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The Pilot's Wife [Paperback]

Anita Shreve
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

18 Nov 1999

Who can guess what a woman will do when the unthinkable becomes her reality? From the bestselling author of THE WEIGHT OF WATER, this enormously gripping and powerfully wrought novel asks the questions we all have about ourselves and definitively places Anita Shreve among the ranks of the best novelists writing today.

Being married to a pilot has taught Kathryn Lyons to be ready for emergencies, but nothing has prepared her for the late-night knock on her door and the news of her husband's fatal crash. As Kathryn struggles through her grief, she is forced to confront disturbing rumours about the man she loved and the life that she took for granted. Torn between her impulse to protect her husband's memory and her desire to know the truth, Kathryn sets off to find out if she ever really knew the man who was her husband. In her determination to test the truth of her marriage, she faces shocking revelations about the secrets a man can keep and the actions a woman is willing to take.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (18 Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349110859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349110851
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

With five novels to her credit, including the acclaimed The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve now offers a skilfully crafted exploration of the long reach of tragedy in The Pilot's Wife. News of Jack Lyons's fatal crash sends his wife into shock and emotional numbness:
Kathryn wished she could manage a coma. Instead, it seemed that quite the opposite had happened: She felt herself to be inside of a private weather system, one in which she was continuously tossed and buffeted by bits of news and information, sometimes chilled by thoughts of what lay immediately ahead, thawed by the kindness of others ... frequently drenched by memories that seemed to have no regard for circumstance or place, and then subjected to the nearly intolerable heat of reporters, photographers and curious onlookers. It was a weather system with no logic, she had decided, no pattern, no progression, no form.

The situation becomes even more dire when the plane's black box is recovered, pinning responsibility for the crash on Jack. In an attempt to clear his name, Kathryn searches for any and all clues to the hours before the flight. Yet each discovery forces her to realise that she didn't know her husband of 16 years at all. Shreve's complex and highly convincing treatment of Kathryn's dilemma, coupled with intriguing minor characters and an expertly paced plot, makes The Pilot's Wife really take off. --James Barry

Review

An excellent novel about the ultimate unknowability of those closest to us. (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Compellingly told, brilliantly observed, lyrically written and when you get to the last page you simply want to run out and buy everything she's ever written. (SUNDAY INDEPENDENT)

Anita Shreve is an acute observer of personal relationships. (TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT)

