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Novel About My Wife

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  739 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
From one of Britain’s most exciting young writers comes the story of a couple’s emotional and complicated relationship … from the husband’s perspective. Novel About My Wife is narrated by Tom Stone as he searches through the mysteries his wife has left him with. The reader is left to discover what dark thing has come between him and his beloved partner.

Tom Stone is, as wel
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Bond Street Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,605)
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 Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛
Jun 17, 2016 Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛ by: Erica Mangin
& I'm blown away by Ms Perkins writing gift. Every detail of the Stone's life & the world around them. is minutely observed & I really felt like I was back in London.

It's not an easy read mind, in spite of this book's short length. It is completely bleak & depressing. As someone who has made unwise financial choices in their past I could sympathise with the young couple's plight although the level of spending with no real money (Ann's job must have been very well paid) was stagge
Apr 02, 2010 Anna rated it really liked it
This book is written in the first person from the perspective of Tom, who is trying to make sense of his wife's breakdown and death.

I liked:
- the writing...beautiful descriptions of characters and very convincing observations of everyday life and relationships
- the slow build up of suspense
- how thought-provoking it was...sure, there were LOTS of gaps, but it really got me thinking about mental illness, and how it can be triggered by life's events. Also 'safety'...much of the suspense came from
Jan 09, 2010 Ruzz rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009, 2010
I've seen many loving reviews of this book, and in fact grabbed it based on it winning book of the year or something of the sort from those clever literary bastards at McSweeny's or derivative of that pool.

It would fail to hit my top 30 books of 2009 list. I found the story convoluted, sweeping in abstractions and overtly suggesting without telling--which likely is why those eggers folks got all wet for it--none of which does anything to remove my irritation at an author trying to be clever, wi
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I had never come across the this remarkable author before. I loved the way Emily Perkins writes. For me I truly loved and enjoyed every minute of Novel About My Wife. I would definitely read more of Emily Perkin's novels. There definitely is tension that build up in this story. Tom Stone describes how madly in love he is with his wife by telling us in detail about her body and her Red fine crackle of hair. Tom a screen writer tells us how his Wife Ann dreamed about an accident on a train which c ...more
Jo Case
Mar 15, 2013 Jo Case rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel, nz-writer
Twelve years ago, aged twenty-five, New Zealand writer Emily Perkins was literature’s latest Next Big Thing. Her debut short story collection, Not Her Real Name, was glowingly reviewed in London, Australia and New Zealand. The stories were witty, moving interior snapshots of teenagers and early-twentysomethings moving clumsily into the opening straits of adulthood, shifting in and out of relationships and share houses. The book was followed by two novels (Leave Before You Go and The New Girl), n ...more
Jan 08, 2014 di rated it really liked it
Well, first impressions: damn the girl can write.

I knew this already. Emily Perkins tutored me in the sixth form. Ok, not actually (that would have been too cool) but through her work she most definitely did. My mum had been studying Not Her Real Name at the time (Perkin's debut--a collection of short stories). To my sixteen year old blank-slate-of-a-self, fresh off the bat from reading Go Ask Alice and those awful (truly awful) Flowers in the Attic books, Perkin's stories, her writing, was exac
Jun 09, 2009 Imogen rated it really liked it
This was weird. The prose was brutal and vicious and not very inviting- the guy narrating is a jerk, and he knows it, and he's constantly beating himself up for it, except that's never really at the fore because he's not telling a story about himself- he's telling a story about his wife. Duh.

