The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: A Modern Reimagining by Sarah Daltry is a novella to bring the story of a hundred year old poem to modern times. I was immediately interested in the idea. Eliot imagined an overeducated, emotionally stunt man in the original poem. He is with a woman who he desires but is afraid to act fearing his own inadequacies. The poem moves from city, to seaside, to indoor settings.
I reread the poem before taking on the novella. Some of the themes and imagery transfer over sawdust, yellow/lemon, peaches, cheap hotels, worn trouser bottoms, and cities. Cities are miserable no matter where you go in geography or time. Cities are filled with people you know, but don’t. The transfer is well done, but the story is modern and different, but with the same feelings. There is still the stark differences between the city and the country.
On reflecting on life in the city “…I have killed the person I used to be. I do not mourn and I cannot place the moment he fully passed on, but I know he is dead.”
I was a little hesitant to start this after looking at Daltry’s other works listed in the book; all of them are listed as romance. There is a memory of a relationship that is the center of the reimaging — Emily and Jake (Alfred Prufrock). The telling the of the story is well done even for romance. Its done well enough that the average guy would read it and not recognise it as romance. It’s a story of growing up and remembering what has been lost. Very well done.