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Sufjan Stevens

New wives’ tales: ‘Significant others’ are filling bookstore shelves

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‘Significant others’ are filling the bookstore shelves. With subjects ranging from Dickens to the American presidents, a burgeoning literary subgenre investigates the influence women have had on famous men. Especially now, with Hillary Rodham Clinton’s memoir, Hard Choices, topping the New York Times bestseller list, it’s high time the women had their say. Hail to the First Lady Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife (2008) is one of my very favorite novels. Laura Bush’s life might not sound like promising material, but this fictional autobiography is a pure delight. When shy librarian Alice falls for Charlie, heir to the Blackwell political dynasty, private tragedies from her past—and her disagreement with her husband’s policies—threaten to emerge. The well-drawn characters defy caricature, but it’s…

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