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The Wife: Discover the critically acclaimed novel behind Glenn Close’s Oscar nominated performance

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NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING GLENN CLOSE A husband. A wife. A secret. Behind any great man, there’s always a greater woman. Joe and Joan Castleman are on an aeroplane, 35,000 feet above the ocean. Joe is thinking about the prestigious literary prize he is about to receive and Joan is plotting how to leave him. For too long Joan has played the role of supportive wife, NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING GLENN CLOSE A husband. A wife. A secret. Behind any great man, there’s always a greater woman. Joe and Joan Castleman are on an aeroplane, 35,000 feet above the ocean. Joe is thinking about the prestigious literary prize he is about to receive and Joan is plotting how to leave him. For too long Joan has played the role of supportive wife, turning a blind eye to his misdemeanours, subjugating her own talents and quietly being the keystone of his success. The Wife is an acerbic and astonishing take on a marriage from its public face to the private world behind closed doors. Wolitzer has masterfully created an expose of lives lived in partnership and the truth that behind the compromises, dedication and promise inherent in marriage there so often lies a secret... ‘A triumph of tone and observation, The Wife is a blithe, brilliant take on sexual politics’ Lorrie Moore

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NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING GLENN CLOSE A husband. A wife. A secret. Behind any great man, there’s always a greater woman. Joe and Joan Castleman are on an aeroplane, 35,000 feet above the ocean. Joe is thinking about the prestigious literary prize he is about to receive and Joan is plotting how to leave him. For too long Joan has played the role of supportive wife, NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING GLENN CLOSE A husband. A wife. A secret. Behind any great man, there’s always a greater woman. Joe and Joan Castleman are on an aeroplane, 35,000 feet above the ocean. Joe is thinking about the prestigious literary prize he is about to receive and Joan is plotting how to leave him. For too long Joan has played the role of supportive wife, turning a blind eye to his misdemeanours, subjugating her own talents and quietly being the keystone of his success. The Wife is an acerbic and astonishing take on a marriage from its public face to the private world behind closed doors. Wolitzer has masterfully created an expose of lives lived in partnership and the truth that behind the compromises, dedication and promise inherent in marriage there so often lies a secret... ‘A triumph of tone and observation, The Wife is a blithe, brilliant take on sexual politics’ Lorrie Moore

30 review for The Wife: Discover the critically acclaimed novel behind Glenn Close’s Oscar nominated performance

  1. 4 out of 5

    Aliki Barnstone

    Some reviewers have said they find the wife's motivations unbelievable. They must be younger people, who didn't experience the transformation that feminism brought about for women writers. I'm both glad and concerned that they can take for granted the opportunities that have opened up for women. This book captures exactly the bind women have been in for most of history; in this case Joan Castleman comes of age in the '50s. The book is wonderfully written, engaging, historically accurate, and man Some reviewers have said they find the wife's motivations unbelievable. They must be younger people, who didn't experience the transformation that feminism brought about for women writers. I'm both glad and concerned that they can take for granted the opportunities that have opened up for women. This book captures exactly the bind women have been in for most of history; in this case Joan Castleman comes of age in the '50s. The book is wonderfully written, engaging, historically accurate, and manages to be compassionate and wickedly (wonderfully) satirical at the same time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mischelle

    This was a great book. The only two drawbacks are that she used some strong profanity in parts and that from the beginning you can figure out the ending. However, the following passage makes up for it (I read it to my husband) "Everyone knows how women soldier on, how women dream up blueprints, recipes, ideas for a better world, and then sometimes lose them on the way to the crib in the middle of the night, on the way to Stop and Shop, or the bath. They lose them on the way to greasing the path This was a great book. The only two drawbacks are that she used some strong profanity in parts and that from the beginning you can figure out the ending. However, the following passage makes up for it (I read it to my husband) "Everyone knows how women soldier on, how women dream up blueprints, recipes, ideas for a better world, and then sometimes lose them on the way to the crib in the middle of the night, on the way to Stop and Shop, or the bath. They lose them on the way to greasing the path on which their husband and children will ride serenely through life." (p 183) This passage really spoke to me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hugo

    Ao longo de mais de duzentas páginas, ficamos a conhecer as razões que levam uma mulher, aparentemente feliz, a virar as costas ao seu casamento de várias décadas com um renomado escritor, nas vésperas de ele receber um notável prémio literário na Finlândia. As últimas páginas reservam ao leitor uma reviravolta que não antecipei, uma razão extra ocultada, que justifica muitos dos comportamentos invulgares que alguns dos outros personagens apresentavam. Um livro feminista, que aborda o papel das m Ao longo de mais de duzentas páginas, ficamos a conhecer as razões que levam uma mulher, aparentemente feliz, a virar as costas ao seu casamento de várias décadas com um renomado escritor, nas vésperas de ele receber um notável prémio literário na Finlândia. As últimas páginas reservam ao leitor uma reviravolta que não antecipei, uma razão extra ocultada, que justifica muitos dos comportamentos invulgares que alguns dos outros personagens apresentavam. Um livro feminista, que aborda o papel das mulheres na literatura e no mundo. Os Interessantes deixou-me intrigado e encantado com Meg Wolitzer. Este permite-me afirmar que Meg Wolitzer é uma voz a não perder.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sawsan

    A good written novel, a story of wrong compromises and sacrifices at life the narrator, Joan the wife, has been married to successful author Joseph Castleman for over forty years, they were traveling where Joseph will receive a major literary award, but she has finally decided to leave him the story of the Castleman couple is told in a series of flashbacks the begining of their relationships in the mid 50s, Joe's success and fame, their children, and while Joan was trying to be a supportive wife, J A good written novel, a story of wrong compromises and sacrifices at life the narrator, Joan the wife, has been married to successful author Joseph Castleman for over forty years, they were traveling where Joseph will receive a major literary award, but she has finally decided to leave him the story of the Castleman couple is told in a series of flashbacks the begining of their relationships in the mid 50s, Joe's success and fame, their children, and while Joan was trying to be a supportive wife, Joe was vain, betrayer and self centered and gradually the truth about his writings begins to unfold Wolitzer mentioned some points about gender writing inequalities at the 50s when male dominated the world of writing and publishing how a woman at that generation didn’t feel that she could reach for what she want, as if it's much easier to stand behind a man and watch him achieve great things than to achieve it for herselve frankly both characters are unlikable, but they're exist at reality away from the plot, and if you're a woman you will find yourself asking, why Joan chose to bear forty years with a philanderer? but eventually the novel is good and the writing style is beautiful

