A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goolrick's novel, an idea which was first explored after he read Wisconsin Death Trip in the 70's, is another of those quick reads that's got a lot of depth at the same time. I flew through this book in two days, mainly because I couldn't wait to see if what I thought was going to happen would.
Ralph Truitt is a Wisconsin businessman living in the small town of his family's name. A man haunted by the ghosts of deeds and relationships past, he puts out a want ad for 'a reliable wife.' Answering the call is Catherine Land, a woman who also has her share of dark corners and regrets.
Together they explore the landscape that may or may not become their lives. Set in one very long Wisconsin winter, the novel delves into an array of relationship dynamics with twists and turns while also giving a glimpse at some of the vignettes that inspired Goolrick to write about a Wisconsin winter in the first place.
The lives that go terribly wrong in the turn of a thought, minds gone mad when the snow sticks around too long.
While it could easily have been a very bizarre tale that took everything just a step too far, I felt like he kept a nice balance between predictable love story and a novel with deception and twists; sex and sexual themes seem to have a heavy hand, but it didn't feel gratuitous.
No spoilers, this is one to delve into post-haste.
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