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A Reliable Wife

A Reliable Wife

Scritto da Robert Goolrick

Narrato da Mark Feuerstein


A Reliable Wife

Scritto da Robert Goolrick

Narrato da Mark Feuerstein

valutazioni:
3.5/5 (210 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
8 ore
Pubblicato:
Jan 1, 2009
ISBN:
9781440718168
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

Robert Goolrick’s riveting debut novel is both foreboding and sensual. When a wealthy man first meets his mail-order bride in 1907, he realizes this statuesque beauty is anything but a “simple missionary’s daughter.” But he doesn’t know of her devious plan to leave Wisconsin as a rich widow. Nor does she know of the furious demons he longs to unleash during the lonely months of snowbound isolation. “A sublime murder ballad …”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Pubblicato:
Jan 1, 2009
ISBN:
9781440718168
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Informazioni sull'autore

Robert Goolrick is the author of the novels A Reliable Wife (a #1 New York Times bestseller, licensed in 30 territories) and Heading Out to Wonderful, and the memoir The End of the World as We Know It.


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3.5
210 valutazioni / 224 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    Dark and erotically charged tale of a lonely man, the deceptive woman who came to be his wife, and the ways in which both love and hate can live for decades.
  • (5/5)
    A Reliable Wife is an impossible-to-put-down pageturner that is compelling and authentically suspenseful. It explores the concepts of love, deception, betrayal, and pain and the often surprising intricacies of marriage, and it is beautifully written. In language that is strong and spare, Goolrick gives descriptions of the harsh midwestern landscape that call to mind Willa Cather’s depictions of the prairie and that perfectly reflect his characters’ experiences. He makes the landscape an integral character in, not just a backdrop for, the story, and he does so to great effect.A Reliable Wife is a book about despair and longing and emptiness, but it is also about possibility and hope and the unexpected ways that we connect with each other and are affected by our connections. It is literary, with well-developed characters and a fascinating plot, and it just might have the makings of a modern-day classic.Read my full review at The Book Lady's Blog.
  • (4/5)
    A compelling, erotically charged story that relies heavily on Cornell Woolrich's plot from WALTZ INTO DARKNESS. The setting and the background, however, were inspired by Michael Lesy's classic WISCONSIN DEATH TRIP ( a brilliant photo-journal that used the photographs taken by Charles Van Schaik, a Black River Falls photographer,and material from the archives of THE BADGER STATE BANNER, Mendota State Asylum, and quotations from Hamlin Garland and Glenway Westcott).
  • (4/5)
    Read this in one day, a real gothic novel in the same vein as Rebecca, with waaaaay more sex! The descriptions of the Wisconsin winter are stellar, most of the characters are well developed (with the exception of the son) and the writing is spare and evocative. I wish I had saved this to read on a warm summer night!
  • (5/5)
    bought A RELIABLE WIFE after I saw it recommended on a forum, back in February. I finally got around to reading it a couple of weeks ago and I am glad I did so. There are many twists in the plot, as the sins of the father are visited on the son and then upon himself, and then the sins of the son are visited on the father. It was by turns an intensely pleasurable and an excruciating read, but I couldn't stop turning the pages until I began to read more slowly because I didn't want it to end.

    What remains constant throughout the novel is the psychological exactness of each protagonist's thoughts and actions. All of it is totally believable. The woman, at the beginning of the novel, is of "rather loose lifestyle" but as the novel progresses we see that it was by no real choice of hers and she blossoms as a human being and, in fact, a reliable woman.

