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Novel About My Wife Paperback – August 5, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596911662
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596911666
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,086,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The lives of a London couple about to have their first child unravel in Perkins's haunting third novel. In the wake of surviving a train derailment, pregnant Ann Wells tells her husband, struggling screenwriter Tom Stone, that a man has been following her. With only Ann's vague description, the police can do little and Tom attempts to reassure his wife about her safety. As her due date approaches, Ann turns her attention to scouring the house and molding clay guardian figures, while Tom searches for work. Finally, Tom agrees to approach a popular television writer and fellow train accident survivor, Simon Wright, for work. After the birth of their son, Arlo, Ann's behavior grows more disturbing, and Tom realizes too late the truth behind her fears. Perkins's gamble to reveal Ann's fate in the early pages pays off; the suspense mounts with each added detail, until everything falls into place in an unsettling climax. Throughout, both Tom and the reader struggle to find a moment when everything could have been prevented. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“A book you absolutely can’t put down. . . . Perkins’s writing is so smart that she keeps us in total thrall to the Tom-and-Ann show.”
Toronto Star

“Complex and original. . . . Perkins blends the suspense and the black comedy perfectly, creating a true page-turner jammed between correspondingly exquisite first and final sentences.”
The Independent (UK)

“Perkins’ dark-hearted novel is a love story, and a suspenseful thriller.”
Vancouver Sun

“In Tom Stone, Perkins creates a character who is at once sympathetic and exasperating. . . . Spectacular. . . . A terrific read.”
New Zealand Herald

“A frightening tale of delusion. . . . The pace is fast and inexorable. . . . Perkins draws out the emotional tension and the thematic parallels while keeping the action tight and gripping.”
The Times (UK)


From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sb-lynn TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There will be no spoilers in this review.

This is an odd, moody little book. The narrator is a man named Tom, who is an out-of-work screenwriter. He is married to an Australian woman named Ann, who in her very early 40's and now expecting their first child.

The story basically takes place the final few months of Ann's pregnancy although there are flashbacks (via a document that looks like a screenplay) about the time Ann and Tom were newlyweds in Fiji. And even before that...

From Tom, we know from the literally the first sentence that Ann is dead. We know that Tom is devastated, and through his narration we witness what led up to this. We are introduced to several characters, including fellow screenwriters and best friends and one woman who is a spiritualist. We also, through Tom's eyes, see Ann's odd behavior. She tells Tom she is being followed by a strange man, but it is only at the end whether we find out if this is true or not.

For me, the best part of this book is that it was disconcerting - in a good way. We are never entirely sure what is going on, and we are left wondering, like Tom, about his wife's well-being and sanity.

The problem for me was that the book was surprisingly not a page-turner. Usually I love books like this, but for some reason whenever I put this book down I wasn't that interested in picking it up again. That is until that last several pages, when I did enjoy it more. I also have to say that when I read the last page, I felt like I should read the whole book over again - not so much because I liked it as much as I felt like I didn't completely understand it. I'm not sure whether this was my fault because it took me so long to read the book, or a problem with the book itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Vargo on September 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read about this book in the New York Times book reviews and it sounded spooky good.

Until I read it.

It's rather boring and disjointed and the author strangely delivers the climax near the beginning of the book where it does no good.

And the relationship didn't seem very honest. There were no sparks that even English/Australian couples have in their relationships. Their relationship was as bland as old oatmeal. Tom says he was captiavated by her the first time they met, but there's no passion between them, like one would expect a man captivated by his wife to feel.

The delusions of ants, the strange little sculptures, the phantom smells, the feeling of being followed by something dangerous, did no one else realize she was in late-stage syphillis-induced dementia?

I don't understand why Ann tried to hide her past from Tom. Yes, it was ugly, but these days I doubt if it would be that intimidating to men. Lots of women who have perfectly happy husbands had checkered pasts.

Tom seems to stand outside his own marriage, watching his wife lose her mind and doing nothing about it.

It just doesn't seem genuine and it certainly doesn't live up to its published reviews.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G M Price on March 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
I relly wanted to like this book. I did find redeemimg features, but when I had finished I felt that I had missed the point. I went back over the chapters looking for clues.The characters were substantial and credible-even if they were figments of the imagination-and the settings were evocative...but something crucial was missing . That something-and I have yet to decide what it is-relegates a novel that could be four stars to one that is three.What nuance did I miss?
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Format: Paperback
It's a strange narrative, a husband writing about his wife, which we are told early on, is dead.
He tells of their meeting and falling in love, his passion for her although he begins to understand that he doesn't really know her.
Anne seems a credible character until she is involved in a train accident and consequently describes a man she keeps seeing and is convinced will attack her. Everyone is concerned, until her claims become preposterous.
At the same time Anne is pregnant and gives birth to Arlo.
We are never quite sure whether she's mad or bohemian, whether he's naive or vacant or lovely.
The novel is written in such a way that we don't quite understand how Anne dies and the suspense builds right to the end. The husband's voiced is beautifully captured and we develop a lot of sympathy for him.
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