TITLE: The Silent Wife
AUTHOR: A.S.A. Harrison
PUBLICATION DATE: June 25, 2013
PAGE COUNT: 326
SYNOPSIS: Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose.
The Silent Wife has some interesting fame – it was highly compared to Gone Girl when it first debuted last summer from Penguin, and the author, A.S.A. Harrison, died of cancer a few months before her debut book premiered, aged 65. It’s easy to see why all predictions called for this book’s success. It’s a portrait of a failing relationship, about cheating and lies and backstabbing, and it’s mostly well-written. While it never became as successful as Gone Girl, not achieving the same household recognition or acclaim, it’s still an interesting book worth a read.
But no, it’s not Gone Girl. Get that out of your head now.
This was the first book I’ve listened on audio to in, well, ever. And I’m quite grateful I started off with a third person past tense book, which provided an entry into the world of audiobooks that eased me in slowly. It was like listening to a story told by friends, not listening to some stranger divulge his or her entire life’s story in one long regurgitation of facts.
The Silent Wife is about man and woman locked in an unhealthy relationship. Oh, and they’re not actually married, which complicates things to the extreme. Todd is a cheater, a 46 year old property developer carrying on with a 21 year old college student who happens to be the daughter of his oldest friend. Jodi is his longtime partner who pretends to be his wife, a psychologist who has become accustomed to being the kept woman – she has everything she could hope for. All until Todd decides to leave Jodi for his pregnant girlfriend that is becoming a possessive nightmare.
It’s a slow burning story about backstabbing, the psychology of relationships, cheaters, and secrets. Don’t expect this to be action-packed, but it moves fast in its own way, with revelations, with twists, with secreted activities that lead to a conclusion spelled out for you in the synopsis.
While Gone Girl has twists and turns at every corner, The Silent Wife is much stingier with how it doles out plot points. We’re introduced to the cast of characters slowly, we get into their lives slowly, and we find out more and more about them slowly. Even at the end, we still haven’t found out everything about these characters, and there are revelations and tells until the last page. It makes the story a very satisfying read in my opinion.
But can we talk about the ending? I just didn’t buy it, nor did I really understand how it all came together in the way that it did. It seemed too simple and yet far-fetched at the same time. By the last page, I was scratching my head a little. In the end, though, I really did enjoy this one. I couldn’t wait to jump back into the car to keep listening, and it was easy to follow along with the story. It’s saddening that Harrison was unable to follow up this story, but The Silent Wife was the display of a mystery writer waiting to flourish from beginning to end.