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A Reliable Wife Paperback – January 5, 2010
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“After breaking through with a disquieting memoir . . . Goolrick applies his storytelling talents to a debut novel, set in 1907, about icy duplicity and heated vengeance. . . . A sublime murder ballad that doesn’t turn out at all the way one might expect.” ―Kirkus, starred review
A Reliable Wife “generates some real suspense . . .This darkly nuanced psychological tale builds to a strong and satisfying close.” –Publishers Weekly
“Debut novelist Robert Goolrick has managed a minor miracle. In the kind of precise, literary prose that breathes life into his complicated characters, Goolrick, author of an acclaimed memoir, has also managed a rousing historical potboiler, an organic mystery rooted in the real social ills of turn-of-the-century America. Whether writing about the farms of Wisconsin or the fleshpots of St. Louis, he re-creates a full-bodied, believable environment, and he peoples these worlds with characters as sensitive, as tortured as any contemporary souls. The result is a detailed exploration of love, despair, and the distance people can travel to reach each other that is as surprising, and as suspenseful, as any beach read.” -- Boston Globe
A “glittering, poisoned ice cube of a tale . . . Has a little of the Gothic feel of Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca--complete with a dead first wife, suspicious housekeeper, and gorgeous mansion . . . A Reliable Wife is eminently readable and should delight fans of old-fashioned Gothic romances . . . Goolrick is a solid wordsmith, and he handily manages the impressive task of making readers care about a woman bent on cold-blooded murder. And generating the proper Gothic ambience in Wisconsin is no mean feat.” -- Christian Science Monitor
A "fierce and sophisticated debut novel . . . In its best moments, A Reliable Wife calls to mind the chilling tales of Poe and Stephen King, and at its core this is a tragedy of Shakespearean dimensions. It melds a plot drenched in suspense with expertly realized characters and psychological realism. The fate of those characters is in doubt right up to this relentless story’s intense final pages, and Goolrick’s ability to sustain that tension is a tribute to his craftsmanship and one of the true pleasures of a fine first novel." -- Bookpage
“A killer debut novel . . . suspenseful and erotic . . . [A] chillingly engrossing plot . . . good to the riveting end.” –USA Today
"A gothic tale of . . . smoldering desire. . . . The novel is deliciously wicked and tense, presented as a series of sepia tableaux, interrupted by flashes of bright red violence. . . . Once you've fallen into the miasma of A Reliable Wife, it's intoxicating." –Washington Post
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But this book is a fascinating read about love, loss, sex (lots of sex), desire, deception, duplicity, and trust. It really breaks down to trusting someone whether you live or die…really trusting another. This novel explores the feelings of hopelessness and hope and how one emotion hinges on the other.
This book is not going to appeal to those queasy about reading lurid sexual details. It has a lot of them. But honestly, this book is so much more. I am amazed at the depth of this story once you replay it over and over in your mind.
We are molded and formed by memories. When love equals pain, then one may think that is how you “feel” love. “It was just a story of how the bitter cold gets into your bones and never leaves you, of how the memories get into your heart and never leave you alone, of the pain and the bitterness of what happens to you when you have no defenses.” At the end, it is the powerful story of redemption through love by people who had long since given up on finding any kind of love, kindness, or sympathy in this world. It’s the power of love and the power of hate and the fine line between the two. I thought it was a delicious story. 4 stars for me.
#book #books #novel #read #reading #AReliableWife #RobertGoolrick #4stars
No, this is not a quote from Goolrick or A Reliable Wife, HOWEVER it could have been.
A reliable Wife is not terrible. There are some beautifully written passages and it does commence with an intriguing plot but unfortunately midway through the book begins to morph into a dime store bodice ripper. Goolrick's protagonist is a miserable aging man who craves sex so much you begin to worry he's going to go completely nuts one day and mount the portly old housekeeper when she's taking out the trash. He winds up advertising for a wife and when she arrives he turns into Charlie Sheen (the new one with the Tiger Blood and porn Goddesses...) From then on the book's plot becomes so preposterous and the sexual encounters so salacious and repetitive it's truly hard to maintain interest. In addition to the bacchanalian sex, the sprawled limbs, the moist loins, the heaving bosoms etc...every character in this novel basically wants to drop dead (that is, if they're not in the middle of intercourse.) Truly, I have never seen so many homicidal, suicidal, morose, pissed off, seething, wretched individuals crammed into one book. So, in summation, if you like watching irate vengeful people savagely engage in coitus and then drop dead, you might like this book.
Most recent customer reviews
Till the very end you care
What a waste
NOT a review.
I read the first chapter. It seemed all about sex, from what I could understand.Read more