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Novel About My Wife Paperback – August 5, 2008
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book. I thought it captured an essence of living in London and many of her descriptions were strikingly relatable. Read morePublished 14 months ago by S.K.
This is a very engaging book and the characters are beautifully drawn. I particularly appreciate that Ms. Perkins has written the whole thing from a male perspective. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Kathy Heckathorn
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... Read more