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Stewart O'Nan's ninth novel, The Good Wife, begins with that classic harbinger of bad news: A phone call in the middle of the night. Small-town housewife Patty Dickerson, pregnant with her first child, has been waiting in bed for her husband Tommy to get home. When the call comes, it's from jail. Tommy has been arrested for murder after a robbery gone awry. He doesn't make it home for 28 years.
With his usual practicality, O'Nan kills the hope off quickly in The Good Wife. This isn/t a novel of beating the odds but of enduring them. We follow Patty through her husband's long incarceration as she moves in with family, gets a series of low-paying jobs, remains faithful to Tommy, and raises their son Casey alone. These aren't unique circumstances--although they rarely form the stuff of fiction--and these aren't unique, unforgettable characters. Patty Dickerson could be anyone, and that's the point. This is a story of ordinary lives and small graces. O'Nan's refusal to dress things up (or down) is part of the charm of this clear-sighted, uncompromising novel. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Starred Review. Patty Dickerson, the resilient heroine of O'Nan's forceful, oddly moving ninth novel, is pregnant with her first child and waiting for her husband, Tommy, on a snowy night in the mid-1970s, when the phone rings. It's Tommy, and he's in jail after a robbery. He's been a thief for some time, a fact Patty has refused to acknowledge. Unfortunately, Tommy's latest escapade involves arson and death. Convicted of murder in the second degree, he receives a sentence of 25 years to life. The main story is Patty's, told in the present tense in quietly lyrical and observant prose: the struggle to make ends meet in an economically depressed upstate New York community, the shame of her son's father being in prison, the frustrating and humiliating treatment the penal system inflicts on prisoners and family alike. In a sense, Patty's life is on semipermanent hold over the 28 years Tommy spends in a correctional facility, but of course it isn't really: her son grows up, she visits her husband as often as she can, she works, mostly at dead-end jobs, and eventually she creates a career for herself. In other words, she makes a life that's both with and without her love. O'Nan (The Night Country) has completely captured Patty Dickerson and her dogged determination to endure in this sad but strangely hopeful story.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Stewart O'Nan is one of my favorite writers. The Good Wife did not disappoint, although I had to suspend my disbelief. Read morePublished 1 day ago by S. Dill
A young wife, expecting her first child, receives a phone call in the night:her husband was involved in a robbery_which led to a murder. He winds up with a 27_year prison sentence. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bibiana
A wonderful read! The story line takes second place to the wonderful development of the main character.
She is so real! Read more
A well-written story of what it means to commit to someone, for better or worse. In this case, the protagonist is the young, pregnant wife (Patty) of a man (Tommy) who gets himself... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ravenous Reader
Another beauty by Mr.O,Nan. His stories are as simple and as captivating as real life. Each one is different, no templet there, Thank you Stewart O,Nan.Published 13 months ago by dp
This is the second work of Stewart O’Nan’s I’ve read. The first (about a decade ago) was THE CIRCUS FIRE, which I never reviewed, but which I still remember as having been quite... Read morePublished 13 months ago by R. Russell Bittner
This book held my attention and was at times even a page turner. It isn't a mystery but it chronicles the lives of a family with a loved one in prison. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Comfort shoe aficionado