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All He Ever Wanted The ''he'' in Shreve's cautionary romance -- set in the popular author's favorite time, a more genteel past -- is a priggish academic so obsessed with a...All He Ever WantedFiction The ''he'' in Shreve's cautionary romance -- set in the popular author's favorite time, a more genteel past -- is a priggish academic so obsessed with a...2003-04-18
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All He Ever Wanted

Genre: Fiction; Author: Anita Shreve; Status: In Season

The ”he” in Shreve’s cautionary romance – set in the popular author’s favorite time, a more genteel past – is a priggish academic so obsessed with a woman he sees on a New Hampshire street that he pursues her into marriage. Then he punishes her horribly, in an imperious, turn-of-the-20th-century masculine way, for having thoughts and emotions of her own. Much is baldly educational in the plot, especially the shock value of the prof’s casual, unexceptional anti-Semitism. But the simple, skillful storytelling doesn’t fail the intended audience: Shreve (The Pilot’s Wife) alludes to a serious 19th-century literary style, but writes for the sensibilities of 21st-century romance readers.

Originally posted April 18 2003 — 12:00 AM EDT

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