‘The Wives’ by Tarryn Fisher is a twisty psychological thriller

wives

In this clever and very twisty psychological thriller, we learn about the life of Thursday, which is the day of the week she gets to see her husband. We learn that her husband has two other “wives.” Thursday insists that she is the legal wife and explains that each wife gets to see Seth, the husband, for one day a week. Thursday lives in Seattle while the other two wives live in Portland, and they don’t know each other.

Because it’s a terribly embarrassing situation, Thursday doesn’t make many friends, and she doesn’t tell the truth to any of her friends or family. In fact, she spends a lot of time alone when she’s not working as a nurse. But spending time alone leads Thursday to wondering quite a bit about the life she’s chosen and about the other women in Seth’s life — his other two wives. And when she finds a piece of paper in his pants’ pocket with a name and address on it, she investigates and learns the identity of Monday, one of the other wives.

When she acts on her impulse to learn more about Monday and arranges a meeting, she sees bruises on Monday’s arms. Is Seth abusing Monday? Thursday wants to know. She also begins to try to find Seth’s first wife, a lawyer. And slowly, she uncovers information about both wives. As she learns more about the other women, her feelings for Seth seem to change. She is desperate to find out the truth. Is he violent? Does he abuse Monday, who is pregnant?

Throughout the first part of the story, Thursday obliquely refers to the fact that she was once pregnant. We know something happened, and she now has no hope of ever having a child. That situation apparently caused Seth to look for his third wife, Monday, so that he could have a child. We gradually find out more about Seth’s background and Thursday’s life.

What we have no way of knowing is how much of what Thursday is telling us is the truth. She is relying on what Seth tells her. Is Seth telling the truth? What should we believe? It’s hard to know what the truth is when the truth keeps changing.

Twists and surprises and characters who are not what they appear to be make this a novel that is an enjoyable and quick read. The situation is so unusual, and so distasteful to most of us, that we really want to know how it all ends.

 

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