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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Barnard, Robert: Death of a Mystery Writer | Main | [no author]: Reader's Journal »

Wolitzer, Meg: The Wife

  

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Scribner & 2003, 224 pages [amazon]
4.5 stars

Just a few paragraphs into Meg Wolitzer's The Wife and already you're hit with one of those sentences you have to go back for so you can taste its phrases a second time:

"No one on this plane was fixated on death right now, the way we'd all been earlier, when, wrapped in the trauma of the roar and the fuel-stink and the distant, braying chorus of Furies trapped inside the engines, an entire planeload of minds--Economy, Business Class, and The Chosen Few--came together as one and urged this plane into the air like an audience willing a psychic's spoon to bend."

The braying Furies for the moment appeased, Joan Castleman and her husband are in mid-air, en route to Finland, where Joe is slated to receive the Helsinki Prize for literature.The braying Furies for the moment appeased, Joan Castleman and her husband are in mid-air, en route to Finland, where Joe is slated to receive the Helsinki Prize for literature. He, at least, is enjoying the trip, and particularly the attentions of the stewardess, from whom he accepts slippers and nuts and cookies while his "ancient mechanism of arousal starts to whir like a knife sharpener inside him."

"If that luscious cookie-woman had stripped to her waist and offered him one of her breasts, mashing the nipple into his mouth with the assured authority of a La Leche commandant, he would have taken it, no questions asked."

Women are drawn to Joe, in part because of his successful career as a novelist, but also because he is one of those "men who own the world." They exude confidence. They are hyperactively sexual. Once among the fluttering women herself, Joan has spent decades watching her husband attract and enjoy others--while she pretended not to notice, or  not to care, and while she subjugated her own talent to labor as his muse. At 35,000 feet in the air, bound for the crowning achievement of Joe's career, Joan decides that it has to stop. She will leave her husband when they get back home, after suffering through the coming bout of accolades.

Starting with the revelation of Joan's decision, The Wife tells the story of the Castleman marriage, from ignominious beginning to polite cohabitation, in a series of reminiscences that, while jumping about chronologically, are never disjointed. Over the book's course the characters of Joe and his wife are revealed--his appetites and egoism, her enabling and skewed priorities--and the secret of their marriage is hinted at, and the tension--incredibly, for this sort of book--builds. When the end comes it is sudden and shocking and yet wholly prepared for. Wolitzer's book is among the best of the book-mom's year in reading. Don't miss it.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.