Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Silent Wife - A.S.A Harrison

' becomes chillingly clear that nothing is remotely as it was.'

Todd Gilbert and Jodi Brett live together in Chicago, and they have been a couple for over twenty years. Jodi is a therapist working part-time from home and Todd is an entrepreneur who has established a successful property business. They enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, but beneath the surface of their relationship, serious cracks are starting to appear, and when Jodi discovers what Todd has been up to most recently, the equilibrium is about to be unsettled forever. I won't go into the plotline further as it is best discovered as you read.

I found The Silent Wife a dark, fascinating and well-observed character study, intelligent, insightful and absorbing, and a book that held my interest and which I wanted to return to. The psychology of it all was very clever and interesting to observe, coupled with the insights from Jodi being a psychologist herself. From early on in the novel, there is a creeping sense of dread, a feeling that things are slowly going to unravel and come apart and ultimately be destructive, and I was compelled to read on, observing the complex lives and behaviour of this pair, the deception and then the desperation. I felt sadness at times thinking about this couple. Though they are not necessarily very likeable creations, in fact they are deeply flawed, neither wholly good nor bad, for me that made them all the more fascinating both individually and when viewed together; it was compelling reading getting inside their heads.

The author had a keen grasp of what makes her characters tick, of motivations, desire, greed, need, stability and routine. She dissects relationships really well, for example that of Todd and his father, or Jodi and her siblings. She also describes the minutiae of life beautifully, such as the everyday routine that keeps Jodi's life running. For me, this is not so much a fast paced, page-turning thriller (though it is certainly thrilling at times), it is more of a measured psychological journey through the breakdown of a relationship, slowly exposing the strengths and weaknesses of two people who know each other inside out and yet in some ways who don't know each other at all. 

I'd seen many reviews of this novel prior to reading it, in fact I wish I'd perhaps not read so many beforehand, as some were very favourable about it and others weren't very keen at all. Nevertheless I tried to go into it with an open mind and for me it was a cleverly crafted and perceptive tale of human desires, insecurities and jealousies from a talented writer. I'm sad to read that she has since passed away. 

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  1. I'm one of those who loved it! Now looking forward to the film....

    1. Thanks for commenting Mary. I enjoyed your review of this one. Would love to see what they do with the film!

  2. like yourself I've read a fair few reviews of this one and it seems that readers are very much split as to whether its a great book or not with few reviewing it as merely ok so thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. This sounds really interesting. I think a psychological journey can be more satisfying that a complete page turner at times.

  4. I've heard good things about this one. I'm always impressed by authors who can really create atmosphere throughout their books.

  5. This sounds right up my street and I haven't read a psychological one for a while, thanks for reviewing.


  6. Good to hear you liked it. It sounds GREAT.

    THANKS for a great review and your thoughts.

    Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved November Edition. I am in the list as #28. My book entry is below.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Entry


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