Michelle's Reviews > The Pilot's Wife

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
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Mar 24, 09

Read in August, 2007

I got a great book from my friend, Kathran for Christmas, and I just finished reading it... The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve.

Shreve is a great writer... I love her language and use of words. I'm such a lover of language and the ways in which it can be swirled and whirled and encircle your mind making you want to read the same sentence over and over. Shreve is excellent at this task.

She makes you think. And I like thinking.

Right from the second page of the book she sets the essence of the whole book in motion...

"She took careful steps across the floor, as if moving too fast might set something in motion that hadn't yet begun."

To think that both the author and the main character, Kathryn Lyons, (the pilot's "wife,") are already in tune with the fact that this could be true makes me think of the many times when I, if I had been more in tune with what surrounded me, would or could have had the same feeling.

But, knowing does not change that. Knowing that getting a knock on the door in the middle of the night, meant almost certain dread to a pilot's wife, does not change that there is a knock at the door. Even not answering that door does not change what is on its other side.

The stages that Kathryn moves though are as textbook as anyone going through a similar circumstance. And the ease with which this happens is as gripping as it has been for me when I have faced a loss...

"And then she moved from shock to grief the way she might enter another room."

"But it amazed her the way the body kept moving forward, past the shock and the grief, past the retching hollowness inside, and kept wanted sustenance, kept wanting to be fed. It seemed unsuitable, like wanting sex."

"'I can't explain it,' Kathryn said. 'I feel as though I've temporarily lost Jack and I need to find him.'
'You're not doing to find him,' Julia said. 'He's gone.'"

There is a sincere representation of marriage in this book that really depicts in my opinion how a marriage evolves. There were words that rang true and were well written about the marriage of Kathryn and Jack, or what I would consider a typical American marriage...

"But actually she thought that any marriage was like radio reception: It came and went."

But, Kathryn's marriage does have its chinks. And they are legitimate. And Kathryn does begin to see the unseen.

"She doesn't know precisely what is wrong. She has only a vague feeling of vulnerability, a heightened sense of having been left alone for too many days."

The book is also filled with "dream bits," fragments, "like the fluttering glints of silver in the dark."

The message is clear, however... "Life could deal out worse than Kathryn had had, and worse than that."

It certainly can.

"A person is not who he had been the day before, Kathryn thought. Or the day before that."

No, we are not.

Good read... if you want it, I have it.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Samantha (new)

Samantha I just finished The Pilot's WIfe and the very last sentence left me perplexed. Kathryn is looking at the lottery ticket that she found in JAck's pants that lead her to his other wife, but why the statement I just wanted to know that the children are alright? It seems that it comes out of nowwhere. She didn't know there were children when she set out to go to London. She didn't even know there was another wife. What does she mean by this. I could see if she said I want to know, but she said she wanted...like she had done something already to find out. Any insights to help me understand this better?


Susan Conboy I understood it to mean she was moving from anger to understanding...she was keeping a secret from her daughter,Mattie, in the name of love. Robert, who I expect will become a big part of the next chapter in her life, kept secrets from her, because he wanted to have a relationship with her and revealing the truth would have severed their relationship earlier. So she was moving to understanding, and perhaps forgiveness, understanding that the children are a part of the husband she loved, and her daughter's half siblings. She understood that in spite of pain, grief, betrayal, one still needs to have love and faith.hope this helps.


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