The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

Summary of The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve (from Being married to a pilot has taught Kathryn Lyons to be ready for an emergency, but nothing has prepared her for the late-night knock on her door and the news of her husband's fatal crash. As Kathryn struggles through her grief, a bizarre mystery swims into focus, and she is forced to confront disturbing rumors about the man she loved and the life that she took for granted.

My take

This is my first Anita Shreve book and it's incredibly engrossing that I finished in about a day of relaxed reading (on the plane, and some bedtime reading). Kathryn's emotional agony and the painful journey of grieving ... up to her discovery of her husband's "other life" were so poignantly captured. Shreve's easy language only lends to the experience.

The basic question the author asks is can anyone really know another? Can spouses truly know one other? Good question, but the treatment of this profound question is hackneyed and cliched. I really hated the latter part of the book. While Kathryn's anguish in the earlier parts was so nicely built up (maybe a little bit too much for comfort), her indifference to the other wife and children towards the end was disjointed. The unravelling of her husband's secret life didn't exactly mesh with the entire conspiracy plot.

Overall, I found the story half satisfying ... like starting an incredible meal and ending with spoiled dessert. I may try another Shreve book just to give her a chance. Any help would be great ...

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall