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Novel About My Wife (2008)

Tekijä: Emily Perkins

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
23113119,107 (3.29)44
If I could build her again using words, I would- starting at her long, painted feet and working up, meticulously shading in every cell and gap and space for breath until her pulse just couldn't help but kick back in to life. Her hip bones, her red knuckles, the soft skin of her thighs, her fine crackle of hair. When Tom and Ann move from their tiny Camden flat into a large semi-derelict house in Hackney, it feels like the start of proper adulthood, though both are well into their thirties. Ann's room at St Bartholomew's hospital, coated in plaster-dust from the medical casts she moulds all day is not quite what she had imagined when she was a sassy student at the Slade, while Tom's scriptwriting career seems to have stalled while he tinkers with endless drafts of his vampire movie. But, still deeply in love with his beautiful wife, with a baby on the way and a place of their own, it feels to Tom as though life is on the up. If they sometimes have to rely on credit cards for their weekly shop, well, plenty of aspirational London couples are doing the same. Ann is galvanised by her pregnancy- her long hair loose, her elegant body lenta new luscious fullness, she spends hours cleaning and reorganising the house, and sits up all night talking with a new feverish passion about sculpture. But there is a darker side to this new fervour, somehow linked with her conviction that someone is lingering threateningly around their new home. Someone who - Tom soon realises - may not exist at all. Dark, sensuous and utterly compelling, Novel About my Wife is a sexy, chilling novel about the secrets that lie at the heart of every marriage.… (lisätietoja)
  1. 00
    Two Lives: Reading Turgenev and My House in Umbria (tekijä: William Trevor) (fountainoverflows)
    fountainoverflows: My House in Umbria shares with Novel about My Wife a highly unreliable narrator.
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englanti (12)  hollanti (1)  Kaikki kielet (13)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 13) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This was a rather strange book. First of all, there are no chapters. About the only breaks are excerpts from a diary about a trip to Fiji.

Secondly, it's never clear if this diary is by Anne (the wife) or by Tom (the husband). Fiji is where they got married, on the spur of the moment while Tom was supposed to be working on a script for an Australian director, Haliburton. The bulk of the book is by Tom, written after Anne died. He tells the story of their last year together while Anne was pregnant. While it is obvious Anne died until the very end the cause of her death is not apparent.

Thirdly, even when you know the cause of her death (by suicide) it is not clear what her exact impetus was. It seems to be tied to Haliburton because he knew of her (or maybe knew her) when Anne was growing up in Sydney. Or maybe Anne is just mentally ill (I don't mean to minimize mental illness by that comment just indicate that the cause of suicide often is mental illness) because she sees insects and a dangerous man when no-one else does. Possibly she was suffering from post-partum depression or acid flashbacks. There is just no neat explanation of her death. Maybe that was the point but if so, I think it could have been handled better.

I don't think that Emily Perkins was particularly convincing writing as a man. Unlike Clara Callan which was written by Richard Wright, I kept finding that Tom's actions seemed bizarre. He just stands beside a gate while a gang of boys swarm over it and let them mug him. I don't know of many men who wouldn't either take off or fight back in that situation. He agonizes about not having any money and then goes on a holiday to Cornwall and commits a number of other frivolous expenses. I just never really believed Tom and since virtually all of the book is in his voice that leaves a big hole. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 9, 2017 |
The loose ends in this book are not all gathered up. We are left wondering about what drove Ann, the wife. The London scene as background is a materialistic, maddening round of people in a rush and on the make, which I find unattractive as a setting. Ann's delusions mount, yet her gormless husband is too thick to act as we would expect him to. No one in the book seems intuitively bright.
The tourist world of Fiji is an apt location for the sinister recollections Ann has in a sequence of experiences that prefigure the story.
  ivanfranko | Jun 9, 2016 |
Spannend boek, maar niet alle vragen zijn beantwoord na het omslaan van de laatste pagina. Wát is er nu precies met Ann gebeurd? Wat speelde Fiji voor een rol?
De schrijfstijl vind ik heel goed; de schrijfster weet goed de spanning vast te houden en er zijn ook heel grappige passages. Je kunt je dan een heel goed beeld vormen van de situaties waar Tom, de verteller van het verhaal, in verzeild raakt (hij is niet de meest sterke, zelfverzekerde man). ( )
  Cromboek | May 16, 2015 |
A friend lent me this book and I thought it was wierd - and not in a good way ! Too unbelievable and a bit simple I thought , psycho wife sets up her own fake death to set her husband up ! and the ending is terrible! ( )
  Suzannie1 | Jan 8, 2013 |
Emily Perkins' Novel About My Wife is summed up in its title. Written from Tom’s perspective, this is a good study of a relationship and grief. From the first sentence invoking all of Tom's love it is clear that Ann is dead, with the story charting their life together.

The story is set, we find out at the end, only a few months after Ann’s death therefore the story is told through the lens of Tom’s grief and what has been lost, rather than from an appreciation of what he was lucky to have had. This is understandable, but it felt overwhelmingly sad, with the only bright spot being Arlo’s birth. As we know up front that Ann dies there is also a pervading sense of doom, and when mental illness begins to play a role in the story this becomes quite a dark book. This is despite Tom and Ann supposedly having a wonderful relationship, but there was little demonstrating this, just Tom’s repeated insistence. Perhaps this was Tom choosing to remember his marriage that way.

Neither Tom nor Ann are particularly sympathetic characters, I think Ann could have been but we only get Tom’s perspective of her. As Tom’s the narrator for the whole book, I found it very difficult to invest in either character or their relationship, and I couldn’t relate to many of their experiences.

There are also a number of major questions left answered about Ann - what exactly happened to her before she left Australia, what happened in Fiji, and whether she was mentally unwell and if so, to what degree. I would have liked these questions resolved more clearly.

I finished Novel About My Wife because some answers were being provided, and I was curious to find out exactly what happened to Ann. But I found this an easy book to put down and was never fully engaged with the story. ( )
1 ääni SouthernKiwi | Oct 22, 2012 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 13) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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If I could build her again using words, I would: starting at her long painted feet and working up, shading in every cell and gap and space for breath until her pulse couldn't help but kick back into life.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

If I could build her again using words, I would- starting at her long, painted feet and working up, meticulously shading in every cell and gap and space for breath until her pulse just couldn't help but kick back in to life. Her hip bones, her red knuckles, the soft skin of her thighs, her fine crackle of hair. When Tom and Ann move from their tiny Camden flat into a large semi-derelict house in Hackney, it feels like the start of proper adulthood, though both are well into their thirties. Ann's room at St Bartholomew's hospital, coated in plaster-dust from the medical casts she moulds all day is not quite what she had imagined when she was a sassy student at the Slade, while Tom's scriptwriting career seems to have stalled while he tinkers with endless drafts of his vampire movie. But, still deeply in love with his beautiful wife, with a baby on the way and a place of their own, it feels to Tom as though life is on the up. If they sometimes have to rely on credit cards for their weekly shop, well, plenty of aspirational London couples are doing the same. Ann is galvanised by her pregnancy- her long hair loose, her elegant body lenta new luscious fullness, she spends hours cleaning and reorganising the house, and sits up all night talking with a new feverish passion about sculpture. But there is a darker side to this new fervour, somehow linked with her conviction that someone is lingering threateningly around their new home. Someone who - Tom soon realises - may not exist at all. Dark, sensuous and utterly compelling, Novel About my Wife is a sexy, chilling novel about the secrets that lie at the heart of every marriage.

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