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

    Well, I had such high expectations for this and yet here we are. The premise: a wife decides she wants to divorce her husband after a life of continuous misery. She’s a white educated woman who married her slightly older husband in the 50s so her decision to persist in a relationship that has for nearly its entirety made her unhappy is understandable. At least the book asks the reader to understand, and the reader does. To be fair, it’s not so far-fetched; marriage in the 50s and 60s was a diffe Well, I had such high expectations for this and yet here we are. The premise: a wife decides she wants to divorce her husband after a life of continuous misery. She’s a white educated woman who married her slightly older husband in the 50s so her decision to persist in a relationship that has for nearly its entirety made her unhappy is understandable. At least the book asks the reader to understand, and the reader does. To be fair, it’s not so far-fetched; marriage in the 50s and 60s was a different social commitment than it is today, women were much more dependable on men, and it’s hard, even decades later, even in the 21th century, to let go of such conventions and of course, by then, you’ve spent 40 years with this person. A whole life. The twist to this somehow overused premise is that the husband is a writer and the wife is a much better writer than he is. But because she is a woman who married in the 50s she puts his needs ahead of hers, and proceeds to forget all about her hopes and dreams. Now, there are two main problems with the way Meg Wolitzer used this plot. The first concerns an immense lack of subtlety. Wolitzer goes to great, often ridiculous lengths to get the readers to dislike Joe, the husband. At a certain point in the novel Joe engages in a physical fight with a holocaust survivor accusing him of only being able to write about the holocaust. Why is that there? Because we are supposed to despise Joe and what better way to despise a man than seeing him mock a holocaust survivor? It is obvious that the whole book is meant to be a criticism on how the female voice is often dismissed in literature because the industry is controlled by men. And that’s a valid criticism. At the same time, Wolitzer criticizes what David Foster Wallace once called the “generation of great male narcissists”, male American writers who can only write about themselves. People like Updike, Mailler and Philip Roth. In fact, Joe very much resembles Roth. He’s an American Jew from Brooklyn, all his characters are based on himself and he’s not very connected with his Jewish heritage. The problem is that the way Wolitzer goes on to write the wife and the other women in the novel disproves the points she is trying to make. Take this sentence: “And even the brunette flight attendant, who had earlier seemed such a seduction to Joe, now looked like a tired hooker who wants to call it quits”. There are plenty other examples of such callousness. The book is told from the wife’s point of the view but the way she treats most other women in the novel is terrible. I get that Joan is full of resentment but sadly what comes across is her awful treatment of female characters who are constantly reduced to stereotypes. Any female character who manages to make it as a writer is either trying to prove something or isn’t a good writer at all, succeeding only because of her looks. It has occurred to me that Wolitzer did this on purpose, trying to mirror the way men write about women while attempting to satirize it. But satire has to be obvious. It has to be clear that you’re making fun of something instead of just being inspired by it. In the case of The Wife that’s not clear at all. It’s very tiring to read 215 pages about a woman who's trying to make a point about feminism while constantly dissing on other women. Then there’s another issue which permeates the entire story. The whole message of the book seems to be that men cannot write women and women cannot write men. The male mind is so foreign to women and vice-versa that Joan herself admits that while she’s a good writer she cannot write men because she doesn’t know what it is like to be a man. That’s not a good message. That’s not a good idea. That’s not good writing. Men and women aren’t all that different. Science in fact has come to show that nothing special divides the way men and women think. Societal rules apply differently to each genre and that changes things, yes, but that doesn’t mean that fundamentally men and women are wired differently. They’re not. The fact that a male writer can’t write good female characters or that a female writer can’t write good male characters speaks only for their inabilities as writers. This was the first book by Meg Wolitzer I read so I cannot tell whether she usually writes like this or not. I can’t tell if her female characters are always so dismissive of other women or if her male characters are always a caricature of themselves. I hope not as I have here the Female Persuasion and The Interestings and I d’like to read them both, eventually. But this one was a huge disappointment. I can only hope the movie does it better.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Williams

    This book was good and interesting but to me, not great. I enjoyed the read and had this book on my "want to read list" for a while but when I saw that it was being made into a movie with Glen Close as the star, I moved it up on my list. I think Glen Close will be perfect in this role. This was a story about a husband and wife where the husband was a famous author. The reviews of the book says it had a shocking ending but I had already figure it out because I've read so much about Zelda and Scot This book was good and interesting but to me, not great. I enjoyed the read and had this book on my "want to read list" for a while but when I saw that it was being made into a movie with Glen Close as the star, I moved it up on my list. I think Glen Close will be perfect in this role. This was a story about a husband and wife where the husband was a famous author. The reviews of the book says it had a shocking ending but I had already figure it out because I've read so much about Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. I won't say any more to give it away but I was not surprised at all at the ending, had been predicting it about half way through the book. Enjoyable read especially if you want to read about a woman who wants to be a strong woman.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Bonia

