Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

The morning book group will discuss A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick on Friday, April 1 at 10:30 a.m. All Berkeley Heights residents are welcome to join the library book groups. We'll even borrow a copy of the book for you.

In 1907, a wealthy but lonely businessman puts the following advertisement in newspapers in different cities in the United States:
Country businessman seeks reliable wife. Compelled by practical, not romantic reasons. Reply by letter. Ralph Truitt. Truitt, Wisconsin. Discreet.
The woman who Ralph selects, Catherine Land, is not who she appears to be. But once you think you know about her past and her reasons for replying to the letter, the plot twists again and again. Discussion questions and an interview with the author are available at ReadingGroupGuides.com, not to mention a blog post by Goolrick that's up there too. The interview mentions how Goolrick was inspired by the Greek myth of Phaedra, Theseus and Hypollitus.

One question that made me think is: "How does A Reliable Wife play with the conventions of Gothic novels?" The book group read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier last year, so I know the desolate setting of an isolated mansion is one thing the two have in common. What character from A Reliable Wife is most like Rebecca? Is Ralph Truitt anything like Maxim de Winter?

The Daily Beast's Sara Nelson has a great interview with Robert Goolrick here.

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