The Wife: A Novel (Paperback)

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The Wife: A Novel By Meg Wolitzer Cover Image

The Wife: A Novel (Paperback)


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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.
Meg Wolitzer’s novels include The Female Persuasion; Sleepwalking; This Is Your Life; Surrender, Dorothy; and The Position. She lives in New York City.
Product Details ISBN: 9780743456661
ISBN-10: 0743456661
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: April 13th, 2004
Pages: 224
Language: English
Praise for The Wife
“Just a few paragraphs into Meg Wolitzer's new novel, The Wife, I could tell this was going to be a book I'd be recommending to all those people, everyone from my close friends to my dermatologist, who routinely, but thirstily ask, ‘Have you read anything good lately?’ ”—Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air, NPR

“There is an almighty twist that I still think about on a weekly basis. No one writes about artistic ambition like Wolitzer, and as The Wife will remind you forever, no partnership—domestic or otherwise—is ever as what it seems.” —Delia Cai, Vanity Fair

“To say that The Wife is Wolitzer's most ambitious novel to date is an understatement. This important book introduces another side of a writer we thought we knew: Never before has she written so feverishly, so courageously. It almost becomes possible to imagine a female Philip Roth: The keep intelligence, rage, neurosis and humor are certainly equal to his, but this is not to say the book is derivative. Hers is a wholly original voice.”  —The Washington Post

“Meg Wolitzer has ripened into a chanteuse of a writer, a Dietrich of fiction; her smoky humor, her languid look at life, her breathless sentences are all let loose a little more than usual in The Wife?.Wolitzer's world is John Updike's world, but her writing is at once grittier and bigger. It's hard to tell how old she is because she writes with so little bitterness. I hope that The Wife might appeal to both men and women. It is as much about the male psyche as it is about the woman's.” Los Angeles Times

“Here are three words that land with a thunk: 'gender,' 'writing,' and 'identity.' Yet in The Wife, Meg Wolitzer has fashioned a light-stepping, streamlined novel from just these dolorous, bitter-sounding themes. Maybe that's because she's set them all smoldering: rage might be the signature emotion of the powerless, but in Wolitzer's hands, rage is also very funny. . . . Wolitzer deploys a calm, seamless humor not found in her previous novels. The jokes don't barge in and tap us on the shoulder. Instead, they gradually accumulate, creating a rueful, sardonic atmosphere. . . . The book represents a real step forward for Wolitzer, and its success lies in its reticence. . . . if The Wife is a puzzle and an entertainment, it's also a near heartbreaking document of feminist realpolitik.” The New York Times Book Review

“Wolitzer expertly constructs this lopsided relationship into an eviscerating and acerbically funny novel. . . . Wolitzer keeps us guessing right up until the gut-wrenching twist of a finale.”  Entertainment Weekly

“There are women in New York City who would kill to be Joan Castleman, the narrator of Wolitzer's frothy new comic novel. . . . [Wolitzer] paints an urbane picture of the book world of the '50s and '60s, when male writers would put down their pens and use their fists. Her hilarious gripes about marriage make this tale a pleasure best indulged in away from your better half.”  —People

“The Wife isn't just women's lit with feminist issues. Deft and passionate, it raises questions about misguided aims and the deals we make with ourselves and others to reach them.” Newsday

“Meg Wolitzer's sixth novel, The Wife, may be her boldest yet -- an exploration of the passionate highs and divorce-threatening lows of Joan and Joe Castleman's forty-year marriage, delivered with signature wit, warmth, and a wise woman's eye view.” Elle

“. . . a delicious read. . . . Philip Roth and John Updike have written tales like this, only we never hear the wife's perspective. Wolitzer creates just the right voice for her overlooked heroine. She is at once witty and angry, bitter and tearful. . . . it is [Wolitzer's] understanding of marriage that makes this tale such a delicious pleasure, to be indulged away from one's spouse.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

“The Wife speeds along, glittering all the way, equal parts Jane Austen and Fran Lebowitz: epigrammatic, perceptive, ironic, smart and ringing with truth. . . . [It] crackles with such intensity that it's hard to put down even for a few hours . . . [Wolitzer] grabs hold of that brass ring of universal experience and takes us all along for the carousel ride.” The Buffalo News

“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.” —Lorrie Moore

“Meg Wolitzer's sixth novel is her best--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. The Wife is a milestone in the career of one of her generation's truest novelists.” —Adam Gopnik

“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!” —Susan Isaacs

“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.” —Allison Pearson

“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.” —Kurt Andersen

 “A rollicking, perfectly pitched triumph...Wolitzer's talent for comedy of manners reaches a heady high.” Los Angeles Times