This book disturbed me so profoundly that I had to sit in the sunshine, cuddle my (nice, normal, stable) husband and take a hot shower, just to get through it. Unusually good writing and familiar, flawed, screwy characters notwithstanding, Novel About My Wife is hard to read – and not just because I’m a relative newlywed.
To sum it up, it’s about a charming neurotic, Tom (“skinnyish, fortyish, English”), with a deeply disturbed but beautiful Australian wife, Ann, and how her psychological demons take over their happy hippie lives.
If you like a book to get inside your head and stay there for a while, unbidden, this one’s for you. And yes, I do have one unqualified ‘nice thing’ to say about it: Emily Perkins writes her male protagonist so convincingly and with such absolute authenticity, that I googled her in case she’d used a misleading pseudonym.
But be warned…
If the intermittent flashbacks throw you off as much as they did me, you may have to read this novel twice – something I simply don’t have the heart for.