Joan Castleman is on an airplane accompanying her husband, writer Joseph Castleman, to Helsinki, Finland where he is being honored with the Helsinki Prize in Literature, one step down from the Nobel Prize for Literature, which he knows that he will not get. Over the next four days, Joan revisits their courtship a ...more
I'm in love so far, complete love, like a Philip Roth novel if Philip Roth weren't so flawed and frustrating. Bad analogy perhaps but she has the same comfort with describing male0-female interactions, a biting sense of humor, a lack of shame regarding human wea ...more
What an odd, despondent little book. This was the first book I have read by Wolitzer and I was struck by her unique writing style - very candid and frank, yet at the same time ornate and flowery. Sounds like an oxymoron, I know, but it is the best way I can describe it. Her distinctive writing style is enough to make me want to pick up another book by her. This particular story, however, became slow somewhere on the back 1/2, and the big "reveal" at the ending was obvious t ...more
She's got fresh, beautiful ways of looking at things that are so perfect and sharp and spot-on that it leaves you wondering why you hadn't come to t ...more
I'm seeing a lot of discussion about unlikable characters (I agree) and the author not giving the married partners a chance to demonstrate what made the marriage fail in the way of dialogue and daily interactions (also true).
But to those who say that Joan was a spoiled, stay-at-home mother who made the choice to give up her career, I say that's not fair.
Women didn't have the same opportunit ...more
If you've never read a novel by Meg Wolitzer, you're in for a treat, especially if you've chosen to read The Wife.
As the wife of a successful writer, Joan Castleman makes the decision to leave her husband while in the midst of a flight to Helsinki to attend an award ceremony on his behalf. As Wolitzer switches between past and present, thus unfolds the story of the Castleman's relationship spanning forty years; which according to ...more
Not to be flippant. I was really engaged and think Wolitzer is a tremendously thoughtful writer, word to word. It's just that I needed to believe that the Castleman novels that had received such accolades and moved the plot forward so many times actually existed and had been conceived by this great mind ...more
Of course, such a decision is never made at that very moment. A lot has gone into such a decision. And so the narrator takes us back with her through the history of the relationship between her and her husband. We find out that it began in the 1950's, when she was his c ...more
Despite being only 220 pages, the characters are complex and well-developed, the scenes are vivid, and the pace and plot felt very thoughtful. This was the first book by Wolitzer ...more
The story opens with Joann and Joe on a flight to Finland; Joann is contemplating her long years of marriage to Joe. Readers are given an intimate look into Joann's ...more
Intimate. If I had to describe Meg Wolitzer's The Wife in one word that's what it would be. Intimate not only in scope, focusing on Joan's struggles with her marriage, but in form as well, with the entire novel told entirely from her perspective in a kind of stream of consciousness. As a narrative tool, it succeeds, genuinely feeling like you're spending 200 or so pages inside Joan's head, experiencing Helsinki and the memories it conjures up right along with her.
Still, despite the intimacy of t...more
I picked it up at first and was very taken by the acerbic wit, but the bitterness that washed over me in droves from Joan's narrative was really heavy and depressing. I had a REALLY hard time with this one.
Usually what keeps me reading is I see myself in some of the characters, or at least I like them and can root for them.
I did see some of myself in Joan, but it wasn't something I liked.
The more I read, the more I realized the ...more
I enjoyed this book. Wolitzer’s first line hooked me and her writing kept me interested throughout. She captured the culture of the time periods from the 50s through the 60s and onward in a realistic way, including anti-Semitism exhibited by Joan’s mother.
The characters were believable, and I love the humor, especially the scene with the walnut projectile. Due to the patriarchal climate in which the character, Joan, was born and raised, the journey she makes through h ...more
From the outset, Wolit ...more