The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife

3.5 281
by A. S. A. Harrison
     
 

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Soon to be a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will love The Silent Wife

"I gobbled it down in one sitting." – Anne Lamott, People

Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake,

Overview

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will love The Silent Wife

"I gobbled it down in one sitting." – Anne Lamott, People

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. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl and These Things Hidden, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and does not let go.







From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Jodi has led a quietly ordered and opulent life with her partner, Todd, for the past 20 years. She considers herself to be a flexible and understanding better half, who reacts to Todd's indiscretions by cooking him his favorite meal to remind him of their stable home life. A psychiatrist, she perceives an insurmountable difference between herself and her clients, whom she thinks would benefit from accepting the low points of their lives along with the high ones. But the events that Todd is about to set in motion will test Jodi's limits to a harrowing degree and cause a secret that she buried long ago to resurface. Told in the alternating voices of Jodi and Todd, Harrison's novel is the story of what happens when the life we've worked so hard to achieve is exposed as an illusion. VERDICT Reminiscent of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, Harrison's (Zodicat Speaks) fiction debut is at once coolly detached and heartbreakingly accurate. Sure to be a hit with psychological-thriller fans.—Caitlin Bronner, St. Joseph's Coll. Lib., Brooklyn, NY
Publishers Weekly
Canadian author Harrison’s first novel is a smart, nuanced portrait of a dying marriage. Psychotherapist Jodi Brett is content with her tidy, tranquil existence—cooking for her husband, Todd Gilbert; walking the dog; seeing a few clients out of their gorgeous Chicago condo—while headstrong Todd works as a professional renovator. As Jodi sees it, they complement each other, and she doesn’t mind pretending to disregard Todd’s indiscretions (which he clumsily attempts to cover up) in exchange. Accepting the peccadillos of her adulterous husband is one thing, but when Todd takes his infidelity to the next level and tells her that he’s leaving her, the existence she’s clung to so dearly is destroyed. And Jodi will do anything to take it back. And she does. Harrison (Zodicat Speaks and three other nonfiction titles) breathes life into Adlerian psychology, and weaves theory into a heart-pounding thriller that will keep you up at night. Agent: Samantha Haywood, Transatlantic Literary Agency (Canada). (July)
From the Publisher
“It’s this summer’s Gone Girl – I gobbled it down in one sitting, and because of the wonderful writing, I did not feel one speck guilty.” – Anne Lamott, People Magazine

“This summer's sleeper hit” – The New York Times

The Silent Wife is a boning knife of a novel, sharp and quick.” – Newsday
  
“Watch out, Gone Girl.” – USA Today

“A.S.A Harrison's The Silent Wife is a clean, understated thriller” – NPR.ORG

“You can't blame the publishers of The Silent Wife for hyping it as ‘the new Gone Girl.’ It's not. It just might be better.” – The Huffington Post
    
“For those who loved Gone GirlThe Silent Wife is a quick-witted marital pas de deaux featuring a psychotherapist and her philandering husband.” – Vogue, “Summer’s Best Mystery Reads”
   
“May be as popular as Gone Girl was last summer.” – CBS This Morning, “Best Reads for Your Summer Vacation”

“The surprises keep coming, pager after quiet page… Harrison writes well with a light touch, but her touch is devastating nonetheless.” – The Guardian, US Summer Reads pick
  
“If you’re suffering from Gone Girl withdrawal, here’s your fix.” – Real Simple

“Harrison has spun a masterfully suspenseful tale in which the main plot point is given away from the beginning – no easy feat. It’s a story of the end of a marriage, the end of love and how long buried secrets can cast a long shadow.” – The Cleveland Plain Dealer
  
“That final revelation from Harrison, who, regrettably, died before she could see her debut novel published, inflicts the stealth damage of an icepick to the carotid artery.” – Sarah Weinman, New Republic
     

 