    “The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility.” Joan Castleman is on an airplane accompanying her husband, writer Joseph Castleman, to Helsinki, Finland where he is being honored with the Helsinki Prize in Literature, one step down from the Nobel Prize for Literature, which he knows that he will not get. Over the next four days, Joan revisits their courtship a “The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility.” Joan Castleman is on an airplane accompanying her husband, writer Joseph Castleman, to Helsinki, Finland where he is being honored with the Helsinki Prize in Literature, one step down from the Nobel Prize for Literature, which he knows that he will not get. Over the next four days, Joan revisits their courtship and the details of her marriage while waiting for the moment when she will end it all with her husband. I can not even put into words how much I loved this book. The characters were complex and well-drawn, the story was interesting and well-plotted, and the pacing was amazing. And there is a secret, and though that secret (I think) is easily guessed, the unfolding of that secret is a beautiful thing indeed, and is the crux of the novel; how Wolitzer carefully folds, twists and gradually enlarges what we already suspect but are reluctant to say for certain. It was so stunningly well done. Joan Castleman is so thoughtfully observant and funny in a wry way that I laughed out loud at her commentary, and I felt such an empathy with her ash she looked back on her life and struggled to find and step into herself not that she is well into her middle age and has raised three grown children. Joan’s reflections on herself and on her husband, who is one of those men “who had no idea of how to take care of himself or anyone else, and derived much of his style from The Dylan Thomas Handbook of Personal Hygiene and Etiquette.”, are so funny, and doubly so because they are accurate reflections on life and the types of people we have either heard of or met ourselves. I loved this book as a character study of a wife finally looking to take back the power that she has been afraid to possess, as a character study marriage and how it grew and changes from the ‘60’s to the present day, as an inside , and because it was a thought provoking and humorous read. I highly recommend it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    A Mulher que odeia as mulheres... Para justificar o subtítulo, algumas das frases deste romance, cuja narradora é uma mulher de sessenta e quatro anos, culta e inteligente: 1. Flannery O'Connor é um génio mas também "é uma aberração, tão visionária e devotamente católica e austera." (página 65) Carson McCullers é uma "pequena criatura andrógina que parece um esquilo." (página 65) Mary McCarthy, "com a sua prosa extraordinária, os malares arquitetónicos, o cabelo apanhado sobre um longuíssimo pescoço A Mulher que odeia as mulheres... Para justificar o subtítulo, algumas das frases deste romance, cuja narradora é uma mulher de sessenta e quatro anos, culta e inteligente: 1. Flannery O'Connor é um génio mas também "é uma aberração, tão visionária e devotamente católica e austera." (página 65) Carson McCullers é uma "pequena criatura andrógina que parece um esquilo." (página 65) Mary McCarthy, "com a sua prosa extraordinária, os malares arquitetónicos, o cabelo apanhado sobre um longuíssimo pescoço maneirista e as diversas ligações públicas que tinha com homens de alto gabarito. A última parte parecia essencial; sem essas ligações, teria sido demasiado livre, demasiado exótica, menos atraente." (página 135) 2. A mulher do professor "não era bonita; era uma mulher pequena e extenuada, cabelo castanho com um corte arrapazado e uns olhos esquivos. O que seria que ele via nela? Imaginei o meu professor na cama com aquela mulherzinha nada glamorosa." (página 71) 1. A hospedeira se "se tivesse despido da cintura para cima para lhe oferecer um dos seios, enfiando-lhe o mamilo na boca com a autoridade de uma comandante da organização La Leche, ele teria aceitado sem fazer a mais pequena pergunta." (página 10) isto logo após a descolagem, porque perto da aterragem "até a assistente de bordo morena, que antes parecera tão sedutora a Joe, ostentava então o ar de uma prostituta cansada que só queria dar a noite por acabada." (página 26) 4. Um homem a comentar a obra de um escritor (que afinal é de uma escritora) "Misturas todo esse feminismo, se é que queres chamar-lhe isso... se bem que a imagem que me provoca é a de fufas com motosserras." (página 30) 5. As gracinhas do menino com um QI ao nível da Família Glass de Salinger "uma vez atormentou uma professora, dizendo-lhe que tinha um bigode à Hitler e que nenhum homem haveria de gostar dela. Ela tinha ficado com medo de que isso fosse verdade e faltara à escola durante uma semana." (página 112) Conclusão: as mulheres referidas neste romance ou são feias, ou são putas, ou aberrações por serem católicas e austeras. Claro que a excepção é a narradora: bonita, inteligente, casou com o homem com que perdeu a virgindade e nunca lhe foi infiel (quando fez sexo em grupo, não conta porque foi uma "visita de estudo" para um novo romance e o esposo estava a ver). Resumo desta porcaria, com todos os spoilers: Na década de 50, uma estudante apaixona-se por um professor, porque ele leu numa aula "O Morto" de James Joyce. Um dia, o professor pede à aluna para tomar conta da bebé dele porque precisa de sair com a mulher e aí a moça aproveita para vasculhar as gavetas e analisar o diafragma da mulher do professor. Noutro dia, encontram-se na escola, ele põe-lhe as mãos nos ombros, beija-a e ela quase tem um orgasmo. Pouco tempo depois, ele pede-lhe para levar a passear o cão de um amigo, aparece lá em casa e vão-se deitar. Quando a mulher dele descobre a infidelidade, atira com uma noz à testa da rival, ele divorcia-se e foge com a aluna, que aproveitou para abandonar os estudos. Casam, têm três filhos e vivem juntos mais de quarenta anos. Ele torna-se um escritor famoso e ela uma esposa dedicada. São muito felizes até ao dia em que ela, numa viagem de avião para Helsínquia, onde o acompanha para receber um prémio literário, decide abandoná-lo e revelar um segredo: ele não escreve porra nenhuma! Foi ela que, durante anos, lhe escreveu os romances, pelos quais ele até recebeu um Pulitzer. Ora, quando ela ameaça pôr a boca no trombone, o homem fina-se e a viúva, muito desgostosa, decide calar-se. Quanto a mim, esta história não tem ponta por onde se lhe pegue. Uma mulher com talento a ser parasitada por um marido que a trai constantemente. Porquê? 1) Porque é pobre e não tem condições para subsistir sozinha? Não. Ela é escritora, e das boas. 2) Por causa dos filhos? Não me pareceu que lhe importassem muito. 3) Porque ele é violento? Não é o caso. 4) Porque ele tem um pénis muito grande (tamanho referido pelo menos duas vezes)? Pouco provável, tendo em conta a cena do beijinho... 5) Porque no Século XX (e nos outros todos) as mulheres (os homens também) têm de lutar muito para saírem da mediocridade? Verdade. Mas se o objectivo deste romance era fazer sobressair essa questão, falhou completamente. Para terminar deixo uma frase negativa referente a um homem (mas só percebo a parte que diz que é velho, o resto não sei o que é): "agora estava velho, como um heteroenxerto protético porcino a refrear-lhe o orgulho espetado como um cravo no seu coração, e de alguma forma memórias suínas tinham-se instalado no seu cérebro: imagens felizes de foçar entre nectarinas e ténis velhos." (página 102)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Crytzer Fry