    What stayed with me, when I closed the book, was how human kindness shone through an examination of human evil.
  • (1/5)
    This book is described as a Gothic novel. At best, it is Gothic lite. The narrator (audio book) did not improve its romance novel-like quality
  • (4/5)
    I really, really enjoyed this book. The depth of each character was brilliant. I was completely engrossed in their psychology and how they each realized the effect that their choices had on their lives and those around them. The difference between young romantic passionate love and the enduring mature love of long term companionship is so beautifully described and realized. I loved that the redemptive moment was not at all melodramatic, but realistic in a very positive way.
  • (2/5)
    No. I thought this was a romance - that's the way it's framed. But it's a "literary" effort, which means both the hero and heroine are...obsessed with sex. Really? This is what makes a deeper story? He's convinced he's an irredeemable sinner because he feels lust - it's all because of his mother. And she's used her body and anything else she had to get along, because her mother died when she was small. Honestly. I suppose referencing Freud is literary, or something. Oh yeah, and people keep going mad in the town because of the snow - the hero's first chapter dwells at length on people going mad and what they do (from streaking to murder). I read...three chapters, I think; skimmed forward and landed on a rape scene; read the last scene with the garden and decided that I really didn't _care_ how they got to that point, not going to waste my time.I'm sure some people would think this was a wonderful story, but there's nothing here for me.
  • (4/5)
    "Wisconsin Death Trip" is a book that I read way back in the 70s, and it contains strange pictures of little dead children in coffins, black-clad, somber-looking families in depressing situations, and text from newspapers citing horrific murders and suicides that took place in Wisconsin - all true. The author of this book, in his afterword, references "Wisconsin Death Trip" as the major inspiration for "A Reliable Wife" - he said that it has stayed with him and he has never forgotten it. I feel the same way - it is rather horrifying. As such, you can imagine that this book is somewhat strange with a looming sense of foreboding throughout, but the end is ultimately satisfying and illuminating.
  • (4/5)
    This book was pretty good. The whole time I was reading it I was wondering "who are you? what do you really want?" This did remind me of that movie with Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas...whatever that movie is called. So I wasn't too shocked when everything was revealed. Pretty good though.
  • (3/5)
    Lives ruled and ruined by lust. Characters that I didn't care for. Way to wordy.
  • (4/5)
    "In Ralph Truitt's mind, in the dead of night, the knots of death and birth formed an insane lace, knitting the town together, in a ravishment of sexual acts and the product of these acts. All skin to skin in the dark, just underneath the heavy tortuous garments in the day...That morning, in the mirror, he had seen his face, and it was a face he didn't want to be seen. And these people around him were not blind..." -- From A Reliable Wife After hearing the premise of A Reliable Wife--a rich businessman in rural, snowy Wisconsin advertising for a "reliable wife" in 1907...and not "getting" what he thought in more ways than one--well, it sounded utterly irresistable. I devoured it over the weekend, but have truly mixed feelings after reading it. Rather than rehash the plot, as the blurb at Amazon.com and fellow reviewers have done, I'll depart from my usual manner of reviewing and just share what I felt were the wonderful and disappointing traits of A Reliable Wife: 1. A Reliable Wife is an astounding debut novel. Goolrick's prose is mesmerizing. His turns of phrase, metaphors and similies will stay with you long after you finish the book. In fact, as one who is crafting her first novels, I took notes on the magnificent way the author "showed" instead of "told". 2. The first 1/4 of the novel simmers with lust repressed under a proper, restrained veneer. Reading the portions about Ralph Truitt were almost maddening; my pulse raced at times (not just because of the compelling sexual prose), but because Goolrick injects his story with the hot breath of grief, rage, passion, regret and emotional paralysis--to the point that I braced myself for an inevitable POP! at any moment. 3. I almost wished that Goolrick stayed with Ralph Truitt's perspective only (3rd person limited omniscient) as opposed to jumping around in Catherine Land's mind, too. Yet, I suppose this story of deception, desperation, survival, and the many faces of "love" would be a different book altogether if the author had done so... 4. There's way too much sex in this book. In the first part of the book, the powerful sexual punch Goolrick delivers works because it's juxtaposed against the cold, stark, blazing white setting of both frozen Wisconsin and the frozen Ralph Truitt. But halfway through, especially with Catherine, it becomes a sex fest. Too much of a good thing, unfortunately. 5. I felt that the ending was anti-climatic; I knew that Truitt would have discovered the "bombshell" that the ending delivered, so his "forgiveness" seemed almost foolish. But, for some, love is stupid... 6. Considering Ralph's rage towards his first wife and, to some extent, his son--I had a hard time believing that he was OK with Catherine's exploits in St. Louis. (And, that it would be OK with him for her unusual "ministrations" upon her return to Wisconsin...) If you enjoy literary fiction and exquisite writing--that is, you love the journey more than the destination--then you'd likely appreciate this debut novel from Goolrick. He's such a good writer, I'm going to order his acclaimed memoir The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life. For me, though, I'm a bit saddened for some reason. I'm not sure what I was hoping The Reliable Wife to deliver, but I am sure that many of the scenes will stay with me as a "mind movie" thanks to Goolrick's deft massage of language. -- Janet Boyer, author of The Back in Time Tarot Book
  • (3/5)
    This book had some touching moments between husband and wife, but overall, it fell a little flat for me. A more accurate title MIT have been A Horny Husband.
  • (3/5)
    entertaining but not earth shattering
  • (3/5)
    This book is a bit of a struggle to read, because the tone of the narrator is mostly bleak but maybe its more to do with the time period than anything else. The characters were empty but the author wanted you understand them better once you read their back story but they were still lifeless.. I spent most of the book hating Catherine and Antonio and getting fed up of reading about Ralph's urges!! I did think it was overly long all the way through and the ending was quite abrupt. Nevertheless it was an ok book
  • (3/5)
    So not what I expected. Actually better than I expected. Much more drama and intrigue. Well written. I loved the descriptions of the surroundings and time period, I felt like I was there. The only thing I didn't care for was the end where the author got away from telling the story and got philosophical about the characters lives.
  • (2/5)
    I couldn't really get into this novel. My opinion is the premise was good and the basic story was intriguing but the references to sex and Ralph's obsession with it made me uncomfortable for some reason. I don't know if it's because he's an older man and I'm not used to reading about sex from that point of view or that I didn't care for the author's style of writing. It's something for me to think about. I certainly don't mind reading trashy romance novels so it wasn't the raunchiness (Is that a word?) that bothered me. I don't know. Maybe my opinion will change when I read other review.
  • (1/5)
    Dear lord no. The summary seemed interesting enough, so when it came up for rent on my library's website, I thought I'd give it a chance. Boy was I wrong, this was just plain horrible. No thanks.
  • (2/5)
    What a horribly depressing book. I found the characters to be flat, and was often confused by emphasis the author put on certain things that were unimportant to story development (getting snowed in is horrible and terrible and drives people crazy; but nobody gets snowed in so why make such a big deal about it?). The reliable wife was not a reliable narrator which diminished my enjoyment of the narrative somewhat (although I can't say I enjoyed it all that much anyway). I would rather have forgone her internal monologue than wonder why her thoughts and reasoning presented in the first 1/3 was completely different from the second 1/3 of the book. Rather than a huge reveal I would have much preferred an organic growth of the story, even if there were hints of the "surprise" to come later--which really wasn't a surprise to me.

