I became aware of this novel after reading an article about it and its late author in the NYT. The gist of the piece was that the book owes its bestsellerdom to Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster “Gone Girl.” But here’s the thing: while the two novels do feature alternating husband and wife points-of-view and the stories are both about thoroughly unlikable characters engaged in bad acts, the voices of the authors couldn’t be more different.
I loved “Gone Girl.” It was pure entertainment, full of twists I didn’t see coming and lightened up with the author’s sardonic humor. “The Silent Wife” is just plain dark. It’s compulsively readable and I did want to get to the end to find out how things would resolve, but I didn’t exactly enjoy myself in the process.
Jodi is a shrink. Todd is in real estate. They’ve been together for 20 years although never married. Jodi knows Todd is serially unfaithful, but she goes about her life, making his dinner, keeping a neat, tidy house, maintaining her good looks, never rocking the boat. Todd, on the other hand, has been fooling around with the young daughter of his old drinking buddy, gets her pregnant and promises to marry her. Complications ensue and Todd ends up dead.
Harrison, who died before the book was published, had a wonderful, deadpan (sorry for the pun) way of using the third person to tell both stories, Jodi’s and Todd’s, and yet giving them their own distinctive voices. I would have liked to read more of her work.
Still, “The Silent Wife” made me eager to read something breezy and humorous next. Enough with murder and mayhem for this reader – at least for awhile.