Friday, July 6, 2007
This is one of the titles on the New York list I have read and I agree with its inclusion. In Meg Wolitzer's novel, Joan Castleman, the wife of famed novelist Joe, decides to end their 40+ year marriage on the plane flight to Finland, where he is set to receive a prestigious award, a step below the Nobel. The book bounces from present to past as the story of the Castleman's marriage unfolds. Joan was a student of his when they met, and she ends up abandoning her own literary promise to help prop up her husband's career. As his reputation increases, so does Joan's resentment for very good reasons. I really enjoyed Wolitzer's portrayal of the woman behind the supposed literary genius and the build-up of the story until the full reason for Joan's bitterness is eventually revealed. I loved the peek behind the curtains of the life of a famous couple in literary circles and the secrets they keep.