PositivePoetry FoundationIt’s worth asking: what does it mean to call a version of Beowulf feminist? It’s a difficult question because the poem is arguably feminist all on its own—no assistance needed ... Headley certainly deserves credit for bringing those gender-conscious analyses to the mainstream ... Headley’s Beowulf is kindred in spirit to The Mere Wife—highly conscious of gender and modernized to the hilt—but totally different in form. Instead of changing names or places, Headley sticks closely to the original Old English text while updating the vocabulary with flourishes of internet humor ... The feminism in Headley’s translation is embedded in the texture and language of the poem itself rather than in its individual events or characters ... Her Beowulf is a tragicomic epic about the things men do to impress one another. It’s as fierce an examination of masculine weakness as The Mere Wife was of feminine strength.
RaveThe New Republic\"The novel shifts from one surreal adventure to another … [The] subplot develops the theme of true madness so that it can be understood in the main plot, which is otherwise simply full of stupidity, or folly … The stories of Alice and Amar hang, of course, in asymmetrical tension. One is born lucky, one not so much. Both are American, but one was once Iraqi, and so is subject to a total recategorization by ethnicity. Crucially, Alice’s world is an unreal adventure, while Amar’s is totally concrete. Asymmetry is a debut burnished to a maximum shine by technical prowess, but it offers readers more than just a clever structure: a familiar world gone familiarly mad.\