    Two stars rather than one because I actually went through the effort of finishing it rather than stopping partway through (it was hit-and-miss at one point).
  • (4/5)
    What a strange book this is. It has an air of coldness infused with sexuality. Loss, redemption, perhaps love played out against quite the Gothic background. It's like the lovechild of the Brontes and DH Lawrence.This is not a book to be skimmed (though I confess, about 50 pages from the end I peeked at the ending, because I couldn't bear the heartbreak) because the author knows precisely what he is doing, word by word, very carefully, very coldly. A friend told me I needed to read this, and I must thank her.
  • (3/5)
    My January loan from the Kindle Lending Library, so diving into this book was a relatively risk-free venture and I wasn't too concerned about the mixed reviews.There are definitely heavy sexual undertones throughout the entire book that some readers might find off-putting, but I honestly didn't have much of an issue with it. None of it was really done to excite or titillate; I felt the adult content was intended more to describe a character's emotions or state of mind.However, I do agree with reviewers' assessments that claim this book could have been much shorter. The story's pretty straightforward, but the author seems to love writing pages and pages of rambling flowery prose and description; that much was clear even from the first few pages. To me it felt like he was trying much too hard to sound "artsy".
  • (4/5)
    a gothic tale set in the American northwest in 1907 with lots of great characters. novel looks at love from the sordid variety to a lofty pursuit. it shows how far people can travel on a quest only to wind up somewhere they never thought they would be happy.
  • (3/5)
    I was conflicted on what to say about this book. I liked it enough and was invested enough in the characters to read it over a couple of days. It was beautiful, haunting and yet lacking, repetitive, and unbelievable all at the same time.Goolrick's book seethes with sex. Blatant sex, undertones of sex, abstract sex. Either the people are tormented by lack of sex or rolling around in it with greedy, sickening indulgence or killing for it or dying from it.I love the tormented character and there are three here that stew in torment. Catherine, the sordid, self-punishing woman with a secret past who finally finds peace. Ralph, another self-punishing figure who seeks peace through love and finding his son. Antonio, the naughty, selfish, self-indulgent son and lover who has no redeeming qualities.The best part of the book is the coming together and salvation of Catherine and Ralph. What ruins it is the saturation of sex throughout all actions, thoughts, and plans. It's too heavy in the thick of lust everywhere. Goolrick's words are beautifully laid out though and he fills the characters' lives with sad, tragic, awful rich histories.But there were 3 places I could not suspend disbelief as Goolrick did not build up his world for it effectively.1. Ralph is okay with his wife poisoning him to the death and yet when he recovers there is no conflict there from it, remnants of this awful act haunting them. I get that Ralph is a martyr figure but I simply couldnt buy this. His world created by Goolrick did not support this action. He had a purpose, he lived for a reason and he hadnt made his deepest desires happen yet. I dont buy he would have allowed his wife to kill him slowly and still love her after with no consequences.2. Antonio, at the end, waffles back and forth on his father after hating him with such intensity and wanting him dead throughout the entire book. I can't buy it. It's like a quick switch to say "hey, this guy is redeemable" when we know he is not. Antonio was a 2-dimensional figure to me that needed a bit more rounding out to make him human. A bit more softening of the edges and good reason to be how he is in order to feel any compassion for him at all.3. After pages and pages of Antonio ensconced in Catherine and his father's house (Antonio's old lover and the man he ragingly hates and wants dead) he THEN decides to rape her and beat her? Would he not be full of rage and fueled to rape and kill from the first day he set foot rather than a lulled place they seem to live in for weeks on end?As you can see I am conflicted on this book. It had beauty, wonder, angst and tragedy and yet it was repetitive and lacking. It could have been so much more.
  • (4/5)
    I had no idea what to expect from this book. It looks like a romance, sounds like an historical thriller, and is compared to Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, two books I really love. So, I didn't really know what I was going to read.I loved the writing in this book - it was sparse but the sentences so well constructed and the words so perfectly placed that they conveyed rich imagery. Imagine living in Wisconsin in 1909, with its long lonely winters. Beautiful in its starkness. Yet there was a warmth to this book too. This book had a lot of sex - I was not expecting that at all. Not really. These characters are all very sexual, but they seemed to be using it to fill a void within themselves. As an escape. The characters were all flawed, none of them with a perfectly clean conscience. All have a past that was less than idyllic or ideal. All have a secret agenda. I loved this book. I was constantly surprised by the plot and the characters. You thought you were getting to know them, but then you find out maybe you didn't. Some surprises were good, some not as good. It was my favorite book I read this week. I very much recommend it. This is a book about love and sex and how they can get all twisted up. It is about loneliness and despair. It is about revenge and redemption. It is about guilt. It is about hope.
  • (4/5)
    Beautifully written and emotional story.
  • (3/5)
    Once again, this is a debut novel by an author who has great potential, with his ability to write about life in a revealing way, that shows the inner grubs that lay hidden beneath the rocks. The language is sparse, lyrical, and in the beginning, very well done.But as this is a debut novel, and most authors do not write their masterpieces right out of the gate, this book does has its flaws. There are paragraphs that are identical in message and tone, almost right next to each other, as if one wasn't enough. Some of the plot lines come from nowhere, and dissolves into nowhere, leaving a spot that is essential to the plot, but not woven into it.In some areas I was left longing for the lyrical writings of Ian McEwan, as he wrote in Enduring Love, but I ended up getting that of his Cement Garden. So his style is not yet to the potential that he has. His message, though, is very much there.Like in The Piano Teacher, and in other books, there were spots of time in which, if the character had stopped, and lived, it would have been a happy ending. There were times of peace for Charlene, in Ralph's farmhouse at the beginning, while reading Whitman and taking walks in the frozen wasteland. Or in St. Louis, reading books of gardening in the libraries. In each of these cases, she had sustained some level of contentment. And this is the state we all yearn to arrive at one day. However, much like the characters in the book, this is not possible for any of us. Further steps are taken, the center cannot hold, to quote Keats. For people desire more than just contentment. They want the pleasures and wild joys that one only finds at the peaks of emotions, little knowing that, in most cases, the depths of depression lie just over the cliff.Goolrick takes the decadent life that the characters like Antonio has and shows what happens when people take that step away from contentment. It reminds me, again, of the party scene in Cloverfield, where self-indulgent 20 somethings drink away the night, talking about their futures as if nothing could stop them, little knowing the monster about to attack their city. The prostitutes and their men, the druggies and the people that supply them, they all played the game and end up, at the end, where Charlene's sister did, in the slums.The book is about control and happiness, and in the end, the conclusion that, much like Voltaire's Candide, the only happiness to reach in this world is when we "tend our gardens." The work of creating beauty out of a world of chaos, raising a family, this is what Voltaire and Goolrick try to achieve at the end. But as in Candide, the journey is not without heartbreak, loss, unspeakable joys, and unspeakable horrors.I look forward to his next book, as his writing craft will undoubtedly improve. The book gave me much to think about, and much to write on, which is all I can ask.
  • (3/5)
    I picked up this book because a friend of mine recommended it after her book club read it. I nearly gave up after the first chapter, but decided to press on. Eventually, I got into it, but it is not one that I will recommend to others. I did, however notice that it was selected as a World Book Night 2012 pick, so it seems as if I may not be in the majority with my opinion. I have two main issues with the book. First, there is not one happy moment in the entire book. Not a single character who is happy with their life. There is nothing innately wrong with that, just not the type of feeling that I enjoy. Second, the writing was so repetitive that I found myself skimming a lot of it because it continued to repeat information.It was an interesting concept which may make it worth reading.
  • (5/5)
    Set in a small town in Wisconsin, the husband marries a woman who he met thru an ad in the newspaper. The woman brings him alive but we eventually learn about her other life and relationship with another man who shows up.
  • (4/5)
    Good story - somewhat predictable but well done.
  • (3/5)
    A blurb on this book's cover called it "intoxicating." I don't know that I'd go that far, but it definitely gripped me for the few days it took to read it! I liked that the characters were so carefully deceptive, with one another and with everyone else. I didn't like that they were so sex-obsessed, seemed way too melodramatic. I enjoyed the writing style - the story evoked memories of reading The Great Gatsby. A good choice for book club!