Fiction. Literature. HTML:Anita Shreve's hauntingly beautiful #1 bestseller and Oprah's Book Club selection about tragedy, grief, betrayal, and the 'impossibility of knowing another person.'As a pilot's wife, Kathryn has learned to expect both intense exhilaration and long periods alone, but nothing has prepared her for a late-night knock that lets her know her husband has died in a crash. Until now, Kathryn Lyons's life has been peaceful if unextraordinary: a satisfying job teaching high school in the New England mill town of her childhood; a picture-perfect home by the ocean; a precocious, independent-minded fifteen-year-old daughter; and a happy marriage whose occasional dull passages she attributes to the unavoidable deadening of time. As Kathryn struggles with her grief, she descends into a maelstrom of publicity stirred up by the modern hunger for the details of tragedy. Even before the plane is located in waters off the Irish coast, the relentless scrutiny of her husband's life begins to bring a bizarre personal mystery into focus. Could there be any truth to the increasingly disturbing rumors that he had a secret life?
I don't think we, the readers, were supposed to be surprised. I think that the author was trying to show that because of the
I loved this book.
This is a work of fiction. As such, the author is allowed certain liberties with reality. I could not accept, however, the pilot’s political alliance as easily as his personal alliance. That was a little too far-fetched for me. If you have no attachments to the plot, this should be a quick read.
I found this a struggle to read – it’s emotionally difficult and I loathe flying, planes and everything to do with them, so to read the story of the aftermath of a crash was harrowing – but enthralling. The characters are strongly rendered, the coastal countryside beautifully represented and the moves back and forth between the immediate aftermath of the crash and the history of the relationships are fluidly managed.
I was disappointed by the twist – I saw it coming a little faster than the wife did, but not quickly – but it seemed such a let-down in a good character. The developments then seemed a bit far-fetched, but certainly riveting and heart-gripping.
All in all, an engrossing read, fascinating characters, slightly disappointing plot (not from lack of suspense, but from lack of justice to the characters).
I liked the writing style of
A note on the side: Once flight/airport security was mentioned I checked the book's publication date, because I couldn't believe the book could have been written after 2001.
Spent a wintry Sunday engrossed in The Pilot's Wife and thoroughly enjoyed it. Story line is skillful and suspenseful; and the sense of coastal New Hampshire is lovely. Shreve is a quick, reliable escape read for me, and I appreciate her for that.
The characters are as remote as the landscape where the plane that Jack Lyons is piloting crashes - and perhaps that was intentional (if so, that's well-done). I never felt a connection to anyone in the novel, and I expected to - particularly with Mattie, the daughter, as I understand on a personal level what it is like to lose a father suddenly. Kathryn and Mattie's reactions to the loss of Jack, their husband and father, respectively, are devoid of emotions - and the descriptions of what emotions they do feel are empty. In one scene, Kathryn learns a truly devastating secret about her husband; mere hours later, she claims that she "is over the worst of it."
Plot-wise, this storyline is incredibly predictable and indistinguishable from other movies-of-the-week with similar scenarios. Even the revelation in the most climatic scenes is predictable enough.
Shreve's writing in "The Pilot's Wife" is cliche-ridden and trite. The plane crash that claims the life of her husband occurs mere days before Christmas. When asked how her holiday was, the widow Kathryn responds:
"Sad," she said. "Pathetic. Every minute was pathetic. The
worst was how hard Mattie was trying. As if she owed it to Julia and
me. As if she owed it somehow to her father. I wish now we had
canceled the whole thing."
I know the feeling.
Or Kathryn's exchange with her grandmother upon learning of her husband Jack's death:
"I loved him," Kathryn said.
"I know you did. I know you
did. I loved him, too. We all loved him."
"Why did this happen?"
"Forget the why," Julia said. "There is no why. It doesn't
matter. It doesn't help. It's done and can't be undone."
The Pilot's Wife was written a decade ago and the reader is aware of the absence of the Internet as well as that of cell phones. During the past decade, Anita Shreve has gained a following as a very popular writer. Thankfully, her writing seems to have become stronger with time, leaving the reader with less of a feeling of being on autopilot.
Overall, it was a good read. I could easily imagine myself as Kathryn. The characters are very believable, and the grieving process is well-played-out. I wish Mattie's character was a little more well-developed, but it really doesn't hurt the book the way Mattie was written.
This book made me think more deeply about my marriage. I should take nothing for granted.
I thought it was very good. Definitely a page turner - which fit my mood exactly. The story was a little more sensational that I expected from Shreve - but it kept me reading even though I suspected one of the
Shreve is just a really good writer who seems to always deliver. I wouldn't call her books equivalent to comfort food - well because often they are unsettling rather than comforting - but they are wonderfully predictable in terms of quality of writing and that they never fail to deliver an engaging plot and well formed characters.
Great book to pack when you want something to just immediately suck you in.