Emily Cooke at Bookforum:
Appropriately, given that they follow the arc of a marriage, the letters are filled with what Plath calls at one point “domesticalia.” The exhaustive reports on furniture, cooking, renovations, and real estate aren’t thrilling, but neither are they boring, being possessed of a kind of homely tactile truth that is revealing and hypnotic in its way. For a dinner party in December 1957, when Plath was teaching at Smith, she “tossed off a sponge cake” from a recipe her mother had sent her. “Made my little parfait with 6 egg yolks, maple syrup & 2 cups of heavy cream, frozen, mixed up a delicious spaghetti sauce, a French salad dressing, a salad of lettuce, romaine & chicory & scallions, garlic butter for French bread, and the clam-and-sour-cream dip I learned from Mrs. Graham. . . . We served sherry & hot potato chips & this dip for beginning & then you should see how nice our round table looked, if a bit crowded, with my lovely West German linen cloth (pale nubbly yellow). . . . I’ve never made a meal for 6 before, just 4.” On occasion, the mundane stories suggest a kind of unsettling foreknowledge.