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The Silent Wife: A Novel Paperback – June 25, 2013
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“It’s this summer’s Gone Girl – I gobbled it down in one sitting, and because of the wonderful writing, I did not feel one speck guilty.” – Anne Lamott, People Magazine
“This summer's sleeper hit” – The New York Times
“The Silent Wife is a boning knife of a novel, sharp and quick.” – Newsday
“Watch out, Gone Girl.” – USA Today
“A.S.A Harrison's The Silent Wife is a clean, understated thriller” – NPR.ORG
“You can't blame the publishers of The Silent Wife for hyping it as ‘the new Gone Girl.’ It's not. It just might be better.” – The Huffington Post
“For those who loved Gone Girl… The Silent Wife is a quick-witted marital pas de deaux featuring a psychotherapist and her philandering husband.” – Vogue, “Summer’s Best Mystery Reads”
“May be as popular as Gone Girl was last summer.” – CBS This Morning, “Best Reads for Your Summer Vacation”
“The surprises keep coming, pager after quiet page… Harrison writes well with a light touch, but her touch is devastating nonetheless.” – The Guardian, US Summer Reads pick
“If you’re suffering from Gone Girl withdrawal, here’s your fix.” – Real Simple
“Harrison has spun a masterfully suspenseful tale in which the main plot point is given away from the beginning – no easy feat. It’s a story of the end of a marriage, the end of love and how long buried secrets can cast a long shadow.” – The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“That final revelation from Harrison, who, regrettably, died before she could see her debut novel published, inflicts the stealth damage of an icepick to the carotid artery.” – Sarah Weinman, New Republic
About the Author
A. S. A. Harrison is the author of four books of nonfiction. The Silent Wife is her debut novel and she was at work on a new psychological thriller when she died in 2013. She lived with her husband, visual artist John Massey, in Toronto, Canada.
Top customer reviews
In the beginning, we are told that this novel is all about a murder. Jodi will be the murderer and Todd the victim...and it will take only "a few short months" to "make a killer out of her."
So you might ask: with a novel that starts like that, how could it possibly be marketed as a thriller? Where's the suspense?
In fact, there's plenty of delight and surprise in this captivating cerebral psychological thriller. It's a thriller because we readers must ultimately understand and figure out the complex psychological unfolding of "the how" and "the why." And if you can see and understand the emotional dynamics of what is happening, you'll find a great deal of humor (oh yes, very black and subtle) all along the way. This is an intricate and impressive dance of inner survival where both characters keep stumbling no matter how hard they try to make the right move.
The book covers the few short months while this relationship is coming apart. In detail, we learn of the events that propel these two toward their fates. The story is told in alternating chapters from Jodi's and Todd's points of view. As readers, we exist in these character's minds. We are privy to their inner motivations, rationalizations, distortions, and self-delusions. But with two separate and very differing viewpoints, readers are left to figure out what really is going on. That's what's fun. That's part of the thrill.
The author expects her readers to have a high social IQ and a fair amount of arm-chair academic psychological knowledge...and what she figures readers may not know, she explains--of course not directly, but the psychological facts are there, hidden in the fabric of the storytelling. Perhaps you'll recognize these "lessons" when you see them, or perhaps you'll just pick them up subconsciously along the way. In either case, you should eventually start to understand how these characters are fated--by their pasts, and by their own specific and differing temperaments and character flaws--to affect what happens in their lives.
This is a very clever book--intelligent, compelling, and exceedingly well written. If my review has piqued your interest, you are probably one of those readers who will find this book as remarkable as I did. For me it was clearly five stars.
At the beginning we meet Jody and Todd, a couple who have a happy marriage - a strange type of marriage to be sure but one that works for them. Yet we are told something about Jody right off: "...a few short months are all it will take to make a killer out of her." Wow! A Killer? How can that happen to loyal homebody, devoted wife, and gourmet cook Jody?
Welcome to the world of Jody and Todd as the total of their decades together starts to get rocky. For her part, Jody is naïve and a bit foolish (which she realizes in retrospect) to not have married, legally, and protect herself from any future vagaries And Todd - who has his marriage JUST as he likes it, replete with a wife who will tolerate his cheating and indiscretions - you have to wonder "What else could he want?" Well, he wants Natasha.
So Jody is faced with a conundrum. What options are open to a woman - a dependent woman - when her 20 year marriage collapses - especially a marriage that is not really legal to begin with?
The pace of this book is smart and snappy, and I enjoyed it to the max. If I had to give one criticism, it might be that there was no real sense of fright (the gradual kind found in psychological novels). A fun book - but one that read more like a character study than a psychological mystery. Still VERY good though. FIVE STARS for Jody and how she resolves her marital difficulty!