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The Pilot's Wife

3.5  ·  Rating details ·  76,727 Ratings  ·  3,881 Reviews
With five novels to her credit, including the acclaimed The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve now offers a skillfully 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 h ...more
Audio, Abridged, 0 pages
Published May 11th 1999 by Random House Audio (first published 1998)
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A pilot's wife is taught to be prepared for the late-night knock at the door. But when Kathryn Lyons receives word that a plane flown by her husband, Jack, has exploded near the coast of Ireland, she confronts the unfathomable-one startling revelation at a time. Soon drawn into a maelstrom of publicity fueled by rumors that Jack led a secret life, Kathryn sets out to learn who her husband really was, whatever that knowledge might cost. Her search propels this taut, impassioned novel as it m
Debbie Petersen
Another bomb from Shreve. Her husband had a secret life...blah blah blah. She can't confront her grief and betrayal over finding this out, because he is dead. Then the usual fairy-tale ending for books of this genre...while Kathryn is grief-stricken, unkempt and unshowered and at her blubbery worst, a gorgeous guy is right there to fall madly in love with her! Yes, this happens *all* the time!
Aug 01, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-seller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This could be a quick read but is sometimes painful & I would have to put it down until I could read and savor a passage or two at a better time. I often read during lunch break at work & some books simply aren't meant to be read in an office setting - this is one of them. Kathryn, the pilot's wife, is so well written - you not only feel what she feels, you eventually know what she will feel before it is written for you. No doubt this is because I could be the pilot's wife; I could live ...more
I’m afraid I didn’t feel any love for this. It dragged to begin with and virtually nothing happened for the first hundred pages. That wouldn’t have bothered me had the writing been inspired or the characters compelling. Unfortunately, for me, neither was the case. Katheryn, the wife who’s told her husband, the pilot, has died in an air crash, didn’t provide any of those exciting identification moments when you see something of yourself or a good friend eloquently arrested and made lucid. The sto ...more
Oct 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an airport "argh, I need something to read on a 4 hour flight" impulse buy. Since everything at the airport shop seemed to be on Oprah's list, there was no avoiding it. I don't know what is more annoying about this book, the supposed idylic settinig of New England, or the preposterous misunderstanding of the IRA. The whole thing is implausible, unless the protaginist is a major idiot... Oh, maybe that is not that big of an assumption.
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shreve did a good job capturing the main character's grief and confusion, but the book just didn't hold my interest. It was kind of boring in the first two thirds, and then when the main character travelled to England and discovered the "twists," it just seemed kind of silly.
I was also annoyed by the main character falling in love with the union rep. I get that people bond under intense circumstances, but I hate that falling in love seems to be the go to literary reaction. There are other ways
Jun 08, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had read so many great things about this book, and I saw it in a used book store, so I bought it. I really didn't enjoy it.
This is my third Anita Shreve book and I am not sure if I am going to read any more of them. For the most part I enjoy her writing and her stories, but the endings are sometimes unbearable. Anyway, this book was another Oprah book. It was pretty short and I got through it very quickly. Plot summary: The wife of a pilot learns that her husband's plane has gone down and that he is dead. While dealing with all the initial shock as well as dealing with the grief of their 15 year old daughter, she le ...more
Coleen Guhl
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Amazing book, there are many twists and turns that keep you interested and on your toes. I love the author's writing style. Again, this I read in two evenings; so you know it was good!
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 b
Jul 08, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one!!!
Shelves: new-fiction
I have no idea how I ended up owning this book, but I decided it would be a quick read on the plane. It was quick... but every second of the three hours was painful. The book suffered from multiple personalities. The first half was all grieving (fitting for a self help book), the second half attempted to bring in some more mystery and intrigue. Unfortunately the mystery involved was the "pilot" having an affair,,, which comes as no surprise to anyone who has worked in the airline industry. The l ...more
May 22, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An airliner explodes over the Atlantic, and at home the wife of the pilot is left to pick up her own life, as well as deal with the implications that her husband may have caused the disaster. This book didn't grab me on many levels, and by the end, I felt a bit hostile towards it. The big revelations that are unearthed seem a bit preposterous and convenient, and the fact that her husband has personal secrets from his wife... well, you could have seen that coming. I didn't feel emotionally involv ...more
Jun 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: love-and-romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
JG (The Introverted Reader)
The Pilot's Wife in a nutshell: Jack Lyons, a commercial pilot, is flying a plane when it explodes. The book follows the grieving process of his widow, as she tries to figure out what happened in that plane. The overriding question in the book is "How well can we ever really know someone else?"

There wasn't anything really wrong with the book, it was just overly gray for my taste. I don't think the sun shines in the entire book. It was solidly written though, and it did keep me turning pages. I d
Cresta McGowan
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s-fiction's probably quite obvious that I'm back at work. I was averaging a book a week and now, three weeks have passed with no new reviews. A few people have even contacted me (which I loved) about what I was reading now. Sorry folks, the whole having to get up early to teach the children how to read is interrupting my own leisurely reading time. I'm hoping once the haze of the beginning lifts, I'll be able to get back into a better reading routing. For now, once or twice a month is probably our ...more
Abigail Hillinger
This was chick-lit in disguise. I feel dirty and tricked.

