Marta and Hector have been married for a long time. Through the good and bad; through raising a son and sending him off to life after university. So long, in fact, that Marta finds it difficult to remember her life before Hector. He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife—as advised by a dog-eared manual given to her by Hector’s aloof mother on their wedding day.
But now, something is changing. Small things seem off. A flash seeing of movement in the corner of her eye, elapsed moments that she can’t recall. Visions of a blonde girl in the darkness that only Marta can see. Perhaps she is starting to remember—or perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her. As Marta’s visions persist and her reality grows more disjointed, it’s unclear if the danger lies in the world around her, or in Marta herself. The girl is growing more real every day, and she wants something.
Marta narrates this haunting novel in a way that draws the reader into her confusion. It left me feeling claustrophobic, drawn into her uncertain and unreliable grasp on reality. It’s funny how much I enjoyed this novel, and couldn’t put it down to the point where I read it all in one night and yet I was so unnerved by the narrative that it was hard to get through. It was like seeing something so completely grotesque that I just can’t look away.
Marta is completely isolated aside from her husband and the few visits her adult son makes. She seeks comfort and direction from a housekeeping book her Mother-in-law gave her as a wedding present, reciting the rules in her mind as she carries out her daily tasks in a robotic manner.
Make your home a place of peace and order.
Never bother you husband with domestic matters.
Never question his authority, for he always does what is best for the family, and has your interests at heart.
It is hard to talk about this novel without spoiling it, but I can say that while the ending answers nothing I was still left feeling satisfied. Full of questions, yes, but satisfied.
How to be a Good Wife is an excellent debut album, well worth picking up a copy for yourself!
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!