By Meg Wolitzer
(Scribner, Paperback, 9780743456661, 224pp.)
Publication Date: April 6, 2004
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
The moment Joan Castleman decides to leave her husband, they are thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean on a flight to Helsinki. Joan's husband, Joseph, is one of America's preeminent novelists, about to receive a prestigious international award, and Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, has finally decided to stop. From this gripping opening, Meg Wolitzer flashes back to 1950s Smith College and Greenwich Village and follows the course of the marriage that has brought the couple to this breaking point -- one that results in a shocking revelation.
With her skillful storytelling and pitch-perfect observations, Wolitzer has crafted a wise and candid look at the choices all men and women make -- in marriage, work, and life.
Meg Wolitzer's novels include Sleepwalking; This Is Your Life; Surrender, Dorothy; and The Wife. She lives in New York City.
Allison Pearson Meg Wolitzer is so smart and funny she should be bottled and sold over the counter. The Wife is a complex, compelling portrait of a marriage that raises painful issues, even as it has you howling with recognition. Why does the better half feel she has to protect the lesser half from failure and disappointment? What exactly is the nature of the transaction between men and women -- and who picks up the check? The Wife picks up some of the hard questions with the lightest, most glittering of touches.
Adam Gopnik An astonishingly dry, funny, and gripping account of two writers trapped for life in an ever-more bizarre marriage. Every detail she evokes about an era in American literary life, from college campuses to writer's parties, is persuasive, hilarious, and even frightening, while the indignation she registers about her heroine's predicaments is lightened and even liberated by her perfect comic timing.
Lorrie Moore A triumph of tone and observation, The Wife is a blithe, brilliant take on sexual politics and literary vanity (as well as sexual vanity and literary politics). It is the most engaging, funny, and satisfying novel the witty Meg Wolitzer has yet written.
Susan Isaacs The wife of The Wife is a brilliantly conceived character, smart and foolish, tough-minded and weak-willed, witty and profoundly sad. And Meg Wolitzer's observations about gender and creativity: They are not only pointed, but penetrating. She has written some fine novels, but this is her best yet!
Katha Pollitt How does Meg Wolitzer do it? Write those witty, deft, hilarious sentences that add up to so much tragic understanding of life? The Wife is a funny, sad, beautiful novel. Unforgettable.
Stacy Schiff Unflinching and acute, The Wife packs a ferocious punch. And that is before Wolitzer's stunning twist of an ending.
Kurt Andersen Funny, smart, sad, gripping, and utterly surprising. Meg Wolitzer's subjects are the yin and yang of love and hate, and the various strange and shadowy transactions at the heart of a marriage -- specifically a marriage between members of that cohort too young to snuggle easily into the certainties of the Greatest Generation and too old to catch feminism's wave.