The Silent Wife marks A.S.A.Harrison's fiction debut.
I love psychological thrillers and Harrison has written a doozy. (Don't you love that word!?)
Jodi and Todd are one of 'those' couples. Successful, well to do and leading a seemingly perfect life together. Oh, there are a few little bumps, but this is the life Jodi has created and she likes things just so. And yes, Todd wanted children, but over their twenty year relationship, it's been accepted that there won't be any. Well, yes he might cheat once in a while, and Jodi is somewhat aware of it. Todd knows she knows, but it's not spoken of and life goes on.
"At forty-five, Jodi still sees herself as a young woman. She does not have her eye on the future but lives very much in the moment, keeping her focus on the everyday. She assumes, without having thought about it, that things will go on indefinitely in their imperfect yet entirely acceptable way. In other words, she is deeply unaware that her life is now peaking, that her youthful resilience - which her twenty-year marriage to Todd Gilbert has been slowly eroding - is approaching a final stage of disintegration, that her notions about who she is and how she ought to conduct herself are far less stable that she supposes, give that a few short months are all it will take to make a killer out of her."
That's the second paragraph in the book - and I was hooked. Harrison explores this marriage in alternating chapters - Her and Him.
Harrison is a talented wordsmith who skilfully depicts the disintegration of not just a union, but of the individuals as well. Jodi's chapters are eerie and disturbing as she maintains a perfect, cool, calm exterior, keeping to her routines in her spotless home. Just as disturbing is the self centred, pleasure seeking Todd, who can explain away and justify any of his behaviors and actions.
It is one of those actions that starts the beginning of the end......
There is no overt gore or violence in The Silent Wife. Rather there is the slow, building journey to a conclusion I couldn't predict. Along the way, we learn more about Jodi and Todd's childhoods.The Silent Wife is a fascinating exploration of both a damaged relationship and its affected inhabitants. I really enjoyed the building tension as the chapters alternate and the layers and the civility are peeled away. Its impossible not to read just one more chapter...
Read an excerpt of The Silent Wife. Sadly, A.S.A. Harrison passed away earlier this year in Toronto, Canada and did not live to see her book release last month.
Thanks to the generous folks at Penguin Books, I have a copy to giveaway. Open to US only, no p.o. boxes please. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Ends August 3/13.