The way it felt to read the uninviting prose reminded me a little bit of the time I asked Rach- who is from Australia- to recommend me an Australian author to read, and she said Tim Winton, so I read a book
Jul 09, 2009 Lee rated it really liked it
This book stayed with me a long time after I read fact, it was the type of story I instantly wanted to read again from the beginning to look for foreshadowing clues and see what I had innocently missed before I knew the final outcomes (I actually did re-read the first few chapters, and skim through a few scenes again after finishing). A good one to discuss and puzzle over...I also love when a female writer can channel a male narrative voice so successfully, without sounding heavy-handed ...more
Erica Mangin
Oct 03, 2014 Erica Mangin rated it really liked it
This is the second book by Emily Perkins I've read and it's cemented the fact that I love her writing style. She really knows how to set the mood and tone for a novel in order to build tension and evoke emotions in the reader. This was a very unique story that'll I'll be thinking about for days, possibly weeks and months, to come.
Joanne Keighery
Dec 07, 2015 Joanne Keighery rated it it was ok
This is the sort of book you need to discuss imnediately upon finishibg, like PTSD in book form. Wonderfully written but too open ended for me. What were all the flashbacks in Fiji about? i was waiting to read about the one incident that would explain the story. It was implied that Tom left Fiji and allowed himself to get fired because something terrible happened there. But what? Ann had a fever? That would imply a medical illness, not a psychiatric one. Why was Hallie important to yhis story? I ...more
Mar 09, 2011 Angela rated it liked it
Finished it yesterdy and am still dwelling on what happened to Ann, which is a recommendation in itself as the book has really stayed with me.
Unlike other some reviewers, I didn't mind Tom. He certainly wasn't a heroic character or anything like that, but an ordinary Everyman, full of insecurities and vanities, and I found it easy to relate to him. Ann seemed more distant and un-knowable, which was just how she was to Tom.
The novel's structure had me reading it pretty much in one sitting, and a
Mar 31, 2009 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Really 3.5 stars. Fantastically written; really nice, exquisite details about the nuances of interacting with people (a feeling like a hand shoving into your chest when you first enter into the home of a man you already dislike; the ease of talking about a mundane thing with a friend to avoid the real thing; and lots and lots of what's kinda creepy about love). It's very dark and while the pervasive feelings of fear and dread allow for a lot of these taut, precise observations, they are also a b ...more
Jennifer O'Connell
Apr 07, 2012 Jennifer O'Connell rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
This is a clever, dark, pacy and disturbing novel that kept me turning the pages, and ultimately left me slightly cold.

The problem may be that it is just a little too clever: Emily Perkins' determination to upend literary conventions (unreliable narrator for one thing; withholding the resolution for another) is a calculated risk that I'm not sure pays off.

The title is memorable but misleading: it's not really about the narrator (Tom's) wife, poor, hunted, manipulative, Ann, at all. Because at t
Feb 19, 2012 Lauren rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-again
Going by the blurb, I should have really liked this book. And it started out promising. But it devolved into a way too confusing story told from the perspective of an unlikeable narrator (not a unlikeable yet sympathetic narrator, just plain unlikeable). I'm still not even sure what happened, and the characters felt pretty flat for the most part. One of my biggest pet peeves is too much style and not enough substance, and that's the biggest issue here. Perkins has a distinctive style, but by adh ...more
Alumine Andrew
Aug 25, 2014 Alumine Andrew rated it really liked it
This book has sat by my bed for a few weeks. For some reason I was reluctant to read it but eventually it made it to the top of the pile. It's a strange narrative, a husband writing about his wife, which we are told early on, is dead.
He tells of their meeting and falling in love, his passion for her although he begins to understand that he doesn't really know her.
Anne seems a credible character until she is involved in a train accident and consequently describes a man she keeps seeing and is con
Jan 07, 2012 Angie rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was amazing. For a book with no chapters (just stream of consciousness) it was a really quick read. The language was poetic; heart-wrenching, funny, rude, sweet. Both main characters annoyed me, but I think this added to the realistic nature of the book. I couldn't understand why Tom just didn't go out and work in a bar or something. You know a book is good when you can't stop thinking about it after finishing it. It's also one of those books which would improve on a second r ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Stefanie rated it really liked it
A study of the terror in regular lives, in small moments, in nothing really happening, with a mysterious ending. We may never know other people, we willingly and unwillingly miss their details. Oh, Ann. With your long everything (feet, hands, legs, hair), you're an artist reformed and haunted. Oh, Tom. You're so often unlikeable, but I felt your pain so clearly and sadly. Sincerely in love with Ann, even though you presented no reasons for her to love you even half as much.
Oct 20, 2008 Alison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Compelling, well-written, and achingly sad. (I'm currently reading Nabokov's Timofey Pnin as a comic antidote to pull me out of the funk after reading this.) Written from the perspective of a man whose wife has died, you slowly learn the details leading to her death. Makes me wonder about the solidity of our relationships, and how well we know people in our lives. I want to read more by Perkins, but my public libraries carry hardly any of her books...
Aug 20, 2008 Merryn rated it it was amazing
This is a sad and slightly disturbing novel about a man's relationship with his wife and how it goes wrong. So beautifully written that it had me gripped right until the last word. I often skim detail but I read every word of this. Inspired now to read more of her writing.
Aug 27, 2008 Caroline rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - I really enjoy Emily Perkins' writing style. I found myself reading a page here and there just to be able to keep going with the story, and I thought about the characters when I wasn't reading. That's always a good sign!
Natasha Judd
May 04, 2008 Natasha Judd rated it it was amazing
Another beautifully written, poignant and painful novel by Emily Perkins. The characters, the London, and the growing sense of despair that she's captured here had me hooked from beginning to end.
Emily  Ford
Aug 17, 2010 Emily Ford rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: females, males,
Such an amzing book, had me riveted from beginning to end. Quite dark and with sinister twists, definitely worth a read. Emily Perkins is outstanding. (:
May 04, 2009 Crystal rated it it was amazing
i felt like i was going mad with her ...
Scott Orn
Aug 23, 2009 Scott Orn rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. Lot's of tension.
Jun 23, 2011 Simone rated it liked it
The book started well with a snappy first paragraph. Plus it was written in the first person; I like stories told by "I"; they let me get inside the protagonist's head.