Kirkus Reviews
Harrison's first novel tells the story of a couple splitting apart, with alternating chapters featuring the viewpoints of the main characters. Jodi Brett and her longtime companion, Todd Gilbert, have been in a satisfying 20-year relationship. Jodi, a psychotherapist, works out of their expensive Chicago condominium, seeing two clients a day during the week and spending the remainder of her time taking classes in flower arranging, walking their golden retriever, Freud, and preparing gourmet meals. Todd, who worked his way up in independent development by flipping properties, had an unhappy childhood. Their comfortable life, marred only by his occasional straying eye, seems to suit them both, at least until he catches sight of Natasha. The daughter of an old friend, Natasha is no longer a pimply teenager with black nail polish and garishly dyed hair. Instead, she has turned into a curvaceous coed who becomes involved in a tempestuous relationship with Todd, the man Jodi thought would always be there for her. Now, Natasha is demanding that Todd leave Jodi and seems determined to make that happen, even if she has to resort to a few nasty tricks of her own. But Jodi isn't through with Todd, nor is she ready to roll over and play dead: In fact, if anything, she's prepared to make sure someone else meets that fate if that's what it takes to stop the events that threaten to disrupt her carefully ordered existence. Harrison, who in real life is also a psychotherapist, writes a neat atmospheric tale that examines life from both characters' points of view but sometimes works a bit too hard to cram extraneous detail into the story, particularly when it comes to psychotherapy and Jodi's present clients. While readers can probably get over a few mentions of Jodi's work, the Q-and-A style rendition of her own therapy and references to different schools of psychological thought may make readers' eyes glaze. Harrison pens a good, basic story stretched thin by unnecessary and distracting detail.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101608067
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/25/2013
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
2,855
File size:
647 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

HER

It’s early September. Jodi Brett is in her kitchen, making dinner. Thanks to the open plan of the condo, she has an unobstructed view through the living room to its east-facing windows and beyond to a vista of lake and sky, cast by the evening light in a uniform blue. A thinly drawn line of a darker hue, the horizon, appears very near at hand, almost touchable. She likes this delineating arc, the feeling it gives her of being encircled. The sense of containment is what she loves most about living here, in her aerie on the twenty-seventh ?oor.

At forty-?ve, 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 inde?nitely 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 ?nal stage of disintegration, that her notions about who she is and how she ought to conduct herself are far less stable than she supposes, given that a few short months are all it will take to make a killer out of her.

If you told her this she would not believe you. Murder is barely a word in her vocabulary, a concept without meaning, the subject of stories in the news having to do with people she doesn’t know and will never meet. Domestic violence she ?nds especially implausible, that everyday friction in a family setting could escalate to such a degree. There are reasons for this incomprehension, even aside from her own habit of self-control: She is no idealist, believes in taking the bad with the good, does not pick ?ghts, and is not easily baited.

The dog, a golden retriever with a silky blond coat, sits at her feet as she works at the cutting board. Every now and then she throws him a slice of raw carrot, which he catches in his mouth and joyfully grinds up with his molars. This vegetable toss is a long-standing predinner ritual, one that she and the dog have enjoyed from the time she brought him home as a roly-poly pup to take Todd’s mind o? his yearning for progeny, which sprang up, seemingly overnight, around the time he turned forty. She named the dog Freud in anticipation of the fun she could poke at his namesake, the misogynist whom she was forced to take seriously at university. Freud passing gas, Freud

eating garbage, Freud chasing his tail. The dog is endlessly good-natured and doesn’t mind in the least being an object of fun.

Trimming vegetables and chopping herbs, she throws herself bodily into the work. She likes the intensity of cooking—the readiness of the gas ?ame, the timer marking o? the minutes, the immediacy of the result. She’s aware of the silence beyond the kitchen, everything rushing to the point in time when she’ll hear his key in the lock, an event that she anticipates with pleasure. She can still feel that making dinner for Todd is an occasion, can still marvel at the stroke of fate that brought him into her life, a matter of rank chance that did not seem to favor a further acquaintance, much less a future of appetizing meals, lovingly prepared.

It came to pass on a rainy morning in spring. Busy with her graduate studies in psychology, waiting tables at night, overworked, exhausted, she was moving house, driving north on State Street in a rental van loaded with her household goods. As she prepared to change lanes from right to left she might have looked over her shoulder or maybe not. She found the van awkward, didn’t have a feel for it, and on top of this her windows were fogged and she’d missed her turn at the last set of lights. Given these conditions she might have been distracted—a question that later came to be much discussed between them. When he clipped her driver’s-side door and spun her into oncoming tra?c, there was a general honking of horns and squealing of brakes, and before she could pull herself together—before she fully realized that her van had come to a standstill and she was perfectly alright—he was screaming at her through her closed window.

