Tuesday, January 23, 2018

"The Wife"

Alafair Burke is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels include the standalone thrillers The Ex, Long Gone and If You Were Here, and the Ellie Hatcher series: All Day and a Night, Never Tell, 212, Angel’s Tip, and Dead Connection. She is also the coauthor of the Under Suspicion series with Mary Higgins Clark. A former prosecutor, she is now a professor of criminal law and lives in Manhattan.

Burke applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Wife, and reported the following:
Every story is framed by the details we choose to emphasize and those we choose to exclude. But when stories seem incomprehensible -- our beloved, sweater-wearing Dr. Huxtable drugs women with Quaaludes for sex, or a young woman in the adjacent town is kidnapped as she walks home from a party -- we grasp for any details that might cushion our own lives with a sense of security.

Angela Powell knows better than most how we search for ways to distance ourselves from those who suffer the consequences of crime. Page 69 gives context to the dark incident that stole years from Angela’s young life. She acknowledges that her own story, when told a particular way, highlighting certain details and brushing over others, can be used to explain her fate. She cut class. She hung around with a girl who bred trouble. She found herself in a crashed BMW with an older man—a stranger. These indicting facts compel us to see her as an “other.” We’ll say we don’t blame the victim, but we look for ways we can explain their situation—anything that differentiates them from us and allows us to hold on to our comfort. She knows that anyone reading her story will point to her rowdy adolescent behavior and say, “It’s awful, but thankfully that kind of thing only happens to kids who make bad choices.” What happened to her won’t happen to us, which means we can still sleep at night.

Even though she was an “innocent” victim, Angela realizes how she looks under a microscope. And because she has experience in victim-blaming herself, the role comes naturally when a new set of victims come to her attention – this time accusing her own husband of misconduct. She can believe her husband, or she can believe the women—but not both.
Visit Alafair Burke's website.

--Marshal Zeringue