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Comment: Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Book has a small amount of wear visible on the binding, cover, pages. Selection as wide as the Mississippi.
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Novel About My Wife Paperback – August 5, 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Emily Perkins is the author of Not Her Real Name, a collection of short stories that won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the John Lewellyn Rhys Prize, and the novels Leave Before You Go and The New Girl. She lives in New Zealand.

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.
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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: 5.9 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,511,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Tom and Ann Wells are a older couple who are expecting their first child and live in a derelict house in London. Ann is the bread winner and is employed in a Cancer treatment facility, while Tom who has been involved in media work is unemployed and attempts to find employment with little success. He eventually accepts a position with an acquaintance he previously worked for, who his wife Ann does not like, and is unaware of his likely position. Ann has a phobia of thinking that somebody is in the house, or feels she is being followed when out in the street, Tom is convinced that Ann is being followed, but as the book goes on it is obvious that Ann is suffering from a mental health condition.
I found this novel rather dark. To begin with I just didn't like it - it jumped around a lot which annoyed me. However it did improve as the story began to unfold. My reading is often done in bed with a couple of chapters each night. This book didn't have any chapters until right at the end!
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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: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book, the way the plot was revealed, the characters were very relatable, and the story very unpredictable and engaging. However, the ending did not have the pathos that I expected it to. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a well written, relatively short, pithy novel with a real human element.
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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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