Now a major motion picture starring Glenn Close in her Golden Globe–winning role!
One of bestselling author Meg Wolitzer’s most beloved books—an “acerbically funny” (Entertainment Weekly) and “intelligent…portrait of deception” (The New York Times).
The Wife is the story of the long and stormy marriage between a world-famous novelist, Joe Castleman, and his wife Joan, and the secret they’ve kept for decades. The novel opens just as Joe is about to receive a prestigious international award, The Helsinki Prize, to honor his career as one of America’s preeminent novelists. Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, finally decides to stop.
Important and ambitious, The Wife is a sharp-eyed and compulsively readable story about a woman forced to confront the sacrifices she’s made in order to achieve the life she thought she wanted. “A rollicking, perfectly pitched triumph…Wolitzer’s talent for comedy of manners reaches a heady high” (Los Angeles Times), in this wise and candid look at the choices all men and women make—in marriage, work, and life.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Meg Wolitzer is peerless in her examination of how marriages work—and The Wife is one of her funniest and most fearless novels. En route to a ceremony for a prestigious literary prize, 64-year-old Joan Castleman takes stock of her withering, emotionally abusive marriage to a superstar novelist with a taste for younger women. Wolitzer’s heroine ponders whether she should reveal the secret that would ruin Joe’s reputation; her mounting anger and frustration take the shape of deadly sardonic arrows that never miss their targets. Don’t miss Glenn Close’s amazing performance as Joan in the movie adaptation.
A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of exceptional importance that hasn't received a starred or boxed review.THE WIFEMeg Wolitzer. Scribner, $23 (224p) Wolitzer (Sleepwalking) opens her latest tale in the first-class cabin of an airplane. Joan, a still-striking 64-year-old woman, observes her husband, the "short, wound-up, slack-bellied" famous novelist Joe Castleman, as he lolls in his seat and accepts the treats and attention offered him by the flight attendants. The couple are on their way to Finland, where Joe will receive the fictional Helsinki Prize, not quite as prestigious as the Nobel, but worth a small fortune the crown jewel in a spectacular career. Yet as the once blonde Smith College co-ed looks over at the once handsome creative writing teacher who seduced her, she realizes that she must end this marriage. The reader is prepared for a tale of witty disillusionment. Here is Joan on the literary fame game: "You might even envy us him for all the power vacuum-packed within his bulky, shopworn body, and me for my twenty-four-hour-access to it, as though a famous and brilliant writer-husband is a convenience store for his wife, a place she can dip into anytime for a Big Gulp of astonishing intellect and wit and excitement." As the narrative flows from the glamorous present back to the past, tracing the bohemian Greenwich Village beginnings of the couple's relationship and Joe's skyrocketing success and compulsive philandering, an almost subliminal psychological horror tale begins to unfold. Wolitzer delicately chips away at this seemingly confident and detached narrator and her swaggering "genius" husband, inserting a sly clue here and there, until the extent of Joan's sacrifice is made clear. There is no cheap, gratifying Hollywood ending to make it all better. Instead, Wolitzer's crisp pacing and dry wit carry us headlong into a devastating message about the price of love and fame. If it's a story we've heard before, the tale is as resonant as ever in Wolitzer's hands.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Loved the writing
I loved the author’s writing style and wit. The wife is very identifiable. Good story. I will see the movie soon too.
I found this book predictable and a bit high drama.
While I could relate to the wife’s plight, I didn’t believe the turnaround at the end.
Superb writing and a compelling story. This is well worth your time to read.