    ***UPDATE: I saw the movie on Monday and loved it. Thought it was so interesting to see the decisions made by the screen writers regarding what themes to beef up, which aspects of the characters' personalities to highlight or to soften. And even some of the bigger details were changed completely. Glenn Close deserves the accolades she is getting for this performance.*** I picked this book for our book club, as I thought it would be so much fun to have a corresponding “go to the movies night” to c ***UPDATE: I saw the movie on Monday and loved it. Thought it was so interesting to see the decisions made by the screen writers regarding what themes to beef up, which aspects of the characters' personalities to highlight or to soften. And even some of the bigger details were changed completely. Glenn Close deserves the accolades she is getting for this performance.*** I picked this book for our book club, as I thought it would be so much fun to have a corresponding “go to the movies night” to compare the novel with the new movie featuring Glenn Close. Unfortunately, the movie’s actual release date was way later than advertised and won’t allow us to see it in theaters together or to see it as streaming by this weekend’s book club. At any rate -- I’d never read a Meg Wolitzer book, and I have to say: I’m impressed with the whip-smart writing, the descriptive and unique metaphors, and the story… Writers may appreciate this book more than anyone – and my book club event will determine if that is the case – but I think there are parts of this story that will resonate with almost any woman. In fact, I’m downright excited for the upcoming discourse. With discussion questions like, “Discuss the quiet power of wives, particularly during the late ‘50s, when Joan is initiated into wifehood. Do you think the power wives wield is more visible today?,” I think we’ll have plenty to talk about! Main character Joan’s comments are caustic and, so often, laugh-out-loud funny that my husband had to ask why I was chuckling as I was reading. “Nothing, nothing,” I’d say, as Joan continued with her philosophy of “the great men.” The author’s descriptions of common sights and occurrences, told through Joan’s eyes -- with vivid metaphor -- are classic. I highlighted a lot of passages in this novel. Consider: “… she was always powdered and perfumed and large but noble: a sofa that walked.” “Apparently the world was full of girls like this, each of them simmering in her own stewpot, waiting to be savored by the men who would come by, lift their lids, and inhale.” Of the literary prize her husband wins: “Maybe other life-forms give out awards, too, and we just don’t know it: Best All-Round Flatworm; Most Helpful Crow.” “When you watch your husband’s colon at work, at play, see the shy, starburst retraction of his sphincter, the amble of barium through an endless human hose, then you know that he is truly yours, and you are his.” Not to be misunderstood: this is a serious book with serious themes about 'the wife’s' role in a relationship, about equality, about her own self-identity, about choices made, about regret, about resentment. In fact, with everything that is going on in light of women’s rights in the United States today, the timing couldn’t be better for the movie (Not coincidental, to be sure, since this book was published back in 2004). When I finally see the movie, I may pop back in to share thoughts of big-screen vs. print! I really enjoyed this novel and can’t wait to see Close’s performance of Joan!

  10. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    3.75 stars Having never read Meg Wolitzer before I was pleasantly surprised. Her mastery of characters is rich and fulfilling. This story, based mostly on two people, progresses slowly in the beginning, like trying to climb a smooth boulder, then turns into something far more subtle and powerful. This novel covers over forty years of a marriage - one, you may say was one-sided. But after a series of disclosures, the novel ends with it's own unique surprise, buoyed by a profound balancing act, mak 3.75 stars Having never read Meg Wolitzer before I was pleasantly surprised. Her mastery of characters is rich and fulfilling. This story, based mostly on two people, progresses slowly in the beginning, like trying to climb a smooth boulder, then turns into something far more subtle and powerful. This novel covers over forty years of a marriage - one, you may say was one-sided. But after a series of disclosures, the novel ends with it's own unique surprise, buoyed by a profound balancing act, making this a love story of understanding and compassion.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cher

    3 stars - It was good. What an odd, despondent little book. This was the first book I have read by Wolitzer and I was struck by her unique writing style - very candid and frank, yet at the same time ornate and flowery. Sounds like an oxymoron, I know, but it is the best way I can describe it. Her distinctive writing style is enough to make me want to pick up another book by her. This particular story, however, became slow somewhere on the back 1/2, and the big "reveal" at the ending was obvious t 3 stars - It was good. What an odd, despondent little book. This was the first book I have read by Wolitzer and I was struck by her unique writing style - very candid and frank, yet at the same time ornate and flowery. Sounds like an oxymoron, I know, but it is the best way I can describe it. Her distinctive writing style is enough to make me want to pick up another book by her. This particular story, however, became slow somewhere on the back 1/2, and the big "reveal" at the ending was obvious to me for the majority of the novel. It was only when I read the questions in the reader's guide at the end that I even realized it was supposed to be a surprise to the reader. ------------------------ Favorite Quote: You say it's only temporary, but life is temporary. First Sentence: The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought, enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean, hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I didn’t love this the way that I expected to, given the breathlessness that has seemed to surround it. The end was certainly, as advertised, pretty compelling and something I wrestled with for awhile before I could drift off to sleep last night. But I did not love the writing in any consistent way. For every excellent line there were three heavy handed and overwrought metaphors and insights that my kindle tells me many people highlighted but none of which struck me as especially memorable. The I didn’t love this the way that I expected to, given the breathlessness that has seemed to surround it. The end was certainly, as advertised, pretty compelling and something I wrestled with for awhile before I could drift off to sleep last night. But I did not love the writing in any consistent way. For every excellent line there were three heavy handed and overwrought metaphors and insights that my kindle tells me many people highlighted but none of which struck me as especially memorable. The why of the whole thing, which it absolutely hinges on, never quite sold itself to me, and I’m very very into marriage stories about the deal of the whole thing and why it matters. But that’s probably partly a result of the writing and not being able to invest myself in enough things about Joan to go along with her on this one. I felt like this was perhaps a story for someone else? My mother’s older sisters’ generation maybe? I don’t mean for that to sound condescending if it does, I just absolutely cannot wrap my head around the leaps of why and how I’m meant to make with her for me to buy in. I get that it’s an exaggerated version of a thing many wives do in smaller ways every single day and it’s meant to be the horror movie version of following something to a logical conclusion. But, for me, the power of its reveal is long past the point of time where it might be visceral and tell us all something about ourselves. Maybe it’s also class thing? I definitely did not grow up with the generational wealth or culture or politics that might have made the characters recognizable to me? I’m really reaching to see how it could be about me, because I wanted to love this like the rest of you. I can see how it would make for a wonderfully compelling movie, though. I bet Glenn Close kicks ass at it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Célia | Estante de Livros

