Thelma and Victor fall deeply in love, but are both already married. Thelma gets divorced and Victor promises to do the same, but prevaricates and carries on his double life. And while his wife may appear the scorned, less powerful one, she, too, benefits from her spouse’s duplicity. Thelma is not a parasite on the marriage: it’s the marriage that feeds on her.
When Thelma realizes she’s fallen for the oldest trick in the book, she is transformed into The Hag: an aggressive virus upon the marriage that used her. She recovers her independence by speaking up instead of staying silent. As her reptilian brain and intellect, her bitterness and brilliance short-circuit, she demolishes the family façade, exposing the phony idyll, the class conflicts and culture sector narcissism.
The Hag is about the silent power struggles of marriage, as well as a nuancing of #MeToo, an examination of women’s collaboration in the very oppression they are rising up against. Powerful men routinely benefit from elephants in the room, be it infidelity, sexual harassment, abuse, or alcoholism. Through silence and evasion, unacceptable behaviors become normalized – and women too often play along.
The Hag is a book for all those who are fed up with subordination in romance, who want to speak up and speak plainly without being regarded as hysterical. It is a desperate and witty battle cry for female freedom.
“Aase Berg’s prose is a guided missile with its target set on cowardice. Funny and liberating.”
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