Vinegar Girl | Penguin Random House Canada
Hogarth Shakespeare

Vinegar Girl

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Could the taming of Shakespeare's shrew, Katherina, happen today? Find out in this funny, off-beat version from one of our most beloved novelists.

"You can't get around Kate Battista as easily as all that."
    Kate Battista is feeling stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she's always in trouble at work--her preschool charges adore her, but the adults don't always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner. Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There's only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr.... When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he's relying--as usual--on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he's really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men's touchingly ludicrous campaign to win her round?
     Anne Tyler's retelling of The Taming of the Shrew asks whether a thoroughly modern, independent woman like Kate would ever sacrifice herself for a man. Its answer is as individual, off-beat, and funny as Kate herself.


Vinegar Girl is a perfect novel for a summer afternoon and a testimony to the malleability of Shakespeare’s text and ideas.” —Toronto Star

“Tyler serves up a sweetly rendered, thoroughly modern love story.” —The Guardian

“Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl, her modern version of The Taming of the Shrew, came as a surprise: the funniest book she has written, much funnier than Shakespeare.” —The Spectator (UK)

“Anne Tyler’s take on The Taming of the Shrew is, predictably, winsome, straightforward and smart. . . . From Shakespeare’s fable, Tyler has gracefully distilled a congruent but very different one—not one in which Kate needs to be ‘tamed’ by a masterful man but one where she becomes more herself by being made to engage with someone as odd as she is. The tone is Austen-Trollope, light and stinging and socially secure. . . . Tyler’s quiet and quirky comic gift is on display throughout the book. The scenes in the kindergarten where Kate works have a delightful, slightly Salingeresque tang.” —Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker 

“[Tyler] preserve[s] Kate’s dignity while serving up a sweetly romantic ending.” —The Washington Post

“[Vinegar Girl] is full of Tyler’s signature virtues—domestic details, familial conflict, emotional ambivalence, a sharp sense of place. . . . Novels such as Anne Tyler’s, which are so precise and current, are like photographs or digital clock faces that tell us where we are and where we are coming from at the same time. Vinegar Girl is an earthy reflection of this fleeting moment, both lively and thoughtful.” —Jane Smiley, The New York Times Book Review

“I loved Kate and Pyotr and the way they discover the oversized, tender, irreverent relationship that fits them . . . It is joyful.” —Rachel Joyce

“Resplendent storyteller Tyler (A Spool of Blue Thread, 2015) is perfectly paired with The Taming of the Shrew. . . . Deeply and pleasurably inspired by her source, Tyler is marvelously nimble and effervescent in this charming, hilarious, and wickedly shrewd tale of reversal and revelation.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Tyler is the recognised master of American family life and she retains her canny ability to invest domestic detail with easy relevance.” —The Courier Mail 

“[S]parky, intelligent spin on Shakespeare’s controversial classic.” —The Guardian

“[I]t is impossible not to enjoy this wry, wise, hilarious take on the relationship between men and women, and Tyler’s loving feminism untinged with bitterness.” —The Oldie

“Tyler is uniquely capable of handling a rebarbative character like Kate with generosity and imagination so that Kate’s frustration and panicky fear of a closed life become endearing to the reader. In Tyler’s hands, Pyotr is a delightful character, while she consistently finds good in unpromising people and is a sharp and very funny observer of day-to-day life.” —Literary Review

“The story is that of an eccentric rom-com—Shrew meets Green Card meets When Harry Met Sally—and I could see it becoming a film.” —The Times

“It’s clear that [Tyler] had fun with Vinegar Girl, and readers will too. . . . Vinegar Girl is a fizzy cocktail of a romantic comedy, far more sweet than acidic, about finding a mate who appreciates you for your idiosyncratic, principled self—no taming necessary.” —NPR Books