I wasn't gripped - there were no all-nighters; no laying awake wondering what would happen next - but I liked it well enough. It was well-written, nicely described, interesting non-cliched characters.

The story centres around Ann, the thirty-something wife of the storyteller, Tom.

As the story progresses you find yourself wondering,
Jul 07, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novel about My Wife is a very interesting book. It reminded me a bit of Louis Nowra’s Ice in its treatment of a not-quite-reliable narrator posthumously explaining about his wife. Admittedly in Ice she’s not quite dead yet but she may as well be and the grief and irrational thinking about lost opportunities is the same. Novel about My Wife is more gothic, however, and for all its ambiguities, a more straightforward story.

Tom Stone’s wife is dead, and he is telling the story of their life togeth
Mar 23, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this, fantastic writing. At first I found the ending unsatisfying, as the big mystery (spoiler alert - stop now if you're going to read!) isn't solved. But of course the narrator, the husband, doesn't know what caused his wife's descent, so the reader isn't going to find out either. He speculates through his 'NAMW' pieces throughout the book. I went back at the end and reread these which clarified things a bit for me. Yes the main character was exasperating at times but was very c ...more
Maureen Crombie
Oct 31, 2010 Maureen Crombie rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lite
From one of New Zealand's most exciting young writers comes the story of a couple’s emotional and complicated relationship … from the husband’s perspective. Novel About My Wife is narrated by Tom Stone as he searches through the mysteries his wife has left him with. The reader is left to discover what dark thing has come between him and his beloved partner.

Tom Stone is, as well as being cheerfully neurotic, madly in love with his wife Ann, an Australian in self-imposed exile in London. Pushing f
Aug 15, 2012 Linzfromnz rated it it was ok
This book drove me crazy. We knew that Tom's wife Anne died from the very start and I kept listening (audio book) to see how she died, but even now having finished it I feel I don't really know what happened.

In the scene where he came home just before she died, she thinks the 'man' is in the house again and she seems to have cut off all her hair, but that was quite vague and no futher reference made to it. Then he says she never regained consciousness before she died and something about a broke
Steve lovell
Sep 15, 2011 Steve lovell rated it really liked it
A female author writing in a male’s voice, and of course a manly male uses the ‘f’ word liberally in his spoken prose – and initially this to me, perhaps as an unmanly male, grated. Perhaps this was because it came from the hand of a member of the fairer sex. At an early stage it led me to consider whether or not I’d continue with Emily Perkins’ novel!
I’m pleased I did. Either the f-bombs became less, or I became more immune to them, as I became attached to caustic, sneering Tom and his Aussie w
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writer's nationality 2 25 Sep 06, 2008 06:51AM  
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Emily Perkins is a writer of contemporary fiction, and the success of her first collection of stories, not her real name and other stories, established her early on as an important writer of her generation. Perkins has written novels, as well as short fiction, and her writing has won and been shortlisted for a number of significant awards and prizes. She was the 2006 Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow ...more
More about Emily Perkins...

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“That first pregnancy is a long sea journey to a country where you don't know the language, where land is in sight for such a long time that after a while it's just the horizon - and then one day birds wheel over that dark shape and it's suddenly close, and all you can do is hope like hell that you've had the right shots. ” 16 likes
“This is what we had become, after the first symbiotic year of our living together: a couple who needed another couple to be around.” 3 likes
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