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The Silent Wife Paperback – 21 Nov 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (21 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755399862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755399864
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (356 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A.S.A. Harrison is the author of four nonfiction books. The Silent Wife is her debut novel, and she was at work on a new psychological thriller when she died in 2013. Harrison was married to the visual artist John Massey and lived in Toronto.

Photography ©John Massey

Product Description


This perfectly pitched debut offers sharp insights into the grievances that accumulate over a long relationship, and the lengths to which a woman will go when her world collapses (SUNDAY TIMES)

Sharp, witty, dark as hell and totally engrossing... A worthy rival to Gone Girl in its psychological complexity and accomplishment (DAILY MAIL)

This will be the book everyone will be talking about by the end of summer, it will be the number one choice for book clubs and well-thumbed copies will be passed between friends and work colleagues with glowing recommendation... The term "must-read" is often bandied around and not always deservedly. The Silent Wife justifies the plaudit without question (SUNDAY EXPRESS)

The slow, murderous disintegration of a marriage is all too believable in A.S.A. Harrison's first - and final - novel... As the novel advances into treacherous territory, Harrison's elegant, incisive prose gets dirtier, more dangerous (OBSERVER)

The Silent Wife attracted much political publicity, but its author died a few weeks ago... The hype was largely justified. It is inevitably being compared with last year's mega-hit, Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl... The Silent Wife is psychologically more interesting (THE TIMES)

The Silent Wife is one of those books you hate to put down. Harrison writes well with a light touch, but her touch is devastating nonetheless... Profoundly disquieting (GUARDIAN.CO.UK)

After Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, novels about toxic marriages are suddenly in vogue. The Silent Wife is the classiest of the bunch... A smart psychological chiller (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

A hit... and you can see why (THE SUN)

Beautifully written and superbly paced, not to mention full of ingenious twists. Fans of Gone Girl will love it (SUNDAY MIRROR)

SUPERB... As a novel about the dark side of marriage and relationships, it's better than Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (SOPHIE HANNAH)

This summer's blockbuster novel (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Sharp, psychological and intricate, if you've ever wondered just how far you'd go if you had nothing left to lose, this will make you do a double-take (HARPER'S BAZAAR ONLINE)

Utterly believable, complex, and compelling (JOJO MOYES)

Beautifully written and deeply unsettling, this darkly funny examination of what happens when you've got nothing left to lose is also brilliantly addictive. It left me almost breathless as I raced towards the devastating finale (S.J. WATSON)

A deliciously wicked pleasure... A very clever, very funny comedy of manners spliced with a domestic thriller (KATE ATKINSON)

A terrific debut novel (VAL MCDERMID)

This is an utterly compelling story, gorgeously written and with so many shocks and surprises... I raced through it. My highest recommendation (TESS GERRITSEN)

The characterization is exceptionally well done, the writing stylish and mature... this is a very accomplished psychological thriller (S.J. BOLTON)

Reminiscent of Gone Girl in that it's written in the alternating voices of the couple, it's every bit as addictive. You'll be thinking about it for months to come (

If you enjoyed Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, you'll love this unsettling psychological thriller (SUN ON SUNDAY)

A gripping psychological thriller (DAILY EXPRESS)

Book Description

The collapse of a decades long relationship has deadly consequences in a novel perfect for readers of Sophie Hannah, Nicci French and Barbara Vine

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 26 July 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Well, the publisher's blurb describes this as `shocking and compelling' - I have to say that I was neither shocked nor compelled. The set-up is an interesting one: Jodi and Todd have been together for 20 years, they supposedly love each other but Todd is a serial philanderer and Jodi pretends not to notice. Then his latest affair with a girl young enough to be his daughter brings everything to a head.

The problem is very little actually happens. And what does is related in a very mannered and distancing style that grated with me. This is an extract from the first page: `At forty-five Jodi still sees herself as a young woman. She does not have her eye on the future but lives very much in the moment, keeping her focus on the everyday... she is deeply unaware that her life is now peaking, that her youthful resilience is reaching a final stage of disintegration'. The whole book is written in this style, drawing attention to an omniscient narrator who tells us everything that the characters are thinking and feeling, with hardly anything being dramatised or `shown' to us.

The writing is spare and elegant but it kept me at arm's distance from the characters - perhaps a good thing as they're both deeply unpleasant. Todd is portrayed as a leering, lecherous, Neanderthal, and Jodi is a psychotherapist who avoids treating genuinely ill or troubled people.

So I'm afraid I found this a slow, tedious and, ultimately, pointless read - 3-stars is generous but the technical aspects of the writing warrant it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER on 28 Jan 2014
Format: Paperback
Set in Chicago, Jodi and Todd have been common law partners for 20 years. Todd has been seeing women on the side on and off for many years but always remained by Jodi’s side – and Jodi’s known about it too. Then Todd goes too far and sleeps with his best friend’s 18 year old daughter Natasha and gets her pregnant. He decides to lose Jodi – and that’s when Jodi decides she’s not going to take it anymore.

I did not like this one at all. The characters were written in a way that I never really believed they were real people. Todd is cartoonishly portrayed at times while Jodi is simply a doormat until the plot requires her to be something else. Natasha is one-dimensional as the crazy woman going after Jodi. But more than that, I hated every single person in this book. A. S. A. Harrison’s unable to make anyone in this book interesting or likeable. Jodi is irritating as hell by being so passive and pathetic in accepting her partner’s indiscretions, content that he remains by her side, plying her with gifts while he fools around with younger women. Todd on the other hand is just a plain idiot, and the others, well, I couldn’t care less about them.

A big part of this problem is Harrison’s awkward writing style. The writing 101 rule “show, don’t tell” pertinently applies here as Harrison tells the reader about character qualities and story points without showing us. Everything about stoic, boring Jodi is told to us because she has no character. “Jodi is… Jodi was… She was…” and so on, while the narration is along the lines of “This is about to happen to her…”. It’s amateurish and embarrassing for a professional writer to put out such poorly written prose.
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59 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Liz Wilkins TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ok, so I both loved and hated this book in equal measure. The story, that of a marriage disintegrating slowly but surely and told from the point of view of both of the partners, is compelling indeed. However the more I read on, the more I realised that I had no sympathy for either of them. Frankly they deserved each other! Sometimes though, having a book peppered with completely unlikeable characters works - and in this case it did. Instead of rooting for one or the other, I just found myself fascinated by the psyche of both...and actually getting quite cross with the pair of them. Jodie is a doormat. Yes she is. She runs the home with super efficiency, puts up with her husband's philandering and generally just enables him in his quest to do exactly what he likes. Todd doesnt know what he wants. He wants Jodie at home doing her thing, but he also wants to have the freedom to stray. And for some unfathomable reason, for a long time it works for both of them. Until Todd meets a woman who knows what SHE wants and from there this half life that both Jodie and Todd have been leading is going to come to a head....

The beauty of this book is that I didnt really know where it was going to end up. Both the major players have huge emotional issues and are seemingly unable to form coherent thoughts on what it is they think should be happening. The breadth of misunderstanding between the pair of them is amazing. And yet, it seems realistic. Hearing from first one then the other, seeing each different event from their individual points of view, works extremely well. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive....that saying is oh so true here. Comparisons have been made to "Gone Girl". No. Sorry. Not sure where that came from, in my opinion it doesnt do either novel any good.
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