Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Poor Mrs Kimbles

Tonight our neighborhood book club gets together to discuss Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh. The story, which I read last weekend, follows the perspective of three women who married the same man, Ken Kimble.
mrs kimble
In one way, the strangest thing about the story is that the primary protagonist, Ken, is the one person who you know least about. The three women he marries are each different in circumstances and personality but with a common insecurity (hence the reason they marry him). You see the world through their eyes and watch them gradually discover Ken's weaknesses until their relationships with him slowly destroy their lives.

The story made me sad and angry at Mr. Kimble, and made me wish I understood his motives and background. In real life, very few people are purely bad, but I feel like the reader never gets the opportunity to know Ken any more than his wives did. That approach helped me as a reader have greater empathy for the female characters and their weaknesses.

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