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The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

The Pilot's Wife (edition 1999)

by Anita Shreve

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6,452110597 (3.34)85
Title:The Pilot's Wife
Authors:Anita Shreve
Info:Abacus (1999), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Fiction, Family drama, Not kept

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The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve


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Tries too hard this book. Fails in the end and I knew what Jack the pilot was up to - not much of a mystery there - failed to move me. ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
Loved it ( )
  Melissa1980 | May 5, 2017 |
Jack, a pilot, is flying a plane when it explodes. His widow tries to figure out what happened on the plane and uncovers something about her husband of sixteen years she did not know about. ( )
  jenn88 | Apr 25, 2017 |
This book was gorgeously written, emotionally gripping, and overall a hauntingly beautiful novel on loss and love and rediscovering people we think we once knew. I don't know what the hell everyone else read because this novel was wonderful and the twists about the pilot's life did not seem contrived at all. Oh well. Still loved it. ( )
  SarahHayes | Feb 20, 2017 |
I think aspects of this novel work really well. The unfolding of the situation in the first part of the novel is handled very well, moving backwards and forwards between the present and the past. I felt as well that Shreve developed the idea of not knowing people properly in a convincing way which gave the book more resonance: ‘She thought about the impossibility of ever knowing another person. About the fragility of the constructs people make . . .’ While the novel makes this dramatically clear as the story unfolds, this theme emerges gradually enough to seem to grow out of the events without being forced.

I like one or two of the passing ideas that Shreve offers. When Kathryn watches Robert playing the piano, she thinks ‘it must have been like this years ago . . . no television, no radio, no videos, just the space of a long white afternoon in which to make one’s own time’.

I didn’t think the dénouement was handled as well. Muire’s Irish background signalled all too early what was going to emerge about the crash and I felt things were drawn out. The incipient romance with Robert began to feel like a bit of inevitable sentimentality and there seemed to emerge a plethora of adjectives junking up the style such as this seemingly unnecessary description: ‘The dining room had wood-paneled wainscoting with a subdued blue wallpaper above it. There was a red oriental on the floor. They were shown to a table in a bow-window framed with heavy drapes . . . The table was laid with heavy white linen, nearly stiff from its pressing, and set with silver and a chine she didn’t recognise . . .’ Similarly we get superfluous descriptions of Irish cottages which makes it seem to me that Shreve had visited the place with the idea of getting details for her setting. And introducing The Troubles near the end didn’t work at all – just too cursory a plot resolution.

So, for me an uneven book – the best was impressive, the worst rather shallow. ( )
  evening | Oct 23, 2016 |
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Book description
A pilot's wife is taught to be prepared for the late-night knock at the door. But when Kathryn Lyons receives word that a plane flown by her husband Jack, has exploded near the coast of Ireland, she confronts the unfathomable-one startling revelation at a time. Soon drawn into a maelstrom of publicity fueled by rumors that Jack led a secret life, Kathryn sets out to learn who her husband really was, whatever that knowledge might cost. Her search propels this taut, impassioned novel as it movingly explores the question: How can we really ever know another person?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316601950, Paperback)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, March 1999: With five novels to her credit, including the acclaimed The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve now offers a skillfully crafted exploration of the long reach of tragedy in The Pilot's Wife. News of Jack Lyons's fatal crash sends his wife into shock and emotional numbness:
Kathryn wished she could manage a coma. Instead, it seemed that quite the opposite had happened: She felt herself to be inside of a private weather system, one in which she was continuously tossed and buffeted by bits of news and information, sometimes chilled by thoughts of what lay immediately ahead, thawed by the kindness of others ... frequently drenched by memories that seemed to have no regard for circumstance or place, and then subjected to the nearly intolerable heat of reporters, photographers and curious on-lookers. It was a weather system with no logic, she had decided, no pattern, no progression, no form.
The situation becomes even more dire when the plane's black box is recovered, pinning responsibility for the crash on Jack. In an attempt to clear his name, Kathryn searches for any and all clues to the hours before the flight. Yet each discovery forces her to realize that she didn't know her husband of 16 years at all. Shreve's complex and highly convincing treatment of Kathryn's dilemma, coupled with intriguing minor characters and an expertly paced plot, makes The Pilot's Wife really take off.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:59 -0400)

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After his plane explodes, a pilot's wife hears rumors that he led a secret life, and she decides to find out who her husband really was.

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