March 21, 2010

The Wife's Tale - Lori Lansens

OK - after a week or so of re-reading, I polished off the new book by Lori Lansens in 4 days flat. Admittedly, two of those days were weekend days, but they were busy weekend days! I loved her first novel, Rush Home Road, and quite liked her second novel The Girls (though it didn't stay with me the way that Rush Home Road did). I'm not quite sure yet of my verdict on The Wife's Tale.

At first, I was completely drawn into the story, as well as the characters, but as time went on, some shades of disillusionment crept in. The plot ticked along just a bit too neatly. And then I was not happy with the ending. It was almost as though the publisher told the author, "Thou shalt not exceed 375 pages," and so the book just ended with no resolution of any of the plot lines or characters. What the...?!

Backing up a little, the book is the story of Mary Gooch, a morbidly obese woman whose husband leaves her the day before their 25th wedding anniversary. But it is really the story of Mary's life - her childhood, teen years, and married years are all woven seamlessly into the story of her trip down to California from rural southern Ontario in search of her missing husband.

Mary is such a well-drawn and believable character that I am sure that she will stay with me over time, I'm just not sure what I think of the story. I would be first in line to buy a sequel though, in order to find out what happens next! Does Mary maintain a healthy relationship with food into the future? What ever did happen to Gooch? What about those headaches that kept popping up at times? What about Ronni and the triplets? And did Eden hook up with Jack's friend?

Has anyone else read this book? What did you think of the ending? Am I missing something?


Buried In Print said...

My experience was very similar to yours by the sounds of it. But I do still love the idea of the community that she's creating, with all the delightful intersections between the three books. Even though this was not my favourite of her books, I thought there were other reading friends who might have felt more strongly towards it than one of the others, and, even though I didn't have that connection, I like knowing that Mary Gooch will be in the neighbourhood (or, will she?!) when I read the next Lori Lansens' novel.

Kate said...

I agree with you about the books intersecting - it was nice to hear about the twins, and the Shadd family over in Rusholme. So yes, I'm sure that we haven't heard the last of Mary Gooch!

natalia said...

I had a different experience - I loved the ending, and the fact that it wasn't neat and tidy. It was uncertain yet hopeful, kinda like life. The Wife's Takle is my favorite book this year, and Lansens is my new favorite writer!

Kate said...

Natalia - I guess that I can see where you are coming from; I just wanted to know more and what happens next. I'm still a huge fan of Lori Lansens - if you haven't already, make sure that you read her earlier novels.