cover image The Wife’s Tale

The Wife’s Tale

Lori Lansens, Author . Little, Brown $24.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-06931-1

Lansens’s hopeful and gentle third novel (after The Girls ), opens in the same fictitious Ontario county as its predecessors, but the heroine’s journey takes her to a vastly different landscape, both literally and spiritually. In Leaford, Mary Gooch’s life is strictly circumscribed—she’s even worn a rut in the carpet between the bed and the kitchen, so often has the 302-pound woman made the trip. So when Mary’s handsome husband disappears on the eve of their silver wedding anniversary, Mary wonders whether her size or her aversion to adventure chased him off. With few clues, Mary leaves her small town for one of the first times in her life, venturing first to Toronto and then to the suburbs of Los Angeles, where a series of encounters with strangers shakes her out of her lethargy. Mary’s journey may be too carefully mapped out, but she’s a wonderful character, and Lansens’s handling of her eventual transformation into someone capable of compassion and acceptance is handled with a light but assured touch. (Feb.)