Mrs. Engels

Mrs. Engels

Book - 2015
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"The illiterate lover and eventual wife of a coauthor of The Communist Manifesto is the star of this enthralling work of historical fiction." -- O: The Oprah Magazine

"Lizzie has been brought to life with exuberant force." -- The New York Times

"Impressive. . . . A memorable portrait of a woman looking for a cause of her own, distinct from the one made famous by her husband." -- The Wall Street Journal

"Lizzie is as spirited a narrator as a reader could hope to encounter." -- The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Very little is known about Lizzie Burns, the illiterate Irishwoman and longtime lover of Frederick Engels, coauthor of The Communist Manifesto. In Gavin McCrea's debut novel, Lizzie is finally given a voice that won't be forgotten.

Lizzie is a poor worker in the Manchester, England, mill that Frederick owns. When they move to London to be closer to Karl Marx and family, she must learn to navigate the complex landscapes of Victorian society. We are privy to Lizzie's intimate, wry views on Marx and Engels's mission to spur revolution among the working classes, and to her ambivalence toward her newly circumstances.

Yet despite their profound differences, Lizzie and Frederick are drawn together in this high-spirited love story.
Publisher: New York : Catapult, c2015.
ISBN: 9781936787296
Characteristics: 389 pages ; 21 cm.


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Mar 30, 2016

A look at Frederick Engels and Karl Marx from the distaff side. Lizzie Burns never marries Engels, but remains his helpmate. Her poor Irish factory background makes her a good mate for Engels. The philosophy he preaches may support the proletariat, but it appears that that really doesn’t include helping his wife. Certainly their union is more egalitarian than others in Victorian England, but she still bears the brunt of the work around the house and he garners the praise. Although at times, I wanted the book to more quickly, the author was true to the period and created a story which showed the climate of the times as well as the relationship between Engels and Mrs. Engels.

Feb 03, 2016

In this novel, McCrea imagines the life of Lizzie Burns, a poor, illiterate cotton worker from Manchester who lived for many years with Engels. It provides a portrait of the domestic life of the Marx and Engels's families. I was sceptical a first - this is not a serious book - but the author gave Lizzie Burns a voice.

Dec 22, 2015

A fictitious autobiography by the girlfriend of Frederich Engels, around the time of one of his and Marx' most productive periods, 1870 to 1872. Tongue in cheek and cute ... especially the fish out of water syndrome. Of note is that the champions of the proletariat actually lead upper-class lifestyles. Hmm...


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