    Meg Wolitzer tornou-se conhecida dos leitores portugueses depois da publicação de Os Interessantes (Teorema | 2014), ainda que este não tenha sido o primeiro livro da autora a sair por cá; na verdade, A Mulher, agora publicado igualmente pela Teorema, já tinha conhecido uma edição portuguesa em 2009, pela editora Caleidoscópio. A Mulher é narrado na primeira pessoa por Joan Castleman, uma sexagenária casada com o famoso escritor Joe Castleman. No início da narrativa, encontramo-los num avião rum Meg Wolitzer tornou-se conhecida dos leitores portugueses depois da publicação de Os Interessantes (Teorema | 2014), ainda que este não tenha sido o primeiro livro da autora a sair por cá; na verdade, A Mulher, agora publicado igualmente pela Teorema, já tinha conhecido uma edição portuguesa em 2009, pela editora Caleidoscópio. A Mulher é narrado na primeira pessoa por Joan Castleman, uma sexagenária casada com o famoso escritor Joe Castleman. No início da narrativa, encontramo-los num avião rumo à Finlândia, onde Joe se prepara para receber um importante prémio literário; e é aí, acima das nuvens, que Joan decide que a sua vida de casada chegou ao fim. O espaço de tempo entre o fim dessa viagem e a estadia no país nórdico serve para a narradora relembrar a sua vida com Joe, desde que se conheceram – ele era professor dela na universidade – percorrendo toda a carreira dele até aos dias de hoje, e o papel que ela desempenhou naquela vida sempre cheia de viagens e eventos. Joan cresceu e viveu num período em que as mulheres eram vistas praticamente como acessórios sem vida própria, que deveriam viver para o marido, os filhos e a casa; e ela pareceu aceitar esse papel resignadamente, como se a sua pessoa não pudesse existir de forma verdadeira sem Joe – “eu continuava a sentir que, de nós os dois, era ele o importante, e eu estava inacabada. Ele poderia acabar-me, pensei; poderia proporcionar-me as coisas de que eu precisava para me tornar de facto uma pessoa completa.” Apesar das suas capacidades de escrita, reveladas ainda cedo, Joan aceita de forma natural o destino de “mulher de”, adaptando a sua posição aos hábitos dos anos 1950: “eu não queria jogar no mesmo campo que os homens; nunca me teria sentido confortável e não seria capaz de competir. O meu mundo não era suficientemente grande, suficientemente abrangente, suficientemente dramático, e os temas ao meu dispor eram escassos. Eu tinha noção dos meus limites.“ Confesso que o sentimento de resignação chega a ser revoltante e é-o ainda mais quando chegamos ao final do livro e tomamos conhecimento de todos os factos da relação entre Joan e Joe; adivinhavam-se cedo na história, mas a sua magnitude impressiona e faz-nos desejar que Joan tivesse tomado uma atitude mais cedo. Apesar de destacar a posição submissa de uma mulher notável, A Mulher é profundamente feminista, uma vez que condensa em Joan as vozes de tantas e tantas mulheres que sacrificaram os seus talentos e gostos pessoais em prol de valores que a sociedade entendeu serem mais importantes. Felizmente os tempos mudaram para melhor nesse aspecto, apesar de haver ainda muito por fazer. Agora quero muito ler Os Interessantes! Toda a gente precisa de uma mulher; até as mulheres precisam de mulheres. As mulheres cuidam, pairam. Os seus ouvidos são instrumentos gémeos e sensíveis, satélites que detetam o mínimo traço de insatisfação. Nós, as mulheres, levamos caldo, levamos clipes, levamo-nos a nós mesmas e aos nossos corpos flexíveis e quentes. Sabemos o que dizer aos homens que, por algum motivo, têm uma grande dificuldade em cuidar consistentemente de si mesmos, ou seja de quem for.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Yulia

    I'm sick of the lovelorn and unrequited: give me a woman who can't stand her husband, oddly enough, brought to my attention many years ago by my father, who always knows a a good author when he reads one, despite his congenital misogyny. I'm in love so far, complete love, like a Philip Roth novel if Philip Roth weren't so flawed and frustrating. Bad analogy perhaps but she has the same comfort with describing male0-female interactions, a biting sense of humor, a lack of shame regarding human wea I'm sick of the lovelorn and unrequited: give me a woman who can't stand her husband, oddly enough, brought to my attention many years ago by my father, who always knows a a good author when he reads one, despite his congenital misogyny. I'm in love so far, complete love, like a Philip Roth novel if Philip Roth weren't so flawed and frustrating. Bad analogy perhaps but she has the same comfort with describing male0-female interactions, a biting sense of humor, a lack of shame regarding human weaknesses. My brows were furrowed just ten minutes ago and Frank asked what was wrong. "Oh, it's something in the book, very disturbing." "Is it that good?" "Yes, definitely, so far at least." The scene in which Joan reads Joe's short story is is asked what she thought of it reminds me of when a former ENglish teacher sent me something he'd written. It'd already been published in the school alumni magazine, so it was too late to offer constructive criticism (it could never be made into a great piece, just a competent one), so I instead focused on the argument he was making and spent paragraphs refuting his position. Not wise perhaps, but he never did send me another piece to comment on again, thankfully. Was he expecting me to be in awe? I'm a grown girl, you know. Hmm, once her husband comes out with his first novel, it becomes very predictable, less satirical, less fresh, even forced. Wow, he had no problems becoming instantly famous? How convenient. I may be envious, but my envy is draped with great doubt. Her book needs him to be instantly successful, and so he is. It doesn't fit her plot to struggle for more than a chapter. I suppose I shouldn't have wanted realism in this book, but she'd raised my hopes so high with her start, I'm wondering if she can salvage it in the last quarter. Please do. No SPOILER, but the end was a cop-out, completely, making me wonder why Wolitzer had built up so much to let the reader down. Was she not up to the challenge? Perhaps, but I feel greatly let down, and just after the book had become not funny, but inspiring, rousing, motivating. Erg. I'll have to convince myself it was the only appropriate answer for her character, who'd always lived a fearful, appropriate life. The lesson? Don't expect much from the fearful and appropriate.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mindy

    I'm in love with this author's writing. I can't wait to read more of her work. The writing deserves 5 stars. I didn't love where the story went at the end though, so I'm going with 4 stars. Instead of going into the plot, I'm going to leave a quote that says so much about this story. "Joe once told me he felt a little sorry for women, who only got husbands. Husbands tried to help by giving answers, being logical, stubbornly applying force as though it were a glue gun. Or else they didn't try to h I'm in love with this author's writing. I can't wait to read more of her work. The writing deserves 5 stars. I didn't love where the story went at the end though, so I'm going with 4 stars. Instead of going into the plot, I'm going to leave a quote that says so much about this story. "Joe once told me he felt a little sorry for women, who only got husbands. Husbands tried to help by giving answers, being logical, stubbornly applying force as though it were a glue gun. Or else they didn't try to help at all, for they were somewhere else entirely, out walking in the world by themselves. But wives, oh wives, when they weren't being bitter or melancholy or counting the beads on their abacus of disappointment, they could take care of you with delicate and effortless ease."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    This book is fantastic. I love the unique perspective of the protagonist: an introspective and talented woman who grew up in the 50s who spends her life married to a famous novelist who is really nothing more than a big kid. She makes a decision that historically stymes feminists, but this book gives her perspective in a fresh and convincing new way. She's got fresh, beautiful ways of looking at things that are so perfect and sharp and spot-on that it leaves you wondering why you hadn't come to t This book is fantastic. I love the unique perspective of the protagonist: an introspective and talented woman who grew up in the 50s who spends her life married to a famous novelist who is really nothing more than a big kid. She makes a decision that historically stymes feminists, but this book gives her perspective in a fresh and convincing new way. She's got fresh, beautiful ways of looking at things that are so perfect and sharp and spot-on that it leaves you wondering why you hadn't come to the same conclusion ages ago. (It's ironic that she addresses the question of why men often, although timelessly, attempt to write epic, huge, earth shattering books and women stick closer to what they know - and the arrogance inherent in this style of writing; this has been somewhat of a lingering discussion I've had w/ some of my reader friends...) Some critics compare her to John Updike, with which I agree - he's an author that makes some women angry, and i'd like to hear what men think of this book - what empowers one enrages another. Fantastic book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caryn

