Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler - review by Elspeth Barker

Elspeth Barker

Kiss Me, Katya

Vinegar Girl

By

Hogarth Shakespeare 233pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler’s version of The Taming of the Shrew, comes third in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, in which novelists retell eight of Shakespeare’s plays. The accepted question at the labyrinthine heart of The Taming of the Shrew is how Petruchio will persuade Katherina, well known to be a shrew, wildcat and fiend of hell, to marry him. His unflinching interest in her is entirely mercenary: ‘I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;/if wealthily, then happily in Padua.’ 

Tyler – ‘one of our most beloved novelists’, as the publishers revoltingly put it – dispenses with the tiresome play-within-a-play frame involving Christopher Sly: a good thing, too, since even Sly falls asleep in Act One. She cuts out the numerous and unhelpful servants and suitors deployed by Shakespeare and

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