The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison.
Published: June 25. Headline.
A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife is an engaging foray into the complexities of the human psyche – a psychological exploration of one couple’s long-lasting relationship that now threatens to break apart in spectacular fashion. The familiarity and routine that has for so long has held the good ship of life in a relatively study position, now suddenly threatens to collapse and dash everything against the rocks.
Jodi and Todd are living a life of comfort and relative luxury. With a beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, furnished with everything they could ever need, they have settled into a routine way of living that seems to work for both of them. With solid jobs – her working part-time as a psychiatrist who works from home and him as a building investor that makes enough money to comfortably get by – it soon becomes clear that the only thing that is turbulent about their lives is undoubtedly their marriage. He is a serial adulterer, she a hopelessly naïve individual who is in constant denial. Each exists in their own private world, and the discussions over wine and dutifully-cooked dinner essentially avoid the problems that they – each in their own way – pretend do not exist.
Disclaimer: if you want characters that are decidedly wonderful and who you would probably go out for drinks with, this may not be the novel for you. Harrison’s characters for the most part have awful personalities, are essentially flawed. Todd fancies himself as the ultimate playboy – a bit of a stud that roves his eyes over a multitude of girls, objectifying them at will, his self-confidence and conceit evidently knowing no bounds. He is selfish, ignorant, and a compulsive liar. He never considers himself to be in the wrong, even in the most outrageous of situations – even when he goes so far that even he cannot talk his way out of trouble. It is unsurprising, then, that Todd, by his very nature, struggles to elicit any sympathy from the reader.
It would seem logical to make the assumption that Jodi – someone who has to deal with a character as ridiculous and as obnoxious as Todd – would be easier to invest in for the reader. However, for the most part it is a struggle to feel nothing but contempt for someone who seems to have zero objections to it all, content in the apparent safety of her home and general situation. Even as she works with a variety of different clients, talking to them, helping them resolve their problems, she displaces her own – both in the present and from the past. Even when given solid evidence that everything is not quite as secure as it seems, she is still incredibly reluctant to create a fuss. Only when things get to their most extreme and she is driven as far as she can take, does she decide to take matters into her own hands.
Harrison’s cast of supporting characters are not overwhelmingly strong, but they offer a nice balance. A lawyer that Todd has known for as long as he can remember – bitter because of the string of divorces he has behind him; a receptionist that is forever drinking all the expensive coffee, and who can successfully unnerve the normally unflappable Todd. Throw in your pregnant girlfriend’s father and you have a character-list that bubbles away menacingly, threatening to boil over at any moment.
The author deftly manages to cleverly intertwine the past and present in a narrative that will have you on tenterhooks as you eagerly flip the pages in anticipation. Sadly, A.S.A. Harrison cruelly passed from the world before she had chance to see The Silent Wife go to publication, but she was rightfully proud of what she created. A deliciously entertaining roller-coaster of a novel, jam-packed with love, betrayal, death, this is a novel that deserves every bit of the attention that it will undoubtedly receive.