Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Silent Wife: A Novel by A. S. A. Harrison

The Silent Wife: A Novel.  A. S. A. Harrison. Viking: Penguin Group (USA). June 2013. 336 pp. hbk. ISBN #: 9780143123231.

Jodi and Todd, a psychologist and builder, seem like the proverbial happily married couple.  Their lives are highly ordered and have no lack, except for the children Todd wants and Jodi cannot give him.  Still they stay together and really do love each other deeply.  This is the story of their unraveling marriage but not told in the stereotypical way so frequently found in other fiction.  The control Jodi and Todd exert in their lives harbors anxiety, denial, rage, and so many repressed memories that are about to surface!

First we learn of Todd’s extra-marital activities which he sees as absolutely harmless.  But that’s about to change when he dates the daughter of a good friend and that young woman becomes pregnant.  That is what at first horrifies him and then serves as the impetus for his leaving Jodi and making plans to wed Natasha.  At first Jodi handles it with equanimity but little by little she starts remembering more of her own past therapy, her own family memories, her own repressed, ultra-state of denial.  Many more secrets lie in these pages, exposed like an onion being peeled and yielding a stinging, teary, piercing affect!

Todd also begins remembering more, especially when he undergoes quite a fright over something he never deemed possible and Natasha’s tender love turns into nagging and harshness.  She even wants to be friends with Jodi, which is one of the most incredible moments in the novel. Todd seems to think he can stay friends with Jodi even though he has his lawyer give her thirty days to leave their former home.

On and on it goes, a study in what really drives people to violence and revenge.  But it’s done with such graceful, gradual subtlety that the reader knows what’s coming and yet is crept forward toward the shocking end inch by inch by inch! 

Jodi is about to become an amazing woman, in more ways than one for sure! The Silent Wife: A Novel is a superb crime or psychological thriller crafted by someone who truly knows her topic and can write a stunning plot as well! Superb writing and consequently reading!

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