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The Pilot's Wife Hardcover – May 6, 1998
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With five novels to her credit, including the acclaimed The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve now offers a skillfully crafted exploration of the long reach of tragedy in The Pilot's Wife. News of Jack Lyons's fatal crash sends his wife into shock and emotional numbness: "Kathryn wished she could manage a coma. Instead, it seemed that quite the opposite had happened: She felt herself to be inside of a private weather system, one in which she was continuously tossed and buffeted by bits of news and information, sometimes chilled by thoughts of what lay immediately ahead, thawed by the kindness of others ... frequently drenched by memories that seemed to have no regard for circumstance or place, and then subjected to the nearly intolerable heat of reporters, photographers and curious on-lookers. It was a weather system with no logic, she had decided, no pattern, no progression, no form." The situation becomes even more dire when the plane's black box is recovered, pinning responsibility for the crash on Jack. In an attempt to clear his name, Kathryn searches for any and all clues to the hours before the flight. Yet each discovery forces her to realize that she didn't know her husband of 16 years at all. Shreve's complex and highly convincing treatment of Kathryn's dilemma, coupled with intriguing minor characters and an expertly paced plot, makes The Pilot's Wife really take off.
Reading Anita Shreve's novel, The Pilot's Wife, is like unraveling a thread. From the moment Kathryn Lyons answers the late-night knock at her door, she and the reader set upon a course that leads to a surprising revelation - that Kathryn's life is not what she thought it was....
Her search leads her not only to some answers, but to a realization - that the possibility is slim of ever fully knowing those we love, even those we love the most. -- BookPage, Laura Wexler, May 1998
Shreve has written an oddly gripping popular novel (meaning that it is not experimental; it has a conventional plot and pace) about the wife of an airplane pilot who discovers, after he is killed in a crash in Northern Ireland, that her husband had another life for several years. -- Los Angeles Times, Susan Salter Reynolds
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As an English person I found the ending quite disturbing to say the least. Bombs were always an IRA speciality and having seen both the Brighton bombing and Victoria Station,I have no compassion for the bombers that take innocent human lives, they are simply murderers. Saadly so many Americans did contribute funds without even visit Ireland and hearing how even local people there feared them nearly as much as the English. This has always remained in the minds of the English and accounts for much of the anti-American feelings.
SPOILER ALERT: The title of the book is like an inside joke; you'll see what I mean when you read this novel.
Ms. Shreeve knows how to build character profiles and back stories and integrate them almost seamlessly into the present narrative. She brings you into the marriage between the pilot and his wife to the extent that I almost felt like a voyeur at times. The emotions are powerful and poignant. I teared up, laughed out loud, and got indignant on behalf of the pilot's wife - that's ho much I was drawn into this story.
A great book and one you will never want to lend out!
I felt Shreve could have benefited from a better editor who would have encouraged her to cull down her lengthy, overly descriptive paragraphs detailing the minutia of a room, a person's clothing, the scenery, etc. I eventually started skipping those paragraphs in my pursuit for the next set of quotation marks -- my internal signal that I'm ready to wrap up this story.
I read the Kindle version via the Kindle app on my iPad and found the formatting was a bit off. In most cases it was the lack of a carriage return (or whatever you want to call it on a computer keyboard) to break up the exchange of dialogue between characters. Sometimes I had to re-read some of those passages to ultimately decipher who said what.