    One of the most accurate portrayals of marriage I've read. And my favorite line: "Everyone needs a wife. Wives need wives." That really resonated with me. So true!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Inês

    Podia ter gostado muito deste livro, mas acabou por deixar-me um pouco desiludida. Todas as preocupações feministas que estão por detrás do enredo (e muito interessantes) ficam prejudicadas por uma construção algo deficiente e previsível. Ainda assim, vale a pena ler, sobretudo a primeira metade, por aquilo que tenta trazer à discussão.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Faye*

    Ich habe mir "Die Ehefrau" als eAudio von der Bücherei ausgeliehen, weil mir "The Interestings" von Wolitzer schon sehr gut gefallen hatte. "Die Ehefrau" ist die Geschichte der Ehe von Joe und Joan Castleman, die allmählich zu Ende geht. Das Buch war ganz interessant, aber für mich nicht fesselnd genug - hätte man mich nach der Hälfte gezwungen, das Buch abzubrechen, hätte mich das wahrscheinlich kurz geärgert, mich aber auch nicht groß aufgeregt. Die Geschichte plätscherte irgendwie so dahin, d Ich habe mir "Die Ehefrau" als eAudio von der Bücherei ausgeliehen, weil mir "The Interestings" von Wolitzer schon sehr gut gefallen hatte. "Die Ehefrau" ist die Geschichte der Ehe von Joe und Joan Castleman, die allmählich zu Ende geht. Das Buch war ganz interessant, aber für mich nicht fesselnd genug - hätte man mich nach der Hälfte gezwungen, das Buch abzubrechen, hätte mich das wahrscheinlich kurz geärgert, mich aber auch nicht groß aufgeregt. Die Geschichte plätscherte irgendwie so dahin, der "plot twist" am Ende war von Beginn an vorhersehbar (und ob des Endes noch ärgerlicher als gedacht), Wolitzers Schreibstil sprach mich jedoch wie schon bei "The Interestings" sehr an. Alles in allem ein solides, ja eigentlich ein gutes Buch, von dem ich mir ein wenig mehr erhofft hatte. Was "mehr" kann ich selbst nicht so genau sagen, Spannung vielleicht? Oder Sympathie für die Charaktere? Nichtsdestotrotz wird das, denke ich, nicht mein letzter Wolitzer gewesen sein.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elysabeth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found this book extraordinarily intersting. As someone who has wrestled with the idea of the sense of self in a marriage, and what it might mean to lose that sense, this book perfectly reflects (though maybe not allays...) my fears. I think that in some ways, the history that unfolds in this book gives the reader a clear sense of Joan Castleman's choices. It also becomes clear what kind of man Joe Castleman is, and how he persuaded his wife to do his work for him. Because of the time reference I found this book extraordinarily intersting. As someone who has wrestled with the idea of the sense of self in a marriage, and what it might mean to lose that sense, this book perfectly reflects (though maybe not allays...) my fears. I think that in some ways, the history that unfolds in this book gives the reader a clear sense of Joan Castleman's choices. It also becomes clear what kind of man Joe Castleman is, and how he persuaded his wife to do his work for him. Because of the time references that exist in this book, I'm not surprised with the outcome. I think the one thing preventing me from giving this book its fifth star is the ending--it is so clear that in order to maintain some sort of integrity, they'd have to "kill off" Joe, and make Joan grieve, instead of being pissed off. I would love to know what could have happened to this writer, had he been exposed for what he really was. I didn't find his death very gratifying, and it almost stunted me, as a reader to lose that character without any closure.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    This is the first book I've read by Meg Wolitzer. It's very well written and I almost gave it 4 stars. I liked the way Joan (the titular wife of the story) flashed back to the beginning of her life with Joe and the present day. I'm looking forward to seeing the film version. I hear great things about Glenn Close's performance as Joan. I liked this book but it wasn't quite as good as I expected it to be.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    This book was interesting, and I can see it being good as a movie (hopefully). I definitely had a disguest for Joe throughout the entire book, and it was definitely realistic in a marraieg where someone doesn't want it to end becuase they don't want change, I think that happens too much. It was told well in some shorter flashbacks and all around a single present time event for an award. A quicker easy read, but nothing spectacular. Solid 3.5 stars.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ifeyinwa

    "In her [daughter's] worldview, bad marriages were simply terminated, like unwanted pregnancies. She knew nothing of this subculture of women who stayed, women who couldn't logically explain their allegiances, who held tight because it was the only thing they felt most comfortable doing, the thing they actually liked. She didn't understand the luxury of the familiar, the known: the same hump of back poking up under the cover in bed, the hair tufting in the ear. The husband. A figure you never st "In her [daughter's] worldview, bad marriages were simply terminated, like unwanted pregnancies. She knew nothing of this subculture of women who stayed, women who couldn't logically explain their allegiances, who held tight because it was the only thing they felt most comfortable doing, the thing they actually liked. She didn't understand the luxury of the familiar, the known: the same hump of back poking up under the cover in bed, the hair tufting in the ear. The husband. A figure you never strove toward, never worked yourself up over, but simply lived beside season upon season, which started piling up like bricks, spread thick with sloppy mortar. A marriage bed would rise up between the two of you, a marriage bed, and you would lie in it gracefully." I learned about this novel via the trailer for the film adaptation. Then one of my Twitter faves mentioned that it's one of her favorite books. The combination of the two brought me to this moment. The Wife did not become one of my favorite books, but I did like reading this for the most part. Joan Castleman decides to leave her husband, Joseph, while they are both on a plane to Finland, where he will be awarded a prestigious literary prize. Throughout the novel, we are taken down memory lane, shown how Joan and Joseph met decades ago (he was an English professor of hers, and married), and the author alternates between the past and present to weave a story of how Joan came to be a supporting cast member in the Joseph Castleman show. What did I love about this novel? Meg Wolitzer's use of dry humor in this novel, her writing, and the decision to write about a woman whose ambitions take a backseat to her husband's. What did I not like about this novel? The slow-moving plot that was bogged down by details that I would have better appreciated if they didn't take up so much space and time. At some point, the details became tedious and seemed like filler. I wished the author had not waited till the end to reveal the plot twist. That being said, I did like this novel a fair amount.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cerealflakes

