Novel About My Wife, By Emily Perkins

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The Independent Culture

Tom, a wanabee scriptwriter and Ann, a transplanted antipodean, can't really afford to live in London, but they still can't imagine living anywhere else. Opting for a house in an ungentrified part of Hackney, the couple ward off the outside world with organic food and expensive soap, and await the birth of their first child.

But when Novel About My Wife opens, we know that Ann has gone, and that Tom can't stop thinking about her. In a narrative acrid with bitterness, Tom tracks the distance that parenthood wedges between himself and his soon-to-be departed wife. The author, a New Zealander by birth, is a shrewd and entertaining observer of English metropolitan types. What she has in store for her anxious aspirants is a fate much deadlier than debt or divorce.