Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve's probably quite obvious that I'm back at work. I was averaging a book a week and now, three weeks have passed with no new reviews. A few people have even contacted me (which I loved) about what I was reading now. Sorry folks, the whole having to get up early to teach the children how to read is interrupting my own leisurely reading time. I'm hoping once the haze of the beginning lifts, I'll be able to get back into a better reading routing. For now, once or twice a month is probably our max. It saddens me, too.

Without further ado...

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve was given to me in passing. A friend of mine was cleaning out her books and stumbled upon this. Because she was moving, she needed a place for the books to go and allowed me the chance to rummage through the selection. (Don't we love a friend like this!).  I picked up The Pilot's Wife and thumbed through the pages, contemplating on whether or not I wanted to read a book that might be too close to home for me, after all, I am a pilot's wife. I decided to take a chance. I'm glad I did.

Kathryn Lyons fumbles in the dark when a late night knock comes at her door. (I'm not giving anything away here, this is on page one) There is no other way to interpret the stranger on the front porch. Her husband, Jack Lyons, has been killed in a plane accident. Immediately, she is sucked into a tornado of events. How will she cope? How will she tell her daughter? This opening scene is heart-wrechnig, especially if you are parent. You travel with Kathryn on this journey of loss, hoping that behind each turn there is some good news to follow.

As Kathryn, her daughter Mattie, and her grandmother Julia sift through the wreckage of their lives and deflect the horrible stories the media perpetrates during this difficult time, Kathryn begins to wonder if she ever knew Jack at all. Her daughter, a teenager handling the upset in her life the way most teenagers do - with deference and anger and grace depending on which day you catch her - pops off to her mom saying, "How well does anyone every really know anyone else, anyway?". Kathryn assures her daughter and herself that she knew Jack, she knew her husband, but as the novel unfolds, we find that is not true; her daughter's wisdom far beyond her own.

Kathryn Lyons is a character you follow closely as you read. I think this is because you want so much for her, you want just one page, one moment, to have good news; for her to wake up from this nightmare her life has become. Anita Shreve will tease you a bit, but in the end sometimes life is just not fair.

Anita Shreve writes expertly. I felt every emotion, good and bad. Every betrayal leaped off the page into my soul. It is such a well-written novel that I believe anyone would enjoy the reading. It is a women's fiction piece to me and I say this because it's not so literary one has to think all the way through, The Pilot's Wife is a novel with staying power. It was made into a movie in 2002, but didn't boast big name actors. I've not seen the film, and I probably won't; the story in the book was so strong I don't need a visible representation of this work.

The Pilot's Wife was selected for the Oprah Book Club and became an international best-seller.

Anita Shreve is an author I will read again. She's written several books, many of them best-sellers. She says "She loves the novel form and writes only in that genre...The best analogy I can give to describe writing for me is daydreaming," she says. "A certain amount of craft is brought to bear, but the experience feels very dreamlike."

This is a book I would recommend to anyone looking to read a solid story. There is just enough tenderness and love within the mystery and suspense to pull a reader forward, the book is just really good. It's that simple.

For more about Anita Shreve visit her website at

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite novels, Cresta! I've liked many of Anita Shreve's books, but this one really stayed with me.