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The Echo Wife

by Sarah Gailey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9738321,427 (3.71)76
"'When they said all happy families are alike, I don't think this is what they meant...' Evelyn Caldwell's husband Nathan has been having an affair - with Evelyn Caldwell. Or, to be exact, with a genetically cloned replica. After a morning that begins with a confrontation and ends with Nathan's body bleeding out on the kitchen floor, the two Caldwell wives will have to think fast-before sharing everything includes sharing a jail cell. The Echo Wife is a non-stop thrill ride of lies, betrayal, and identity, perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and Killing Eve"--… (more)
  1. 20
    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (zembla)
    zembla: Domestic thrillers focused on relationship dynamics and juicy themes.
  2. 20
    The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both are more interested in characters and themes than in the sci fi elements.
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» See also 76 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book. I borrowed this on audiobook from my library.

Thoughts: I had this book on my wishlist to read for quite awhile because the premise sounded intriguing to me. Previous to reading this I had read Gailey's "Upright Women Wanted" which I also enjoyed. I also just finished reading "The River of Teeth" which I also enjoyed. I enjoyed the very beginning of this book but then things went down hill fast. I ended up actively disliking this book and almost didn't finish it.

Evelyn is a geneticist that is working on making temporary human clones as stand-ins for real people (for things like safety reasons where a body double is needed). Then Evelyn finds out her husband is cheating on her with a clone, Martine, he made from her DNA and tweaked to be everything he wanted Evelyn to be. When Martine starts asking questions that Evelyn's husband dislikes he tries to kill Martine, but Martine kills him first. Martine calls Evelyn for help but now everything is a mess...Martine doesn't even legally exist and there's a dead husband to deal with.

This was an intriguing premise but the characters were very unlikable and their were too many inconsistencies. Everyone in this book was an equal opportunity ass. Evelyn constantly complains about her husband's sloppy work, but then repeatedly does things that are even sloppier. Evelyn seems like she is supposed to be a smart woman, but why does she make so many dumb choices? For example, why did Evelyn decide to bury her husband's body in the backyard? I mean duh, why would you do that?

Also there were huge inconsistencies here. Why didn't Evelyn find the other surprises in the backyard when she was burying her husband there? Why was the plot line with the baby's immposibility and the health of the baby such a big deal and then it was basically dropped?

In the end, despite this being an intriguing premise this ended up being just flat out boring and poorly plotted. Lots of page space is dedicated to Evelyn reminiscing about how her marriage went wrong and blaming herself for it, when it was very obvious that it was both her and her husband that broke that union. Also a lot of page space spent with Evelyn rethinking her life and her childhood. Additionally, there is a lot of detail about day to day work in the lab, which don't get me wrong I worked in a lab for 25 years and it can be interesting, but this was overdone in this story.

I kept waiting for something, anything...to happen. There were so many ways this story could have turned into an engaging genetic thriller that had you on the edge of your seat. But, none of those things happened. The book just kind of ended and honestly made me feel like I had wasted my time. This could have been an amazing short story or short novealla, but as a full length book it was sorely lacking.

I listened to this on audiobook and the narration was decently done, no complaints with it.

My Summary (2/5): Overall if this had been the first book by Gailey I had read I wouldn't have picked up any more of her books. Hopefully, this one is just a dud (although it seems to be one of her more popular books). I plan on finishing the second novella in The River of Teeth series. I would recommend both "River of Teeth" and "Upright Women Wanted" over this book. This book was so bad; slow, inconsistent, awful characters, nonsensical plot and absolutely no closure. ( )
  krau0098 | Mar 7, 2024 |
Creepy. Excellent unlikable characters. ( )
  mslibrarynerd | Jan 13, 2024 |
This was absolutely beautiful. I LOVED it. The storyline is interesting to begin with, but the execution was absolutely flawless. I loved the writing style, both direct and introspective, flowing effortlessly from ruminations about the past to the practicalities of the present. I loved the character building. Evelyn's character shines through very strongly, and she is admirable, if not always perfect. I can see why her marriage didn't work, for she is formidable and passionate and driven, and follows her desires without compromise. She is aware of some of her flaws, but is not apologetic about it.
I understand this story is different from her other work, which makes sense when you read it, but I will definitely try more of her work.
Oh, if you read this, make sure to read the afterword. It was impressive. ( )
  zjakkelien | Jan 2, 2024 |
An eerie thriller that mixes science, bioethics, and murder - this scratched a fictional niche itch I didn‘t even know I had. What happens when a wife, famous for perfecting cloning technology loses her husband to a clone …of herself? How deep do secrets go when that technology is misused? Xe Sands narrates the audio in an emotionless way that emphasizes the main character‘s predominantly analytical nature which adds to the eerie mood of the book. Excellent! ( )
  yourotherleft | Dec 31, 2023 |
Oooooof. This one hit home. ( )
  g33kgrrl | Nov 24, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (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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"'When they said all happy families are alike, I don't think this is what they meant...' Evelyn Caldwell's husband Nathan has been having an affair - with Evelyn Caldwell. Or, to be exact, with a genetically cloned replica. After a morning that begins with a confrontation and ends with Nathan's body bleeding out on the kitchen floor, the two Caldwell wives will have to think fast-before sharing everything includes sharing a jail cell. The Echo Wife is a non-stop thrill ride of lies, betrayal, and identity, perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and Killing Eve"--

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Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be.

And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.

Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and both Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up.

Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.
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