“You crazy bitch. What in God’s name do you think you’re doing? Are you some kind of maniac? Where did you learn to drive? People like you should stay o? the road. Are you going to get out of your car or are you just going to sit there like an imbecile?”

His tirade that day in the rain did not give a favorable impression, but a man who’s been in a car crash is going to be irate even if it’s his own fault, which in this instance it was not, so when he called a few days later to ask her to dinner, she graciously accepted.

He took her to Greektown, where they ate lamb souvlaki washed down with cold retsina. The restaurant was crowded, the tables close together, the lights bright. They found themselves shouting over the din and laughing at their failure to be heard. What conversation they could manage was pared down to succinct phrases like, “The food is good . . . I like it here . . . my windows were fogged . . . if it hadn’t happened I would never have met you.”

She didn’t go out on many bona ?de dates. The men she knew from university took her for pizza and beer and counted out their money. They’d meet her at the restaurant scru?y and unshaven, still in the clothes they’d worn to class. Whereas Todd had put on a clean shirt, and he’d picked her up, and they’d driven to the restaurant together—and now he was looking after her, re?lling her glass and checking on her comfort level. Sitting across from him, she was pleased with what she saw—the way he casually took up space and his air of being in charge. She liked the homey habit he had of wiping his knife on his bread and that he put down his credit card without looking at the bill.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“It’s this summer’s Gone Girl – I gobbled it down in one sitting, and because of the wonderful writing, I did not feel one speck guilty.” – Anne Lamott, People Magazine

“This summer's sleeper hit” – The New York Times

The Silent Wife is a boning knife of a novel, sharp and quick.” – Newsday
  
“Watch out, Gone Girl.” – USA Today

“A.S.A Harrison's The Silent Wife is a clean, understated thriller” – NPR.ORG

“You can't blame the publishers of The Silent Wife for hyping it as ‘the new Gone Girl.’ It's not. It just might be better.” – The Huffington Post
    
“For those who loved Gone GirlThe Silent Wife is a quick-witted marital pas de deaux featuring a psychotherapist and her philandering husband.” – Vogue, “Summer’s Best Mystery Reads”
   
“May be as popular as Gone Girl was last summer.” – CBS This Morning, “Best Reads for Your Summer Vacation”

“The surprises keep coming, pager after quiet page… Harrison writes well with a light touch, but her touch is devastating nonetheless.” – The Guardian, US Summer Reads pick
  
“If you’re suffering from Gone Girl withdrawal, here’s your fix.” – Real Simple

“Harrison has spun a masterfully suspenseful tale in which the main plot point is given away from the beginning – no easy feat. It’s a story of the end of a marriage, the end of love and how long buried secrets can cast a long shadow.” – The Cleveland Plain Dealer
  
“That final revelation from Harrison, who, regrettably, died before she could see her debut novel published, inflicts the stealth damage of an icepick to the carotid artery.” – Sarah Weinman, New Republic
     

 

