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The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison – review | Books | The Guardian

Harrison was the author of four books of nonfiction. The Silent Wife, her debut novel, was published to critical acclaim, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and has sold more than , copies worldwide. She was at… More about A. With a spare, elegant, and deft hand, she paints two dueling psychological portraits of longtime live-in lovers who become putative killer and hapless victim in a tale that no one is likely to forget anytime soon.

A very clever, very funny comedy of manners spliced with a domestic thriller.

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

It left me almost breathless as I raced toward the devastating finale. A must read for anyone who is occasionally ruthless, reckless, or psychologically weird—and anyone who loves clever books with depth and heart. It just might be better. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you purchase this book from your favorite retailer.

Read An Excerpt. Harrison By A. Harrison Best Seller. Paperback 2 —. If she could also have extramarital sex, perhaps they would find a mutually fulfilling arrangement. But Jodi doesn't want to stray, and she doesn't want to admit that his straying hurts her. In an early chapter, she admits that if she were the type to dwell on the past, she would "have left him or strangled him" years ago.

Initially, she comes across as rational, if not frighteningly uptight, with eyes wide open and her fate accepted. Todd enjoys maintaining the ruse as it benefits him the most, but when his young mistress becomes pregnant, he is shaken from this comfortable dual life, and everything unravels. It is excruciating to read about all the ways they cling to their dysfunction; Harrison takes this to a brilliant extreme.

Both characters resist going through any kind of authentic emotional transformation, even though their life together is far from fulfilling, emotionally or sexually.


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It is never clear whether Jodi and Todd ever truly care about each other. They rely on each other for structure and meaning — particularly in Jodi's case. Todd doesn't actually see women as whole people, although he admires Jodi's stoicism and the ways in which she seems stronger than other women. He knows she's smarter than he is.

Their attachment is both baffling and authentically rendered by the insightful Harrison.

The Globe and Mail

While the novel becomes, as it moves forward, a page-turning whodunit, it is at its heart an autopsy of the North American obsession with marriage at all costs, with mediocre routines and consumerism as a worthwhile replacement for connection and true intimacy. The Silent Wife has been described as "a gripping story of deception. It's an impressive debut from a talented new voice. Sadly, it is from an author who passed away from cancer before its publication. It's a shame that we won't have more insightful novels from A.

Harrison, because The Silent Wife is the perfect literary summer page turner. She is a frequent Globe Books contributor. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way.

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