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My Husband: A Novel

My Husband: A Novel

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Couples who don’t love each other anymore don’t care about not catching everything. They think of their exchanges as a text with many holes, and are not unbothered by it; they say it’s no big deal, they’ll fill in the gaps later. I think the need to be exhaustive is proof of love: not wanting to lose a single word”. She’ loves Mondays. People have told her that loving Mondays is a brainiac thing— that only nerds are happy when the weekend is over.

The winner of France’s First Novel Prize, this riveting emotional thriller requires serious willpower to not devour in a single sitting.” Oprah Daily He has always admired how rigorously I note the words I need for my translations in my small notebooks. I have a dozen of them. The red notebook is for terms related to politics and societal debates, the blue one is for terms related to nature and the environment. (That one’s been written in the most; in particular it contains the names of climbing plants in English gardens and the different species of oak trees). They are all placed side by side on the shelf above my desk, but today I notice that one of them has disappeared. I look everywhere for my yellow notebook, which contains vocabulary related to medicine and the history of the sciences, in vain. Living inside this woman’s head was both exhausting and fascinating. Her obsession with her husband, which swings from passion and love to deep revulsion and resentment depending on the day of the week and the color of the day, put me through all the moods. She is utterly fixated and codependent on him and lives to please (and punish) him. Her inner monologue and thought processes about whether her husband loves her, is cheating on her, wants to divorce her, or has discovered her secrets, were almost tipped over the edge into paranoia. For example, she agonizes over his love for their children and friends because spreading his love dilutes his love towards her; she is horrified by his romantic belief of falling more in love daily because it means he doesn’t love her fully at her present.From the outside, she has an enviable life: a successful career, stunning looks, a beautiful house in the suburbs, two healthy children, and most importantly, an ideal husband. After fifteen years together, she is still besotted with him. But she's never quite sure that her passion is reciprocated.

Even though the book is about a woman obsessed with her husband, it's still weirdly feminist in a sense. She openly laments her all-consuming passion and wishes she were more independent, a trait that she tries to pass on to her daughter. She deliberately left a past lover who loved her more for her husband despite knowing that she's agreeing to a permanent power imbalance because she always loves him more, so in a way, she chose this dynamic and that gives her a bit of power, a bit of agency. She also rectifies the power imbalance by punishing her husband when she feels like he's not showing her enough attention, like denying morning cuddles when he doesn't hold her hand during a movie. Obviously, their relationship is unhealthy af and she desperately needs a therapist to deal with her issues, but it's fascinating to see how she claws power for herself in a skewed dynamic that she purposefully chose. Over the course of one week in the narrator's life, we witness her obsessive, oppressive, and jealous love of her husband, 'My husband has no name; he is my husband, he belongs to me'. Over the course of their marriage, she has constantly strived to perfect her relationship by being perfect, 'Otherwise, I will only have myself to blame if my husband stops wanting to come home.' But she is no cowering walk-over. In fact, she keeps a journal citing all of her husband's infractions and their resulting punishments. As the book progresses through the week, you begin to question just what's going on. Is she the predator or the prey? Is she unhinged or simply neurotic? Does her husband love her or is she trying to force him to love her? Every day offers a new perspective. I loved the ending. What a twist! He's just taking advantage of how much she needs him. They are both so messed up they deserve each other.

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Throughout the book, she talks very highly of her husband but her insecurities and unhealthy obsession slowly unravels the farther I progressed through the book. She would never refer to her husband by his name, she only referred to him as “my husband” which treads into the territory of iconizing and objectifying him. After a certain time, I feel that her husband begins to lose the feeling of him being an actual individual and more of an entity of her imagination. The main character is captivated with the idea of being the only person for her husband and detests having to spend time with friends or family because she sees her husband to be enough for her but takes offense when her husband wants to spend time with their mutual friends. This form of obsession even affects her ability to parent, she doesn’t have the motherly instinct many mothers would have towards their children. She states that she would be fine without them and that’s telling of how dependent she is on her husband’s every move. I really enjoyed the themes and flow of the story, it progressed smoothly and I didn’t feel like anything should’ve been added or omitted. Maud Ventura excellently showcased a story where one individual with obsessive and controlling thoughts did things that she shouldn’t have done. The hypocrisy and justification of the character’s actions was wild to say the least but added to the character and story development. Fans of Caroline Kepnes' You (2014) or Gillian Flynn will find My Husband to be a new, satisfying, and unnerving take on the relationship-suspense genre." Starred Booklist

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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