With elegance, sympathy, and nuance, Her Infinite Variety celebrates the women in William Shakespeare’s world. These lyrical stories move from Elizabethan London, where Shakespeare is drawn to the plight of the young wife of a wealthy friend, to a wintry Denmark, where Ophelia struggles to understand her love for Hamlet, and to Shakespeare’s Stratford home, where his daughter Judith deliberately enters into a shameful marriage. At the center of this remarkable book is Shakespeare’s enduring love for Anne Hathaway, his beautiful, passionate, illiterate wife. Together, the masterfully interwoven stories of Her Infinite Variety bring to life a Shakespeare who was formed by the women he loved — and who loved him.
“What a brave piece of work, to imagine Shakespeare’s women . . . a book to stimulate the imagination and remind us of the richness of the Bard’s legacy.”
— Susan Vreeland, author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue
In this collection of twelve dazzling and sensual stories, Pamela Rafael Berkman explores the perplexities of contemporary life through the eyes of women searching for love, truth, and faith. In the title story, a group of coworkers who order miniature plastic nuns rumored to bring love suffer surprising and disheartening consequences. In “Tat,” the heroine gets an elaborate Victorian valentine tattooed on her arm and learns the real meaning of wearing her heart on her sleeve. And in “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown,” the classic holiday program brings temporary peace to a troubled young woman. Throughout, miracles and revelations abound, appearing in the most unexpected places — a planetarium on a college campus, a yuppie Christmas party, a silversmith’s booth at an outdoor fair, a corner bar on Halloween. In capturing the dilemmas and difficulties of our times, Berkman brings to life the eternal longings of the human heart.
“Every story in Pamela Rafael Berkman’s new collection is thoroughly engaging because her vivid, angled characters always manage to snag us on their jagged hopes and fears.”
— Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls
“The rituals of young urban women (office games, TV watching, parties, dating) mesh with darker ceremonies (tattooing, witchcraft, self-mutilation) in this collection of 12 fresh and vibrant stories….Berkman (Her Infinite Variety) has an uncanny understanding of a particular contemporary subclass of young women and captures them empathically and vividly.”
— Publishers Weekly