"The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought, enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean, hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility. Just like our marriage." So opens Meg Wolitzer's compelling and provocative novel The Wife, as Joan Castleman sits beside her husband on their flight to Helsinki. Joan's husband, Joseph Castleman, is "one of those men who own the world...who has no idea how to take care of himself or anyone else, and who derives much of his style from the Dylan Thomas Handbook of Personal Hygiene and Etiquette." He is also one of America's preeminent novelists, about to receive a prestigious international award to honor his accomplishments, and Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, has finally decided to stop.
From this gripping opening, Wolitzer flashes back fifty years to 1950s Smith College and Greenwich Village -- the beginning of the Castleman relationship -- and follows the course of the famous marriage that has brought them to this breaking point, culminating in a shocking ending that outs a carefully kept secret.
Wolitzer's most important and ambitious book to date, The Wife is a wise, sharp-eyed, compulsively readable story about a woman forced to confront the sacrifices she's made in order to achieve the life she thought she wanted. But it's also an unusually candid look at the choices all men and women make for themselves, in marriage, work, and life. With her skillful storytelling and pitch-perfect observations, Wolitzer invites intriguing questions about the nature of partnership and the precarious position of an ambitious woman in a man's world....Continua
The plot amasses such a long string of cliches that someone like me struggled to find it believable. Wife is a promising writer but she gives up her own career to help her husband's soar. Husband drinks, husband ignores daughters in pursuit of his own successful life, husband looks at, chases and has encounters with other women. In a nutshell, husband is larger than life. Joan Castleman is flying to Finland with her husband and she knows she will leave him. She was a promising writer but she gave up her own career so that her husband could have his. scans through her long-term relationship with husband Joe through a series of flashbacks. I won't obviously let you in on the main, gigantic revelation Joan's memories make. And I won't spoil this reading by telling you how it ends. Wolitzer is candid, hilarious, frank, ferociously cynical. The only drawback: slow at the start. Why could I not find it believable to start with? Because I am taking for granted the opportunities that have opened up for women. "Everyone knows how women soldier on, how women dream up blueprints, recipes, ideas for a better world, and then sometimes lose them on the way to the crib in the middle of the night, on the way to Stop and Shop, or the bath. They lose them on the way to greasing the path on which their husband and children will ride serenely through life."...Continua