Silent Wife (Harrison)

The Silent Wife 
A.S.A Harrison, 2013
Penguin Group USA
336 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780143123231

A chilling psychological thriller about a marriage, a way of life, and how far one woman will go to keep what is rightfully hers
Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event.

He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.

Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl and These Things Hidden, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and does not let go. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—ca. 1948
Raised—North York, Ontario, Canada
Died—April 14, 2013
Where—Toronto, Ontario
Education—Ontario College of Art

Susan Harrison was a writer and psychtherapist, who wrote under the name A.S.A. Harrison. Her previous books include Orgasms (1974), Revelations (with Margaret Dragu, 1987), and Zodicat Speaks (1996). The Silent Wife is her debut novel, and she was at work on a new psychological thriller when she died in 2013. Harrison was married to the visual artist John Massey and lived in Toronto. (From the publisher.)

Her fascinating life is beautifully described in the Toronto Globe and Mail obituary.

Book Reviews
[A] smart, nuanced portrait of a dying marriage.... Accepting the peccadillos of her adulterous husband is one thing, but when Todd takes his infidelity to the next level and tells [Jodi] that he’s leaving her, the existence she’s clung to so dearly is destroyed.... Harrison...breathes life into Adlerian psychology, and weaves theory into a heart-pounding thriller that will keep you up at night.
Publishers Weekly

Jodi has led a quietly ordered and opulent life with her partner, Todd, for the past 20 years. She considers herself to be a flexible and understanding better half... Told in the alternating voices of Jodi and Todd, Harrison's novel is the story of what happens when the life we've worked so hard to achieve is exposed as an illusion.... [C]oolly detached and heartbreakingly accurate. —Caitlin Bronner, St. Joseph's Coll. Lib., Brooklyn, NY
Library Journal

Harrison, who in real life is also a psychotherapist, writes a neat atmospheric tale that examines life from both characters' points of view but sometimes works a bit too hard to cram extraneous detail into the story, particularly when it comes to psychotherapy and Jodi's present clients.... Harrison pens a good, basic story stretched thin by unnecessary and distracting detail.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also, consider these broad talking points to help get a discussion started for The Silent Wife:

1. Describe Jodi and Todd—separately and together as a couple. How would you define the quality of their 20-year relationship? Why has Jodi looked the other way with Todd's occasional affairs? What does it say about her expectations for the relationship...and what does it say about Todd and his expectations?

2. Then there is Natasha—what do you make of her? Why is Jodi's reaction so powerful to this particular dalliance of Todd?

3. To what degree does Harrison's use of psychology elucidate the mental state of her characters? Did you find the author's information on psychotherapy helpful...interesting...overdone...distracting?

4. Harrison's novel switches back and forth between Jodi's and Todd's points of view. Why might the author have used this technique? What does it add to the story? Or would you have preferred a single point of view?

5. What was your emotional reaction to The Silent Wife? Would you call it a page-turner...and, if so, how does Harrison ratchet up the suspense?

6. If you've read Gone Girl, how does the Silent Wife compare with Gillian Flynn's book?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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