Title: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: A Modern Reimagining
Author: Sarah Daltry
Year Published: 2014
Synopsis: An experimental novella reimagining the main figure of TS Eliot’s classic poem of memory, hopelessness, and loss in a contemporary setting. Approximately 20k words.
"No one wants to hear a lonely middle aged man talk about cities or memory. No one wants to know that the world exists in a kaleidoscope of colors. For one man, indigo is life, and he does not have time for the man for whom yellow is."
Review: I really love when classic stories are taken and given a modern retelling, and this story was no exception! I'm not a huge fan of poetry usually, but Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is one that I've read several times (for different classes and to refresh my memory when I've seen references to it outside of class), so I was pretty excited to find a modern (prose) reimagining!
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that I had no idea who most of the characters were, except for Emily. Their names aren't given until the story is more than halfway through, and I enjoyed only knowing them as "the wife" and "the narrator." I think it added a certain mystery to the story and it made me want to learn more about them because I didn't know their names. I wish we knew a little bit more about J.'s wife, but I'm not sure anything else would have made sense in contact so it ended up being alright.
I also enjoyed that this story is written both as events happening in the present and memories from the past. The way that Sarah ties the past to the present is really well done, and I enjoyed seeing J. in his younger days when he was in love and his world wasn't tainted by hopelessness. There were also several references to the original poem. I definitely wouldn't have caught them if I hadn't reread it before reading this story, so it was really neat how they're subtly included.
I would definitely recommend this novella to anyone who is a fan of the original The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock poem, as I think that it definitely does it justice. I'd also recommend this to any fans of Sarah Daltry's other works. It's about people, like her other books, and it deals with some harder topics like love and loss, death, hopelessness, and even wanderlust. I'd give it a 4/5!