled, difficult woman. Yet Hughes and Plath had a passionate courtship and a marriage that produced two children, one of whom would many years later also commit suicide.
Hughes was not faithful to his wife but this book also mysteriously writes of a man that Plath was involved with. There are beautiful description of European locales and vivd descriptions of the literary world in which Plath and Hughes lived. I found the writing to be somewhat dispassionate, which might be a function of the Dutch to English translation, instead of the author’s actual writing style.
I am fascinated by the story of this famous couple and am very intrigued to see what is contained in Hughes’s sealed box donated to Emory University. The box will be released to the public in 2023. All in all, this book is a unique perspective on the brilliant, too-short life of Sylvia Plath.
About the Author:
Connie Palmen is an award-winning, internationally bestselling author from the Netherlands.
Palmen launched her esteemed literary career with De wetten in 1991. Published in the US and the UK as The Laws, it was winner of the 1992 European Novel of the Year Award and shortlisted for the 1996 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2019, Vienna, Austria chose Palmen’s debut novel for their One City. One Book. campaign and gave away 100,000 copies to the citizens of Vienna. John Irving, Toni Morrison, Mario Vargas Llosa, Michael Ondaatje and Hillary Mantel were some of the authors who preceded her with this prestigious honor.
Her second novel, De vreindschap (1995), published in the UK and the US as The Friendship (2000), won several prizes, among them the illustrious AKO Prize for Literature. In 1991, Palmen was selected to write a novella for the famous Dutch Book Week. Dutch bookshops and libraries gave away 750,000 copies of Palmen’s De erfenis (The Heritage) in a one-week period.
Palmen had a relationship with the well-known journalist, radio and television host Ischa Meijer, in the years preceding his sudden death in 1995. She wrote the moving autobiographical novel I.M. about the love for this enfant terrible. It was released in 1998 and became a great success both in the Netherlands and in Germany. The novel has now been made into a television film and will be broadcast in December 2020.
Palmen lived with politician and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hans van Mierlo, from 1998 until his death in March 2010. In her Logboek van een onbarmhartig jaar (Journal of a Merciless Year), she ruthlessly analyzed the mourning of a beloved one.
With the novels Geheel de Uwe (All Yours, 2002) and Lucifer (2007), Connie Palmen started a series of novels in which she explored the sometimes devastating effect of gossip and biographical storytelling on the lives of her characters. In September 2015, her latest novel Jij zegt het (Your Story, My Story) was published in the Netherlands. It is the heartbreaking story of Ted Hughes’ marriage with Sylvia Plath. While numerous biographies treated Hughes as the murderer of his wife, Palmen gives Hughes that chance to tell his own story through her novel. Your Story, My Story was shortlisted for several literary prizes, and won the prestigious Libris Price for Literature. The novel has been translated in 14 countries and was praised on the front page of France’s Le Monde Livres. Amazon Crossing will publish Your Story, My Story in English on January 1, 2021.