Although I probably am being harsh by giving it two stars, I don't really see too many good things about this book. The bits where Kathryn are at her house are far too dragged out. Shreve relies only on the 'feel' sensory to explain what her character is going through, rather than the 'show'. The important parts where things could have been really interesting--such as the funeral or the first Christmas without Jack--are glossed over and ba
Apr 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't understand what all the hype was about with this book. I think Shreve's writing is pretty good - no complaints there - but the pace of this book is all over the place. It's very slow to start, to the point where I wanted to just give up on it, and then the last 2-3 chapters rush to wrap eeverything up into a neat package. The plot was pretty good, a bit "Lifetime movie" for my tastes, but decent enough. If the pace had been a bit more consistent, I probably would have given this 3 stars. ...more
Daniel Balici
To leave, after all, was not the same as being left.

She considered the question. Odd, she thought, how intensely you knew a person, or thought, how you did, when you were in love - soaked, drenched in love - only to discover later that perhaps you didn't know that person quite as well as you had imagined. Or weren't quite as well known as you had hoped to be. In the beginning, a lover drank every word and gesture and then tried to hold on to that intensity for as long as possible. But inevitably
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Time Travelers Wife, Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, and now the Pilot's Wife. Unintentionally my small collection on Goodreads has a very common theme!

Out of the three recently read- The Pilot's Wife is certainly my favorite. I was visiting my parents last weekend and picked this off of the top of a stack in their laundry room. I don't usually commit to a book without knowing more about it or hearing a recommendation but I'm really glad that I did!

I think its the most well written and you imm
Nov 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pilot's wives, wives in general, women
I really liked this book more than I thought I would. The reviews I had read (on Amazon, I think) all seemed disappointed and felt that Shreve ended the book prematurely. In this case, I think it was a perfectly fine place to end it. You can guess how the story would continue after all is said and done. You know there might end up being a friendship. You know there probably will be a relationship. Since you know what will probably happen, it's okay.

I actually found myself bored in the beginning
I actually read this book quite a few years ago but have been trying to update my "read" books.
I have read a few books by Anita Shreve and for the most part I enjoy her writing and her stories.
She did a good job of showing Kathryn's grief and confusion making the reader feel as though this is something that they could be going through themselves.
However, at times the plot seemed somewhat confusing and undeveloped. Some confusion and questions that didn't seem as though there were fully answere
This is the second Anita Shreve book I've read. I like how the author writes and describes the scenes and emotions. The flaskbacks of her early family life were partically good. Her tone impresses me, although Sea Glass seemed to flow a little better. I was hooked in the beginning and I felt Kathryn's pain. That half of the book I felt was written well but when Shreve attempts the different plot twists during the second half of the book, I lost interest. Which is sad, because those plot twists a ...more
Nov 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
The Good: Anita Shreve writes well and he books never fail to suck you in, even if you aren't loving where the story is going.

The Bad: This was a depressing book with a unrealistic ending. To throw some romance in at the end, as if Kathryn would been remotely stable enough at that point in her life for anything to work out, is ludicrous. She's obviously obsessive about the husband, not able to let go of this "secret" even though he's dead and she should just mourn and move on.
I never imagined that I would be interested in a book about men and their secret families. But after the heroine's husband is killed when his plane explodes, her search to understand her life with her husband is fascinating, since it is not the life that she thought that she was living.

Check this book out if you like to see women rise above their circumstances or if you're interested in an insider's experience of finding out that her life is a lie.
Mar 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gotta love the books that hit home on some levels. Loved the ending!
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
Although the first third of THE PILOT'S WIFE is depressing, it is so well written you won't want to give up on the book. Then it becomes unputdownable.

Kathryn's husband, a commercial airline pilot, is killed when his jet explodes over Ireland. So most of the beginning involves her dealings with the airline union and newspaper and TV reporters. She almost comes to depend on one union representative, Robert, in particular.

When Kathryn finds small clues that something suspicious may have been going
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking, beautiful, spellbinding. In this classic Anita Shreve story the wife of a pilot killed in a plane explosion gradually learns things she hadn't know before about her husband.
This story starts out with a knock on the door in the early morning hours - it is the "call" no one wants to receive: the plane piloted by Kathryn's husband, Jack, has gone done in a fiery crash. There are no survivors. As the media descends on Kathryn and her daughter and speculation as to why the plane crashed starts to swirl, Kathryn starts to see signs that lead her to realize there was more to her husband than she ever would have guessed.

The story is told both from present day and in flash
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Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. Early literary influences include having read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton when she was a junior in high school (a short novel she still claims as one of her favorites) and everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote while she was a senior (to which she attributes a somewhat dark streak in her own work). A ...more
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“To leave, after all, was not the same as being left.” 236 likes
“Sometimes, she thought, courage was simply a matter of putting one foot in front of another and not stopping.” 51 likes
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