...a light-stepping, streamlined novel ... rage might be the signature emotion of the powerless, but in Wolitzer's hands, rage is also very funny ... Wolitzer deploys a calm, seamless humor not found in her previous novels ... they gradually accumulate, creating a rueful, sardonic atmosphere ... The book represents a real step forward for Wolitzer, and its success lies in its reticence ... if The Wife is a puzzle and an entertainment, it's also a near heartbreaking document of feminist realpolitik.
...a diabolically smart and funny assault against the literary establishment and the tacit assumption that only men can write the Great American Novel. As Joan recounts the misery she and her fellow writers’ wives endure, popular and shrewd novelist Wolitzer choreographs her ire into kung-fu precision moves to zap our every notion about gender and status, creativity and fame, individuality and marriage, deftly exposing the injustice, sorrow, and sheer absurdity of it all.
It is a surprise ending that will startle the most intuitive of readers ... Wolitzer proves herself a crafty and deft author with her ability to distract her reader from the core of this story ... On a larger scale the story will prompt readers to evaluate their own roles in relationships and question the exceptions they have
made to their own rules ... The Wife is a surprisingly perceptive story.
The reader is prepared for a tale of witty disillusionment ... Wolitzer delicately chips away at this seemingly confident and detached narrator ... There is no cheap, gratifying Hollywood ending to make it all better. Instead, Wolitzer's crisp pacing and dry wit carry us headlong into a devastating message about the price of love and fame. If it's a story we've heard before, the tale is as resonant as ever in Wolitzer's hands.