Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

"The Pilot's Wife" is the story of a woman whose whole life is shattered when her husband, a pilot, dies in a crash. Rumors swirl incessantly around the disaster, some even believe the pilot may have crashed intentionally, in effect committing suicide and taking a plane full of people with him to his watery death.

Desperate to clear her husband's name, Kathryn Lyons embarks on an investigation of her own, only to have her world shatter again. She discovers that her happy marriage of 16 years has been built upon a foundation of lies. Each shocking reveleation leads her to question whether she ever truly knew the man she loved and shared her life with, the father of her only child, at all as each discovery puts even more distance than death already has between them. Death also prevents confrontation and asking him personally the crucial question: "Why?"

For many years, Jack Lyons had been leading a double life, a secret life, guilty of bigamy, with another wife and children in Ireland as a devout Catholic family man. This novel chronicles Kathryn's attempts to make sense of it all and glue her life back together in the aftermath of discovering that the love of her life was a lie.

This was a book that made me think and wonder, having known more than my fair share of human chameleons, why people sometimes choose to live a lie. Is the deception, taking advantage of another person's trust and love, a thrill that gives them an unmatchable high better than any drug? Or is it simply that such people are devoid of conscience? Do they find a special excitement in pulling the wool over the eyes of someone who cares for them? Or is that they just want to create and dwell in their own fantasy world regardless of who it might hurt? I have no answers for these questions, but the book did make me think. It is also a quick and fast-paced read, a good book for a day at the beach or to occupy the time while waiting in the dentist's office.

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