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Sunday 6 April 2014

‘The Silent Wife’ by A.S.A. Harrison

Published by Penguin,
June 25, 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-143-12323-1

Jodi, the eponymous wife, is 45, a counseling psychologist with several degrees.  Todd, 46, is a successful entrepreneur, first flipping houses, now undertaking large-scale renovations.  They have a golden retriever named, not too surprisingly, Freud.  Jodi thinks “In every practical sense she is as married as anyone else.”  The immediate problem appears in the guise of Todd’s latest lover, a 20-year-old woman named Natasha, a big part of that problem being that her father and Todd have been best friends since high school. Parenthetically, at some point Todd becomes more hateful to the reader than he is to Jodi (well, female readers anyway).  Todd’s two worlds collide when Natasha gets pregnant and demands that Todd marry her; confrontation - - well, confrontations - - seem to be inevitable; the book’s third paragraph seems to indicate that Jodi will be a killer before too long.

This is a beautifully written novel, and not at all what I expected, containing quite a number of universal truths.  I find my comfort zone in tales of crime, mystery, and suspense, but those things don’t seem to be present in this book, that is, until very near its conclusion, and then all those are there, in spades.  A true psychological thriller, as it is accurately billed, and recommended.
To oversimplify greatly, Jodi and Todd are partners in a highly dysfunctional marriage – well, actually, it’s not even that:  they are not really married, it just feels like they are.  Living together for over 20 years in a sumptuous, 27th floor Chicago condo overlooking the water, they both apparently believe they are happy.  The problem is that Todd is a serial womanizer, and that seems to be something they both take for granted:  “He knows and she knows that he’s a cheater, and he knows that she knows, but the point is that the pretense, the all-important pretense must be maintained, the illusion that everything is fine and nothing is the matter.”
Reviewer: Gloria Feit

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

Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

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