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Single Wife


Single Wife

For most people, marriage is a partnership that evolves over time.
For Grace Brookman, the main character in THE SINGLE WIFE by Nina
Solomon, the union is more like a game of smoke and mirrors. But
the object of the illusion is not only her elusive husband but
herself as well.

In her new novel Solomon addresses a question that partners of both
sexes will recognize: How does a person hold on to her or his
identity after finding a mate and joining two lives?

Grace is a woman who defines herself through her roles as daughter,
wife and friend. But when Laz, her journalist husband, disappears
for more than a month, it sets her on her own course of
self-discovery. And after five months of lying to friends and
family about the whereabouts of her Pulitzer Prize-winning husband,
Grace begins to question not only his presence in her life but the
shape of her life on its own. Early on in their marriage she
shelved her ambitions as a book restorer and artist, accepted Laz's
decision to not have children, and busied herself with errands and
volunteer work.

Yet Laz made none of those compromises. A man who freezes a key to
his own apartment (which he keeps on the other side of town),
disappears for weeks at a time and maintains a full and separate
social schedule, Laz has always had a life of his own. But as weeks
stretch into months, and a birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas
pass without a word from Laz, Grace realizes how little she knows
of that life.

A character with whom readers feel at ease and at home, Grace
volunteers her time, pacifies a difficult mother-in-law, and
dresses to please her self-consumed husband. When she finally sheds
her pink cashmere princess coat for a faux fur hand-me-down, the
reflection in the mirror is one that Grace recognizes and can call
her own. What leads her to that point is an entertaining tale that
volleys heavy issues at readers with a lighthearted swing.

It is a simple story of a woman who covers up her husband's
disappearance in an attempt to allow him his freedom and
subconsciously protect a fragile marriage. As she protects that
bubble more, buffering it from the realities of her own life with
fibs, Grace begins to realize how little her closest friends and
family know her husband and require his presence in their

With several twists and turns, Solomon leads readers on an
entertaining and compelling goose chase to find out where Laz has
gone and whether he will ever return. She weaves elements of
mystery, love story and comedy into this hodgepodge of a novel, the
author's first, that prompts readers to stop and think: Would a few
tossed socks, a rumpled bed sheet, and some well-planned excuses
substitute for a spouse over a five-month span? And if so, how
eager would you be for his or her return?

SINGLE WIFE is a fun book that will leave readers hoping for a

Reviewed by Heather Grimshaw on January 23, 2011

Single Wife
by Nina Solomon

  • Publication Date: June 12, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • ISBN-10: 1565123824
  • ISBN-13: 9781565123823