    I had a hard time deciding how many stars to give this one. I ended up giving the author the benefit of the doubt and went with three instead of two. The main character, Joan, was almost unbearable as her older self. I found her much easier to deal with as her younger self. The beginning of the book was about the older characters and I nicknamed them Joe (which, coincidentally was actually the husband's name) and Wendy after Joe and Wendy Whiner. These two were a perfect match for each other. Sh I had a hard time deciding how many stars to give this one. I ended up giving the author the benefit of the doubt and went with three instead of two. The main character, Joan, was almost unbearable as her older self. I found her much easier to deal with as her younger self. The beginning of the book was about the older characters and I nicknamed them Joe (which, coincidentally was actually the husband's name) and Wendy after Joe and Wendy Whiner. These two were a perfect match for each other. She blamed him for her awful marriage and he blamed everyone else for being so ignorant they couldn't appreciate his greatness and overlook his innumerable faults. I had read this book had a surprise ending. The only surprise I had was that the ending wasn't a surprise. The author so strongly hinted at one of the "surprises," I knew it before she concretely said and I didn't see what the author would do without the other "surprise." I did enjoy some of this author's writing, but I didn't find the story very compelling.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I finished The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. I chose this book as a "twofer"- it works for Author of the Month and Off The Shelf, Books on the cover for my Goodreads Book Club. Earlier this week I read LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson, so I was surprised and excited to read the following quote in THE WIFE:- "'How can I just have this one life?' I used to ask my mother incredulously when I was twelve and sat at the dining room table in our apartment..." There were no more surprises or excitement. I underst I finished The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. I chose this book as a "twofer"- it works for Author of the Month and Off The Shelf, Books on the cover for my Goodreads Book Club. Earlier this week I read LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson, so I was surprised and excited to read the following quote in THE WIFE:- "'How can I just have this one life?' I used to ask my mother incredulously when I was twelve and sat at the dining room table in our apartment..." There were no more surprises or excitement. I understand the concept of a male dominant world, especially in the 1950's, 1960's. However, I could not connect with any of the characters, other than feel sorry for the children. 2.5 stars rounded up because I like the cover.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Azita Rassi

    Powerful prose, memorable descriptions, amazing characterization, and a fascinating twist. It was a slow read for me but a delightful one. Unique in many ways.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gabril

    Per tutta la vita Joan è stata fedele al suo ruolo : essere la moglie di Joseph Castleman, scrittore celebre, arrivato al vertice del successo con il riconoscimento internazionale più ambìto (qui premio Helsinki, per non dire Nobel). Ma Joe non ha un vero talento, soltanto molta determinazione. Joan, invece, di talento ne ha da vendere, ma ha anche un amore trepidante e tenace verso il giovane professore universitario di cui è stata allieva e amante. Non sopporta il suo fallimento, sa che la dis Per tutta la vita Joan è stata fedele al suo ruolo : essere la moglie di Joseph Castleman, scrittore celebre, arrivato al vertice del successo con il riconoscimento internazionale più ambìto (qui premio Helsinki, per non dire Nobel). Ma Joe non ha un vero talento, soltanto molta determinazione. Joan, invece, di talento ne ha da vendere, ma ha anche un amore trepidante e tenace verso il giovane professore universitario di cui è stata allieva e amante. Non sopporta il suo fallimento, sa che la disperazione per il mancato genio è compensata dall’entusiasmo di una fervida immaginazione e da una vitalità inesausta e insonne. Decidere di aiutarlo e sostenerlo, essere “la sua metà migliore” passa più dal cuore che dal cervello. Joan assumerà quasi naturalmente il ruolo di vestale, musa, assistente, suggeritrice. Resterà fedele al suo compito, nonostante i dubbi e la consapevolezza. E così trascorre la vita della coppia, arrivano i figli e il successo, ma anche i contrasti, le difficoltà, la proliferazione delle menzogne. Joan è una donna intelligente, vede bene i difetti e le mancanze del marito, a tutti i livelli, e sa che la sua stella splende grazie al fatto che lei ha scelto di stargli vicina, ma in disparte; la vita di lui si espande grazie alla sua vita d’ombra, al suo sacrificio fondamentale. Non è facile accettarlo, i sentimenti si dibattono, si accendono di contrasti; man mano che la celebrità arride alla coppia, via via che l’età aumenta, Joan fatica a recitare il suo ruolo di perfetta mogliettina con il consueto impeccabile stile e si sente sempre più sola, sempre più svuotata. La società nordamericana degli anni 50 è profondamente maschilista, per una donna che aspiri alla scrittura la scalata è improba, a meno di essere “magnifiche e brillanti e legate a uomini importanti come lo era Mary McCarthy”. Scrivere, in realtà, è un’attività tipicamente maschile. “Gli uomini anelavano a una scrittura corazzata, protetta; una struttura muscolare, che non smettesse mai di flettersi e contrarsi. Una scrittura che scegliesse di assimilare il mondo intero, che si trattasse di guerre secolari o di brevi sfuriate nella cucina color avocado di una coppia di provincia”. Sul volo per Helsinki, verso la premiazione che coronerà la carriera di Joe Castleman, Joan ha deciso: lascerà suo marito, il suo compito è concluso; il suo sottile, profondo rancore smetterà di rovinarle la vita. Può ricominciare, ha 64 anni, può riappropriarsi della sua libertà. Adesso è pronta per l’ultima messa in scena. O forse no. La sua insofferenza è palpabile, vicina al limite. Questa storia è raccontata in prima persona da Joan che ripercorre in lunghi flashback tutta la sua vita con Joe. Noi lettori ci avviamo insieme a lei verso l’inevitabile epilogo, dopo avere conosciuto i suoi pensieri e le pieghe segrete del suo mondo affettivo e coniugale. Immaginiamo che, data la situazione, ormai ben chiara, lei abbia davanti solo due possibili soluzioni. Ma non è detto che la scelta passi sempre attraverso la strada chiara della ragione.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    It is easy for many of us today to forget the limitations placed on women in the very recent past; for those who wanted more than the traditional marriage and children, the options were very limited, the exceptions to the rule very few. It is also easy to overlook, until we are somehow confronted in a way that catches us up short, the challenges that remain, and the very real danger of losing all that has been gained. Meg Wolitzer’s book “The Wife” can remind us of both, and it is rather telling It is easy for many of us today to forget the limitations placed on women in the very recent past; for those who wanted more than the traditional marriage and children, the options were very limited, the exceptions to the rule very few. It is also easy to overlook, until we are somehow confronted in a way that catches us up short, the challenges that remain, and the very real danger of losing all that has been gained. Meg Wolitzer’s book “The Wife” can remind us of both, and it is rather telling that the movie version of that book has just now been made. “The Wife” is a very compelling read, even though it may be an oft-told story, of a wife who either hides or abandons her own dreams and talents to thrust all light upon her husband and his accomplishments. Joan is a college student in the 1950’s, and has a blooming talent for writing. Joe Castleman is one of her literature professors at Smith; married and a new father, he obvious loves the adoration he receives from his female students. Their affair leads to his divorce and their marriage; Joan sees her own hopes of a writing career seep away while she cares for their two children, and nurtures Joe’s growing acclaim as an author. This book, and also the movie, actually open as Joan and Joe fly across the Atlantic toward the award ceremony where Joe, now in his 70’s, will be awarded a great literary award, for his body of work across the years. The story alternates between this current scene, and reflects back over various stages in their 40+ years of marriage, with Joan remembering Joe’s numerous affairs, her many sacrifices, and the bonds that remain between them. However, Joan adamantly states that she is not “a victim”, acknowledging that she realizes her own chosen role in this marriage, and the many junctures when she might have turned away, taken a different path. It is only near the very end of the book that Joan seems to gain the true “full” realization of all she has given up, and to become overwhelmed by what that means. However, the book does end with hope, that Joan might still find a new expression of her own dreams, even in the midst of the many losses of the past. The movie, which I saw just last night, for the most part closely follows the book. I loved both. And Glen Close and Jonathan Pryce both have outstanding performances. In an interview, Meg Wolitzer stated that the long delay between the publication of the book and the making of this movie was due to the fact that the story features a woman of a “certain age”, and that studios and financial backers were not interested. So it goes-- This book and movie coupling meets challenge #4, to compare a book and it’s screen adaptation.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ana Duque

