When the weather conspires to keep you indoors, there's not much to do but bring on the marshmallow sweetened hot drinks and lose yourself in a good book or two.
'The Silent Wife' by A.S.A Harrison is another kettle of fish. On its release, it was billed as suspense novel in the style of Gillian Flynn's 'Gone Girl'. They are both set in the privileged world of the well to do in big American cities but while 'Gone Girl' delves into the fraught world of teenage girls, 'The Silent Wife' explored the tensions and complexities of a crumbling 20 year defacto relationship between two outwardly successful but deeply traumatised adults. Whatever the differences plot wise, they've both had the same result on me. My restless fingers have given my iPhone and iPad a rest as they concentrate on my Kindle in the race to reach the final page of each.
Unfortunately, Harrison passed away earlier this year and 'The Silent Wife' was her only work of fiction, taking about a decade to complete. Her career began with editing and performance art. I was surprised to read in her biography that Harrison wasn't a psychologist because the prose of 'The Silent Wife' is littered with eloquent references to the schools of psychological thought and the principles of counselling as well as astute analyses of the psyches of the novel's characters.
The novel is told in chapters that alternate between the points of view of 'Her' (Jodi, a psychotherapist) and 'Him' (Todd, a successful property developer with a lifestyle to match). The couple have been living as defactos for 20 years. Theirs is a life of casual luxury. They have all the material trappings of wealth at their disposal but it seems that they're only going through the motions with each other.
Jodi loves the work life balance Todd's wealth has afforded her but is her outward 'strength' and composure a coping mechanism for some kind of past trauma that she's not been able to face. Todd managed to survive a childhood at the hands of an alcoholic father and submissive mother. Though he loves Jodi, he in unable to remain faithful to her and as the novel unfolds, it is discovered that he has fathered a child to the daughter of one of his best friends.
In the wake of this revelation, Jodi and Todd's comfortable life together goes into free fall. Todd cuts the purse strings to the life he provided for Jodi while Jodi investigates alternative' avenues by which to exact revenge on Todd.
Good books. Their easing the pain of not being able to watch The Bachelor Australia live on free to air...
Have a great weekend!