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The Echo Wife

by Sarah Gailey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4174347,950 (3.77)30
Recently added bysmhandy, EvaHamill, Jen_Hickey, private library, KMax29, ImperfectCJ, Feathered-Friend, tatorg, Capfox
  1. 00
    The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both are more interested in characters and themes than in the sci fi elements.
  2. 00
    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (zembla)
    zembla: Domestic thrillers focused on relationship dynamics and juicy themes.

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» See also 30 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
First book for 2022 #ToB done. I devoured this one despite a few nagging things about it. The main character is an interesting mix of self-aware and self-deceptive, and the ethical questions raised are quite juicy, but something about a couple of the relationships feels off to me and the ending didn't fit at all in my estimation. And of course, the science requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. So, fun book in spite of its flaws. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Jan 16, 2022 |
I normally dislike first-person narration, but I found that it worked well as a storytelling device here. There wasn’t a shred of wasted space in this novel; every sentence is integral to the plot or character development. Evelyn is a deeply morally corrupted person, and I found myself hating her at points (a lot of my Kindle highlights for this book had notes along the lines of “GIRL WHAT” and “please for the love of god go to therapy”), but by the end of the book her motives and the trauma behind her actions and thoughts become clear. Evelyn is recounting the events of the book from some time in the future, and her narration is filled with justifications for her actions as well as occasional remarks on what she should have done in certain scenarios. I occasionally found her voice and the way her thoughts were written out to be incredibly annoying, but the unreliable narration is, in my opinion, extremely well done.
A huge theme in this novel is duality or parallels, most blatantly shown via Martine, who is Evelyn’s clone. The dynamic between Evelyn and Martine is reflected over and over in the other relationships in the novel: Evelyn and her father, Evelyn’s parents, Evelyn and Nathan, Martine and Nathan. Another important theme is domestic violence and the cycle of abuse, which goes hand in hand with the overarching theme of parallels: the cruelty of some characters begets the cruelty in others. The actions of certain characters directly mirror the actions of others, and as the novel progresses it becomes easier to see the parallels drawn by both Evelyn as the narrator and the author herself.
Since the main theme of the novel is about clones, it naturally follows that there would be some discussion of ethics. This is where I think the writing succeeds the most; Evelyn’s morals and beliefs around her work with human cloning are in line for her character and add a great deal of context to her actions, but I found them so reprehensible that it made me angry. She does not consider the clones she makes to be human, instead referring to them as “specimens,” and disposing of them (read: killing them once they have served their purpose) is as simple and unremarkable to her as disposing of any other kind of waste. This is especially important to her character when it comes to her relationship with Martine, and she does wrestle with the conflict between her scientific beliefs and her emotional connection to Martine, but I couldn’t get past how deeply corrupt she was. Her characterization in that aspect was so well done that it made me despise her as a character and narrator, which made it hard to truly feel sympathy for her despite understanding why she thought and acted the way she did.
In general, a book that manages to make the reader hate its narrator is either very good or very bad; here, I was torn, because Evelyn’s characterization is well done but I was unsure if the author wanted me to hate her. Sarah Gailey herself is a survivor of abuse, which was discussed in the acknowledgements and makes the context in which the book was written clearer. Owing to that, I’m sure, the themes in this novel were handled well and from an angle I’ve never seen before. I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Gailey’s other books, but I barely remember them now; I don’t think that will be the case with The Echo Wife. ( )
  mateoj | Jan 3, 2022 |
Orphan Black meets Dead To Me. It reads like a good Netflix series - good pace, intriguing plot, surprising twists, and childhood trauma. The main character is a lot like me, which gives me an uncomfortable glimpse into what life would have looked like if I married the wrong person (clones and murder, obviously). ( )
  altricial | Dec 17, 2021 |
Just a lot of thoughts but they are all pretty spoilery

Evelyn thinks that Martine is a better version of herself.

Is Martine better because she was conditioned by Evelyn's abused past?

Yes I think Martine is, because she doesn't have the trauma Evelyn's mother and father imposed on her. This is borne out in the final scene of the book where Evelyn treats Martine almost as badly as her father treated her.

She knows to be quiet while I’m working, too, and to keep the baby as quiet as she can. She knows I need to be able to concentrate.

There is one exception to this rule. Once a week—every week, no matter what—Martine puts the baby down for the night, then knocks on the door to my study. I tell her to come in, and she does, and she sits in the chair on the other side of my desk. She brings a notepad with her. It’s filled with questions, every time. Questions about things she’s been reading, things she doesn’t understand or hasn’t quite put together yet, things I’ve done to her in the course of my research.

This time, once a week, is her time to ask those questions. I answer her as best I can. My father’s hourglass is in the box in the corner. I have no need of the hourglass, because Martine gets more than an hour from me. I answer her questions until the answering’s done, or until the baby wakes.

I’m not a monster.

I’m not a monster. I think that she may well be one but it's not her fault.

Evelyn was Nathan's first failure not the first clone.

( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
Evelyn is kind of a big deal in the scientific world, and the book opens with her getting ready, alone, for a dinner that is honoring her and giving her an award. This is to show you, I guess, how she doesn't need anyone, and still is amazing. In the course of the evening we learn she is separated from her husband, who later we learn is really a selfish, lazy jerk. What she has learned though, is that she has stolen her work (and some of her supplies) to make himself an Evelyn replica, but one a little easier for him to deal with! Evelyn and Martine (clone woman) strike up a pseudo-friendship and deal with the aftermath of Nathan's bad choices. I liked the story, the plot as well as the relationship between all of the characters kept me reading. The ending could have been a little better; it just kinda ended... ( )
  relorenz1064 | Nov 21, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
"Love, death and human cloning have never been brought together so well as they are in The Echo Wife, a fast-paced thriller that is as funny as it is thought-provoking."
added by zembla | editNew Scientist, Robyn Chowdhury (Feb 24, 2021)
"'The Echo Wife' is a unique, thrilling adventure, with truly unexpected twists and turns the whole way through. Lovers of science fiction will no doubt delight in the intricacies of Evelyn’s work laid about by Gailey, who also crafts a compelling tension between Evelyn and Martine as they work to find common ground."
"Sarah Gailey has given us a compelling blockbuster with cerebral complexity. The questions Gailey grapples with are the very essence of what it means to be human, whether we possess self-determination or whether we are fated toward outcomes beyond our control. An intense, engaging novel, The Echo Wife succeeds at both good storytelling and launching into a broader discourse."
"There are no magic wands or post-apocalyptic cults in The Echo Wife, but Gailey nonetheless builds one of their most daring worlds yet — the massive, internal world that forms between two people linked by secrets, lies, hatred, and love. Not to mention that shared, unsettling epiphany of seeing their rawest selves reflected in each other."
added by zembla | editNPR, Jason Heller (Feb 17, 2021)
"... a phenomenal, creepy, significant novel—but it’s a hard read, and wrestling with its implications is harder. The twisting, remorseless plot seamlessly combines domestic thriller with cutting-edge science fiction, dragging the reader along as the Caldwells’ secrets are unearthed one at a time. Sarah Gailey’s incisive prose lends to the suffocating atmosphere that pervades the book, maintaining a heightened state of discomfort that is magnified by thematic explorations of spousal abuse, cloning ethics, and straight-up murder."
added by zembla | editTor.com, Lee Mandelo (Feb 16, 2021)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gailey, Sarahprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sands, XeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staehle, WillCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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