Single Wife

Single Wife

5.0 1
by Nina Solomon

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Grace Brookman's husband is missing. He wasn't kidnapped or murdered (she's fairly certain); he just seems to have run away from home. He got up one morning, and with an offhand "Gracie, I'll be back in a little while," he was gone. Laz had left before, but this time, when several weeks pass and he doesn't return, Grace copes with the situation by pretending to family


Grace Brookman's husband is missing. He wasn't kidnapped or murdered (she's fairly certain); he just seems to have run away from home. He got up one morning, and with an offhand "Gracie, I'll be back in a little while," he was gone. Laz had left before, but this time, when several weeks pass and he doesn't return, Grace copes with the situation by pretending to family and friends that he's still around.

At first, Grace covers for Laz in little ways: rumpling the sheets on his side of the bed every morning for the housekeeper, turning up his favorite music so the neighbors will hear it, leaving the doorman a daily cup of coffee, just as Laz always did. Soon Grace's life is completely consumed with re-creating his life.

Over time the deception takes on a life of its own as her charade becomes more elaborate and she begins lying to friends and family, even her overbearing, ever-present Upper East Side parents. Grace finds herself steeped in denial about the truth of her husband's disappearance-and the truth about him, as clues arise to suggest that he isn't the man she thought he was.

In the spirit of Laura Zigman and Jennifer Weiner, Nina Solomon gives us a portrait of a young woman unraveled, who attempts to pull herself back together in the face of a most unusual crisis.

About the Author:
Nina Solomon received her MA from Columbia University. Single Wife is her first novel. She lives in Manhattan with her son, Nathaniel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Most men who leave their wives have the courtesy to (at least) leave a note, but not journalist Laz Brookman. At the start of this charming first novel, he casually leaves his New York apartment one morning and never returns: "He left as if he were going... to buy the Sunday Times (although they had it delivered) or to walk the dog (but they had none)." Anxious to save face and preserve the precarious normality of her life, and certain that he will soon return-mysterious several-day-long disappearing acts not being uncommon with her husband-Grace Brookman secretly begins living two lives, Laz's and her own. For the housekeeper's benefit, she rumples up the sheets on his side of the bed; for the neighbors', she blasts his favorite CDs. The absent Laz lurks on the periphery of Grace's life: a friend remarks that she has seen Laz being interviewed on TV, and others casually mention having received e-mail from him. It soon becomes apparent to Grace that even when her husband was physically present, he was keeping enormous secrets and problems from her-and that she now must step in to solve them, all the while keeping up her elaborate pretense. This imaginative and affecting debut is full of insightful characterizations and sharp, incisive language. Against Grace's constant awareness of her loss of Laz, the interplay of complex dynamics among the main players in her upper-middle-class New York life-her Scrabble-obsessed parents, their charming and dysfunctional friends the Sugarmans and her too-perceptive friend Kane-take on a tender, luminous intensity. Even better, Solomon knows how to confound her readers' preconceptions even as she carries her captivating premise to a surprising denouement. Gripping and dreamy, this tale will please fans of Margaret Atwood and Alice Hoffman, and win Solomon her own legion of readers. Agent, Irene Skolnick. (June 12) Forecast: There's a whiff of Woody Allen to Solomon's spot-on Manhattan settings, and handselling in New York (as well as to New York-ophiles around the country) could net excellent results. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Grace's husband, Laz, has run away from home again. In the past, he has always returned within a few days, but this time the days stretch into weeks and months. Grace has been advised not to ask questions-just live with it-so she spends her days covering for Laz. She takes coffee to the doorman in secret. She tells her parents he's lecturing out of town. She tells their friends he's traveling. She rumples his side of the bed so the cleaning woman won't know he's gone. During his absence, Grace discovers much she didn't know about Laz. Eventually, she does what she must and rediscovers herself. When Laz finally comes home, Grace finds that she can be her own person without him. First novelist Solomon tells a funny and bizarre story that is both hard to believe and hard to put down, with characters who are real, almost tangible. She captures the essence of the struggle for self. Recommended for all popular fiction collections.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A husband who makes a habit of disappearing, a loyal wife who covers for him: in a strong debut, Solomon explores the aftermath of one disappearance too many. Laz and Grace Brookman are a well-heeled Manhattan couple in their 30s. For Grace, their five-year-old marriage has been blissfully happy; Laz is a charmer liked by everyone. True, he pressured Grace into giving up her job as a ceramics teacher (she loved it) and insisted they remain childless, but she went along without complaint. As for those disappearances, never more than a week at a time, Grace has learned to take them in stride. So when Laz disappears again, on Halloween, she begins her campaign of deception--and self-deception. She has learned her skills from her loving but overprotective parents, for whom "keeping people in the dark . . . was a gesture of love and devotion, not deceit." It starts out as a fun project for Grace--fooling the housekeeper, and inventing reasons why Laz can’t attend her parents’ weekly Scrabble games. Even their best friend Kane must be deceived, not so easy when they’re playing a truth-telling game at a bar while downing Cosmopolitans. It’s the holiday season: Grace’s life is a whirl of games and festivities. But has Laz been playing a cruel game of his own? Rumors circulate that his latest book, on Kosovo and highly acclaimed, may have been based on a hoax; but Grace tunes them out. The turning-point comes with the appearance of the student Griffin, Laz’s son from a long-ago liaison, who’s looking for a first meeting with his father. As resentment builds in Grace, so she grows stronger, accepting the truth of a failed marriage. It’s all believable but overly familiar: think how many havetraveled this road since Ibsen’s Nora flew the coop. What sets this one apart, though, and gives it promise isn’t Grace’s emancipation, but its spirit of playful inventiveness, at times reminiscent of Iris Murdoch.

Product Details

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.07(d)

Meet the Author

Nina Solomon received her MA from Columbia University. She lives in Manhattan with her son, Nathaniel.

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Single Wife 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! The author has a great writing style and I liked all the characters, obviously some are more developed than others, but they each were distinct. Flow of events were great and the ending was not a let down. The only let down is that this is the only author's book and I want more!