The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison

the silent wife

I read this book because I saw a Tweet from I-cannot-for-the-life-of-me-remember-who saying that they could not put it down.  Thrillers are no my usual cup of tea, but I thought I would give it a try.

It is the story of a disintegrating marriage (except the couple is not actually married), and what the wife chooses to do about it.  The chapters alternate between his narration and hers.  I found both characters difficult to like.  She is the stereotypical, old-fashioned, well-off American housewife.  She has herself a little part-time job but her main function in life is to cook for her husband and stay looking great and wearing nice clothes.  He is the stereotypical, old-fashioned, brains-in-his-pants chauvinist pig who sleeps around as habit and considers this quite reasonable.

The couple have been together for twenty years and it would appear that the wife knows the husband has had a few affairs, but the current one is with a woman who gets pregnant and persuades him to leave his wife and move in with her and eventually marry her.  So, naturally, the first wife plots to kill him.  That is not a spoiler – we are told that in the first page or two.

I did not find this novel particularly gripping or exciting.  I think possibly because I could not root for either character because I did not really like either of them.  Also, possibly because there is quite a lot about their complicated and unfortunate psychological histories that I found largely irrelevant.  I also struggled to believe the reasons given for a woman to murder a man she had lived with for twenty years were quite enough.  There is a bit of a twist at the end that I quite liked, though.

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