The Husband’s Secret

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It has been a while since I have felt so utterly compelled to grab hold of every passing person and insist madly that they read this book. It is such an absorbing read, I ended up narrating the entire plot to my rather confused but much too polite to interrupt boyfriend. He called it Wisteria Lane of Australia and it may as well be so but not without its deliciously wise narrator. Moriarty manages to capture the reader from the very first page with her slow, deliberate and hence agonizing unraveling of plot and just when mid way through the book, I  feel that she has revealed too much too soon, there comes another wave of plot twists that consume.

I will not reveal a word of the plot but reading it is like watching relationships in a test-tube. Adding infidelity, guilt, boredom or murder to it and watching with patient fascination, how they will react. They may react with a sudden effervescence at times, or  a gradual viscosity.  But they managed to hold me captive nonetheless.

We know with the dozen books and movies on the premise that we never really know the people we spend our lives with, at least not completely. And somehow, it is these very secrets that shape our relationships (or the lack of them).

“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It’s probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”

Her depiction of marriage that she describes to be “a form of insanity, love hovering permanently on the edge of aggravation”, in its different forms is compelling and so true it is chilly. As i read the following part, I was transfixed:

“It’s all about our egos. She felt she was on the edge of understanding something important. They could fall in love with fresh, new people, or they could have the courage and humility to tear off some essential layer of themselves and reveal to each other a whole new level of otherness, a level far beyond what sort of music they liked. It seemed to her everyone had too much self-protective pride to truly strip down to their souls in front of their long-term partners. It was easier to pretend there was nothing more to know, to fall into an easygoing companionship. It was almost embarrassing to be truly intimate with your spouse; how could you watch someone floss one minute, and the next minute share your deepest passion or most ridiculous, trite little fears? It was almost easier to talk about that sort of thing before you’d shared a bathroom and a bank account and argued over the packing of the dishwasher.”

I enjoyed reading this one, it is actually my first from an Australian author and I must heartily thank A for introducing me to such an addictive author. As I write this review minutes after I have finished the book, pushing back other thoughts and procrastinating ordering dinner, I feel that familiar sadness that dawns after I complete a good book. that momentary feeling of suspension, of not knowing what to do with myself.

Thankfully she has written four more novels.

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