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A complex, compelling portrait of a marriage that raises painful issues, even as it has you howling with recognition. 'The Wife picks up some of the hard questions with the lightest, most glittering or touches' - Allison Pearson, author of I Don't Know How She Does It.

'It’s funny, and it’s brilliant, and I press it on everyone I know’ Rachel Cooke, BBC Radio 4, A Good Read


A husband.
A wife.
A secret.

Joe and Joan Castleman are on route to Helsinki, Joe is thinking about the prestigious literary prize he will receive and Joan is plotting how to leave him. For too long Joan has played the role of supportive wife, turning a blind eye to his misdemeanours, subjugating her own talents and quietly being the keystone of his success.

The Wife is an acerbic and astonishing take on a marriage from its public face to the private world behind closed doors. Wolitzer has masterfully created an expose of lives lived in partnership and the truth that behind the compromises, dedication and promise inherent in marriage there so often lies a secret...

Reviews

Hilarious and touching

Erica Wagner, The Times

With a great lightness of touch, Wolitzer's novel satirises American literary circles of the Seventies and Eighties and traces the generation of wives who poured their own creative energies into "stoking the fires" of their husbands' reputations

Emma Hagestadt, Independent

Already a classic... and I have no idea why its author remains so less well known than her US compatriots, Alison Lurie and Lorrie Moore

Observer

A triumph of tone and observation, The Wife is a blithe, brilliant take on sexual politics

Lorrie Moore

Meg Wolitzer is so funny and clever she should be bottled and sold as tonic

Allison Pearson

It’s funny, and it’s brilliant, and I press it on everyone I know

Rachel Cooke, BBC Radio 4, A Good Read

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781784709884

    July 26, 2018

    Vintage

    RRP $26.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • Paperback

    9780099478195

    October 1, 2004

    Vintage

    RRP $26.99

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook

    9781448180516

    January 22, 2015

    Vintage Digital

    224 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

Extract

Chapter One

The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought, enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean, hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility. Just like our marriage, I could have said, but why ruin everything right now? Here we were in first-class splendor, tentatively separated from anxiety; there was no turbulence and the sky was bright, and somewhere among us, possibly, sat an air marshal in dull traveler's disguise, perhaps picking at a little dish of oily nuts or captivated by the zombie prose of the in-flight magazine. Drinks had already been served before takeoff, and we were both frankly bombed, our mouths half open, our heads tipped back. Women in uniform carried baskets up and down the aisles like a sexualized fleet of Red Riding Hoods.

"Will you have some cookies, Mr. Castleman?" a brunette asked him, leaning over with a pair of tongs, and as her breasts slid forward and then withdrew, I could see the ancient mecha­nism of arousal start to whir like a knife sharpener inside him, a sight I've witnessed thousands of times over all these decades. "Mrs. Castleman?" the woman asked me then, in afterthought, but I declined. I didn't want her cookies, or anything else.

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Also by Meg Wolitzer

The Female Persuasion
The Interestings
The Uncoupling
The Ten-Year Nap
The Position

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