American Wife

American Wife

3.71 (42,372 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Read by 

List price: US$34.96

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband's presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House-and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, "almost in opposition to itself." A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck. So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie. As Alice learns to make her way amid the clannish energy and smug confidence of the Blackwell family, navigating the strange rituals of their country club and summer estate, she remains uneasy with her newfound good fortune. And when Charlie eventually becomes President, Alice is thrust into a position she did not seek-one of power and influence, privilege and responsibility. As Charlie's tumultuous and controversial second term in the White House wears on, Alice must face contradictions years in the making: How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona? In Alice Blackwell, "New York Times" bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld has created her most dynamic and complex heroine yet. American Wife is a gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and the exigencies of fate into a brilliant tapestry-a novel in which the unexpected becomes inevitable, and the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare. Praise for" American Wife" "Curtis Sittenfeld is an amazing writer, and "American Wife" is a brave and moving novel about the intersection of private and public life in America. Ambitious and humble at the same time, Sittenfeld refuses to trivialize or simplify people, whether real or imagined." -Richard Russo "What a remarkable (and brave) thing: a compassionate, illuminating, and beautifully rendered portrait of a fictional Republican first lady with a life and husband very much like our actual Republican first lady's. Curtis Sittenfeld has written a novel as impressive as it is improbable." -Kurt Andersen "From the Hardcover edition."show more

Product details

  • CD-Audio | 8 pages
  • 124.46 x 147.32 x 30.48mm | 158.76g
  • Random House USA Inc
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Abridged
  • Abridged edition
  • 0739323865
  • 9780739323861
  • 2,186,224

Review quote

"A well-researched book that imagines what lies behind that placid facade of the first lady...Ms. Sittenfeld was not out to sensationalize but to sympathize. "-"Maureen Dowd, "The New York Times" "Brilliant...[A] triumph...Curtis Sittenfeld has provided a plausible secret history of an American embarrassment - and a grand entertainment." "-"Joe Klein," Time Magazine " "A smart and sophisticated portrait of a high-profile political wife...Sittenfeld has an astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers' heads." "-"Connie Schultz, "Washington Post Book World " "Sittenfeld boldly imagines the inner life of a first intimate and daring story...American Wife is a vicarious experience, an up-close portrait of the interior life of a very complicated woman...cinematic." "-USA Today " "The novel, Sittenfeld's most fully realized yet, artfully evokes the painful reverberations of the past." "-New Yorker " "Compelling...enormously sympathetic...Sittenfeld's remarkable gifts as a storyteller draw you back into the fictional world of Alice Blackwell. She writes in the sharp, realistic tradition of Philip Roth and Richard Ford-clear, unpretentious prose; metaphors so spot-on you barely notice them. Sittenfeld may have lifted the set pieces from a real woman's life, but in the process she has created a wise and insightful character who is entirely her own." "-Time Out New York " "Ambitious...Sittenfeld installs herself deep within the psyche of the tight-lipped wife of the president and emerges with an evenhanded, compassionate look at her mind and heart...powerfully intimate. Grade: A" "-Washington Post " "A masterful highbrow-lowbrow mash-up that satisfies as ass-kicking literary fiction and juicy gossip simultaneously." "-Radar " "With "American Wife," Curtis Sittenfeld has deftly crossed an extraordinarily high wire...I read "American Wife" in just two or three deshow more

About Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of "The Man of My Dreams" and "Prep," which was chosen by "The New York Times" as one of the Ten Best Books of 2005. Her nonfiction has appeared in "The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Salon, Allure, Glamour, " and on public radio's "This American Life." Her books have been translated into twenty-five more

Rating details

42,372 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 20% (8,594)
4 42% (17,950)
3 28% (11,914)
2 7% (3,081)
1 2% (833)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X