“This engrossing debut novel depicts Sylvia Plath’s feverish artistic process in the bitter aftermath of her failed marriage to Ted Hughes—the excruciating yet astoundingly productive period during which she wrote Ariel, her defining last collection of poems.
In December 1962, shortly before her suicide, Plath moved with her two children to London from the Hughses’ home in Devon. Focusing on the weeks after their arrival, but weaving back through the years of Plath’s marriage, Kate Moses imagines the poet juggling the demands of motherhood and muse, shielding her life from her own mother, and by turns cherishing and demonising her relationship with Hughes. Richly imagined yet meticulously faithful to the actual events of Plath’s life, Wintering locates within the isolation and terror of Plath’s despair remarkable moments of exhilaration and fragile hope.”
“Kate Moses, against all odds, has produced an admirably just and unexaggerated work of psychological empathy. She succeeds in making her readers feel what it must have been like to be Sylvia Plath while sympathising at the same time with Ted Hughes and his perplexed response to his wife’s desperate needs. Everyone who seeks a valid, impartial explanation for Plath’s suicide should read this book.”
– Anne Stevenson, author of Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath
“Kate Moses knows everything on record about Sylvia Plath, but her novelist’s imagination takes us into those crevices of Plath’s mind where no one else has ever penetrated. No other version of those mysterious nine months before Sylvia Plath’s suicide goes so far to restore to life the poet, the woman, whom I knew.”
– Peter Davidson, author of The Fading Smile: Poets in Boston,
from Robert Frost to Robert Lowell to Sylvia Plath, 1955–1960
“The poems of Ariel that swarmed from Sylvia Plath as her marriage collapsed form the point of departure in this beautiful novel, which is exquisitely attuned to the strange half-life of the nerves produced by shattered intimacy.”
– Diane Middlebrook, author of Anne Sexton: A Biography and
Her Husband, on the marriage of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath
“She knows, too, something about the movement of the poems as a body, how they rise like a startled flock, flying as one, wheeling, spreading chaotically across the sky, finally alighting in the same tree. She knows the story she wants them to tell. It is her story. It is where she wills herself to go; it is an incantation. She’s giving shape to her life, past and future, with these poems. Like the arrangement of cards in a Tarot deck as they are turned up, it is not just the poems but their relation to each other that matters. She knows where she wants to begin.
The first poem is “Morning Song”; its first word is “love”.”
Kate Moses was born in San Francisco in 1962 to a British father and an American mother and grew up in various parts of the United States before returning to California to attend college. She subsequently worked as an editor in publishing and as literary director at San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts. In 1997, she became one of the two founding editors of Salon.com’s Mothers Who Think website, which led to the American Book Award-winning anthology Mothers Who Think, coedited with Camille Peri. which in turn inspired the nationally bestselling, American Book Award-winning anthology Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood (Villard 1999, Washington Square Press 2000) and Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race & Themselves (HarperCollins 2005, 2006). In 2003, her first novel, Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath (St. Martin’s Press, Anchor Books 2003) was published to international acclaim. Translated into thirteen languages, Wintering received the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and a Prix des Lectrices de Elle in France. Her latest book is Cakewalk, A Memoir (The Dial Press, May 2010), the result of a lifelong love of sugar and stories.
Kate is a contributor to several anthologies, including Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave edited by Ellen Sussman, The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath edited Anita Plath Helle, and The Salon.com Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Authors edited by Laura Miller. She has been a MacDowell Fellow, an Affiliate Artist at Headlands Center for the Arts, and the recipient of an Everett Helm Research Fellowship from the Lilly Library at Indiana University. She lives in San Francisco with her family — journalist and Salon.com founder, Gary Kamiya, and their two children.
Order Wintering, A Novel of Sylvia Plath.
Visit Kate’s website.