    Muy bien escrito, aunque me olía el giro final desde el principio. Me apetece comprobar qué han hecho con la película ahora.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tsvetelina Mareva

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. СРОЙЛЕРИ и за книгата, и за филма! Дълго е :) Купих си книгата покрай прекрасните отзиви за филма и ролята на Глен Клоуз по време на кино-литературния фестивал Синелибри. Реших, че първо искам да прочета книгата и после да изгледам филма. Щом филмът е толкова добър, то тогава какво ли да очаквам от романа? Е, това е един от малкото случаи, в които кино-интерпретацията ми хареса много повече от романа. И то не защото има разминаване в сюжета. Промените във филма са малко, но смея да твърдя, че са о СРОЙЛЕРИ и за книгата, и за филма! Дълго е :) Купих си книгата покрай прекрасните отзиви за филма и ролята на Глен Клоуз по време на кино-литературния фестивал Синелибри. Реших, че първо искам да прочета книгата и после да изгледам филма. Щом филмът е толкова добър, то тогава какво ли да очаквам от романа? Е, това е един от малкото случаи, в които кино-интерпретацията ми хареса много повече от романа. И то не защото има разминаване в сюжета. Промените във филма са малко, но смея да твърдя, че са обрали всички моменти, към които бях скептична при четенето, така че са много намясто. Чудесна режисьорска работа на Бьорн Рунге! Започвам с превода. Не съм специалист и много харесвам работата на Надя Баева, но ми се стори, че тук е имало проблем със сроковете, защото имаше оставени доста неподходящи чуждици, за които на български имаме точни съответствия. На няколко места се среща "комплициран" и "бях релаксирана", което на мен ми звучи ужасно. Предполагам, че поради липса на време, за да излезе книгата за фестивала, са допуснати тези неточности. Иначе като цяло нямам забележки. Това, което не ме удовлетвори обаче, не е самата история, която безспорно е забележителна, а начинът, по който беше разказана. Стилово не можа да ме впечатли Уолицър с този роман, а за мен езикът и стилът са на първо място, за да харесам даден автор и книга. Да кажа с няколко изречения за какво става дума. Писателят Джо Касълман и съпругата му Джоан заминават за Финландия, където ще му бъде връчена една от най-престижните литературни награди. /Във филма това е променено и става дума за Нобеловата награда - много хитър ход, който засилва драматизма на историята./ Докато са в самолета, Джоан решава, че след церемонията ще напусне мъжа си след 40-годишен брак. Всъщност това е началото на книгата. /Във филма това нейно решение през цялото време не става ясно - още един чудесен режисьорски ход според мен./ Ретроспективно ни се представя тяхната история. Джоан е била негова студентка по творческо писане и постепенно се превръща в муза, съпруга и още нещо по пътя му към литературните върхове. Това се случва през 50-те години в САЩ, когато за жените вратите в голямата литература, пък и не само, са били затворени, не официално, разбира се, но както казва Джоан, "Мъжете управляваха света". Така талантливата студентка не намира достатъчно амбиция да се изправи срещу литературното статукво, докато неоткрояващият се с особен писателски потенциал Джо постепенно успява да се утвърди и да стане един от най-успешните романисти на своето поколение. Това, което не ми беше достатъчно в тази книга, определено не беше известната й предсказуемост - нещо, което умело е избегнато във филма. Липсваше ми повече психологизъм при изграждане на персонажите. За мен винаги по-убедително е било представянето на героите чрез по-малко думи и техни мисли, а с повече жестове и действия. Иначе посланията ми изглеждат предварително смлени. Също така мисля, че идеята за все още непостигнатото пълно равенство между половете, беше твърде опростено и прекалено директно внушена. Имаше някои изкуствено драматизирани теми, които, съгласна съм, са актуални, но характеризиращи едно и също семейство, звучат неправдоподобно - и трите деца на Джо и Джоан в крайна сметка се оказват неудовлетворени и по някакъв начин непълноценни, и отново е вмъкната твърде експлоатираната тема за "различните" /едната им дъщеря е с различна сексуална ориентация, сюжетно ненужно според мен/. Тези излишни подробности за децата, звучащи прекалено измислени, също са спестени във филма, където децата са две и ролята на сина е много по-добре преплетена с основната идея на филма. Така че във филма не видях нито една от горепосочените забележки, които доста ме смущаваха, докато четях романа. Глен Клоуз прави наистина впечатляваща роля като Джоан, запълва всички пукнатини, оставени да зеят в книгата, защото в романа нейният образ - ключовият за цялото повествование - от чието лице се води разказът, за мен не беше убедително изграден. Действията и по-точно бездействията й не бяха достатъчно добре обосновани, така че да й повярвам. Да, разбира се, че от сегашната ни перспектива е много трудно да разберем и приемем избора на една нещастна и неудовлетворена жена да продължи непълноценния си брак. Наясно съм, че дори и днес има все още такива жени въпреки променения социален и културен контекст. Тук е моментът да се запитаме дали наистина и доколко сега е различно. Ето че във филма обаче аз повярвах на тази Джоан, изживях нейния живот и я разбрах. Финалът и на книгата, и на филма е много силен. С една дума обобщено, историята си заслужава. Просто усещането ми беше, че не филмът е правен по книгата, а обратното.

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