The Pilot's Wife Paperback – 18 Nov 1999
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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
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
The novel structure is reasonably conventional. The story is told from the the Wife's (Kathryn) point of view. A straight forward chronological structure is interspersed with flashbacks to events in the marriage. The main characters are few but interestingly drawn. Kathryn in particular is consistently represented as being able to perceive beyond the immediate and obvious. Her slighthly awkward daughter Mattie seemed familiar and Julia the grandmother was convincing. Some of the motivations of Jack seemed a bit doubtful however. The development of the understanding between Kathryn and the union rep, Robert is particularly well done. Anita Shreve writes very skilfully, cleverly linking subchapters without being too obvious and she uses language well e.g. The Irishman's description of the plane crash. I would have liked her to have used more than just one voice though. Telling the story more from other viewpoints would have been interesting e.g. Mattie's reaction to her Mother and Robert. Could a little more humour be inserted as well? The scene in the pub is funny and a welcome change of mood. I'll definitely read some more of this author's work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This thriller is a steady but suspenseful burner that relates on a happily married woman, Kathryn stricken after her pilot husband Jack dies in a plane crash just off the coast of... Read morePublished 9 months ago by BookRecycler
Brilliantly written - draws the reader right into a world that is turned upside down as events unfold and more is learned about a husband with many secretsPublished 10 months ago by J. Playle
pathetic - same characters as all her books - give me Donna Tartt anydayPublished 10 months ago by Sony User