With five novels to her credit, including the acclaimed The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve now offers a skilfully crafted exploration of the long reach of tragedy in The Pilot's Wife. News of Jack Lyons's fatal crash sends his wife into shock and emotiona (The situation becomes even more dire when the plane's black box is recovered, pinning responsibility for the crash on Jack. In an attempt to clear his name, Kathryn searches for any and all clues to the hours before the flight. Yet each discovery forces h)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MOSAIC OF AN EMOTIONAL LANDSCAPE... 20 Sep 2001
By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is a beautifully written novel about a happily married woman, Kathryn Lyons, whose husband, Jack, is an airlines pilot. They have a teen age daughter named Mattie. They live in Kathryn's childhood home in Ely, New Hampshire. For sixteen years, life has been good. Then her husband goes down with his plane, just ten miles off the coast of Ireland, and ever so slowly the very fabric of their life together unravels.
The media frenzy, surrounding the explosion of the plane that her husband was piloting, brings to light the inescapable fact that her husband had been, unbeknownst to her, leading a double life, a life that had not included her or their daughter, but had, most emphatically, excluded them. This is a story of Kathryn's navigation of the emotional roller coaster that was to become her life, as she is thrust into a maelstrom of grief and disbelief, struggling to reconcile her memory of the man she thought she knew, with the reality of who he now appeared to have been.
This is a remarkable book, written in clean, spare prose that underscores some of the very emotion laden issues with which it grapples. At times infinitely sad and poignant, it is a story of betrayal and splintered memories. It is a very absorbing, skillfully told tale of adultery that will hold the reader in its thrall.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High standard, as usual 22 Sep 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I've read several of Anita Shreve's novels and they have all been superb, this one being no exception. The story centres upon Kathryn and Mattie, the wife and daughter of Jack, an airline pilot whose plane crashes over the sea. The author deals empathetically with Kathryn and Mattie's shock and subsequent coming-to-terms with the dreadful reality of the situation. However, Kathryn is to discover that her husband was not all that he seemed to be and that he had been leading a double life - a life that he may have been planning to leave Kathryn for. As the questions are asked and the Press descend, Kathryn looks back upon her marriage and is forced to make some honest admissions. Robert, sent from her husband's airline, is there to help Kathryn through the worst of the times, but is he too keeping secrets from her? Anita Shreve writes with such simplicity and yet so much understated intrigue, that she kept me reading from the very first page. Her attention to detail (often seeming so insignificant to the story) often had me thinking out loud, "That's so true!". As with all the author's novels, you have to read on to discover whether there will be a happy ending. Superb!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading but beautifully written 9 Jan 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read this book whilst on holiday (fortunately not close to boarding an aeroplane!) and found it easy escapist reading. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys novels about relationships and who likes a good twist to a tale.
I was particularly impressed by the author's honest and believable portrayal of grief and its various characteristic stages. The plot, although perhaps a little far fetched, was engaging and held my interest to the end.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Did I miss something? 23 Oct 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I really only picked up this book as there was an 'Oprah' sticker on the front of it. I waited 240 pages to find out what I had suspected all along. What is written in the first three quarters of the book could have been said in one Chapter. There was just no storyline, bar the constant grieving which I had really had enough of after page 27. Enough already!!! The ridiculous descriptions of Northern Ireland at the end turned me off completely. It's a bit insulting to a reader to skim over such detail and expect the reader not to notice...ahem...we do notice? I could not feel anything for the charachters, especially the strategically placed saviour who appears and disappears, as if to 'fit' into the storyline (of which there is little). Sketchy charachters with little depth, no story, rushed ending looked like she was in a hurry to 'tie it all up'. It certainly tied me up. I shall not be reading another. Most disappointed as I genuinly wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I had only previously read one Anita Shreve novel - The Weight of Water - but I thought this book was fantastic. Anita Shreve writes beautifully and I was gripped from the first chapter of this novel. The action is actually quite slow, certainly in the first half of the book as Kathryn gradually discovers the evidence which unearths Jack's secret but there isn't a time when the book becomes even slightly boring.
The only thing that I was disappointed with was, ultimately, the involvement of the troubles in Northern Ireland which I found quite cliched, particularly coming from an American author. However, I wouldn't say that it makes the book any worse as a whole.
I think the previous reviewer, saying that this is 'male-bashing' and 'full of venom', is being incredibly harsh. Obviously, the theme of the book is betrayal, in a BIG way, and whether it is ever possible to truly know someone, no matter how close you think you may be. The story is excellent and has great depth in the relationships between the characters. It would make a great film.
I am about to start 'Eden Close' now and am looking forward to it immensely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read but unsatisfactory 13 Dec 2009
By S. B. Kelly VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Kathryn is a well-realised character and the descriptions of the grief that grips her when he learns of her husband's death are powerful and convincing.

Jack, necessarily seen only in flashback, is something of a cipher, though, and I never had a sense of him and Kathryn as a living, breathing couple. His secrets manage to be simultaneously both banal and ludicrous.

It's an easy read and I happily turned the pages but it's lightweight and the ending is too obvious.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense and emotional but could have been more so - 3.5-4*
An intense novel about a wife coping with shock, grief and scrutiny after her pilot husband, crew and passengers died during a transatlantic flight. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J Hutch
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book
first book read by this author, I am now totally hooked. Good story line not flimsy but light enough to read quickly, lent it to a friend then got it back and re-read
Published 2 months ago by Ms I.
5.0 out of 5 stars The pilots wife
Book the book as part of a reading book.
Kept me turning the pages to the end
Thoroughly recommend it
Published 2 months ago by hilary bennett
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pilot's Wife.
The Pilot's Wife. Enjoyed the story and was well written. My daughter also read it and couldn't put it down
Published 8 months ago by Beryl Ann Fay
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Except the book deals with big themes, death, betrayal, criminal activity, but somehow it's mono tonic and a little too comfortable in it's tone. Read more
Published 12 months ago by KJP
3.0 out of 5 stars Book Group Choice
An OK read but a very predictable story but an easy holiday read. Not her best peice of work. Baz
Published 14 months ago by baz
5.0 out of 5 stars could not put it down
This was unput downable i loved this book. As i enjoyed pilot's wife so much i brought Body surfing by Anita Shreve and couldnt get into it so i gave up reading Body Surfing. Read more
Published 16 months ago by ireadnovels
3.0 out of 5 stars Read to recover from 50 shades and Tenderness of Wolves
I had not read any of Anita's books before. The ingredients all right and the book well mixed and cooked. Nice to have a steady read after two low scoring books. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Alexander Kreator
5.0 out of 5 stars She WAS the pilot's wife
This excrutiatingly poignant novel has the same existentialist theme as Joanna Trollope's "The Rector's Wife" but is on a much loftier literary level. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jane Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars Holiday Book
Started to read this whilst I was in New York. You can sit in the park and they have loads of books you can borrow whilst sat there. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mrs. Yvonne K. Savery
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