Meet the Author

A. S. A. Harrison is the author of four books of nonfiction. The Silent Wife is her debut novel and she was at work on a new psychological thriller when she died in 2013. She lived with her husband, visual artist John Massey, in Toronto, Canada.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Silent Wife 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 281 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really wish these plot spoilers would learn how to write a review. A review is simply a few lines telling if you liked the book or not. You do not have to write a book report on it, this is not high school or college, where you have to give away every detail including the ending. You plot spoilers ruin it for other readers. And before some smart aleck says dont read them....i dont. But when you have to scroll past miles of posts where they tell every detail, you will see something that gives away the story, thereby ruining it for you. Please plot spoikers, have the decency to think of other ppl and stop ruining books by telling the entire plot line. Please stop it. Bn, please ban these ppl, please?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree! Please just give us a review not a darn book report!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did read "Gone Girl" and it ended with me wanting more. This book was awesome. Couldn't put it down. Highly recommend it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is dramatic and mysterious with a few unexpected twists. I enjoyed reading it.
Atthebeach More than 1 year ago
This is NOT, as some readers say, another Gone Girl. But it is pretty darned good. Not as much creepiness as Gone Girl; not as spine-shivering psychologically. But a good story with a bit of mystery and an ending that surprises even after you think you have it all figured out. It's not spoiling to say that I disliked the husband from the beginning and kept saying she had every right to kill him. It was surprising that her first attempt, such as it was, came so early in the book. And the story held on to me from there on out. The main character, Jodi, has many layers. It takes most of the book to see them all and understand why she handles things as she does. She's a psychologist and it's about psychology. Pretty interesting. Really worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well i was all set to read this, until i read the reviews. Please for the love of god, DON'T PUT SPOILERS IN YOUR REVIEW!!! Now I know what happens, stupid jackasses!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had a good flow, although it was a bit wordy towards the end. Harrison provides good descriptions throughout, making the reader feel as if they're living the lives of the characters. The ending had a twist to it & was a bit abrupt, but i've recommended it to others.
CS2222 More than 1 year ago
I enjoy psychological explorations into the mind. This is a fascinating peek into a damaged union, an exciting crime and psychological thriller that reveals the value of silence and time. A good plot, a lot of insight by an author who quite possibly lived it to get the details so right on. The is a very interesting read that is worth heeding.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author uses a unique writing style and presentation of characters to paint a vivid canvas telling a familiar story of betrayal in a deeply personal and different way. A real page-turner through the end. Loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good read. A quick, page-turner. But to compare it to the masterpiece that is "Gone Girl" is a bit of a stretch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someone said this is the next "Gone Girl", not even close! Was not surprised or even interested. The characters in this book are not all that interesting or deep for that matter. It was a challenge to finish, but I did hoping for that dramatic twist that never came to light.
Shauna19 More than 1 year ago
The Silent Wife was entertaining and had a interesting plot but, was a bit slow at times. In my opinion I wouldn't compare to this book to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl because I feel Gone Girl's plot was more unique and original than The Silent Wife.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has been compared extensively to Gone Girl, but it is much more of a psychological thriller. Yes it involves mystery and suspense, but it is all about what psychologically leads to a murder. I have to admit, maybe I enjoyed it because I am a psychology student so I understood all the psychology facts and references. With this said, it may have seemed a bit slow otherwise. Overall it was interesting and I had a hard time putting it down, but unless you are interested in the psychological aspects of humans, it may not appeal to you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked Gone Girl and i liked the Silent Wife. Interesting twist to tell you the end of the book upfront. It was good to see how it unfolded.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book captured my interest from beginning to end. It is a well writen thriller for anyone who knows what it like to be in a complicated romantic relationship. As a soon to be pyschologist i also apprciated the way Harrison portrayed the womans professional life among her personal one. A must read, i promise after you're done you will be anxious to read it again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author takes the reader on a psychological journey into the hearts and minds of the main chatacters. You are able to see their raw thoughts and often warped logic. A terrific read that i would highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the story and characters very much. It's a fun read - I think it's not serious enough for my book club.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A psychological thriller with many insights into the behaviors of the main characters .which not only kept me turning the pages but caused me to pause and ponder human behavior in relationship to our childhoods. Had everything, well developed plot and characters and mystery to boot. CherieSG
Mingskencik More than 1 year ago
The book peaks your interest in the first few pages and really is a hard book to put down. A very enjoyable read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had Avery interesting twist but overall was just okay.
SuseNJ More than 1 year ago
Superb book. Simply told, but with an underlying intense emotional depth for both Jodi and Todd, that develops quickly and extremely suspensefully. For the intelligent reader.
MahMah More than 1 year ago
Whoever it was who coined that old adage would likely agree with me that in the case of THIS story's 'WIFE'... silence is not only golden, but is totally life redeeming! For all women who are partnered with a Todd-like character (and who of us, much to our dismay, wouldn't LOVE to be?) the author of this book (may she rest in peace) has provided a smart guide on how to triumph in the end by the not so simple act of keeping ones fears and evil thoughts from erupting through ones mouth!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was not as good as I hoped it would be. Should NOT be compared to Gone Girl that book was soooooo damn good.
bmwill More than 1 year ago
This book was touted as this years Gone Girl,,,,,not even close. The characters were all deeply flawed, it was impossible to like any of of them. It was a struggle getting through it.