Mrs. March

Liveright: Norton. Aug. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781631498619. $26. SUSPENSE
DEBUT Mrs. March hasn’t read the recent best-selling book by her husband George; all she’s gleaned is that its main character is an unlikable, weathered woman. When a clerk at the local patisserie tells her that the book’s protagonist seems to be based on Mrs. March herself, she’s floored: “‘But…—isn’t she…’ Mrs. March leaned in and in almost a whisper said, ‘a whore?’” She runs out of the bakery, imagining all of her Upper East Side neighbors reading the book and laughing at her. Days later, she finds on George’s desk a newspaper clipping about the recent disappearance of a young Maine girl named Sylvia; it reports that police have learned that she was beaten, raped, and murdered. George makes frequent trips to a hunting lodge in the area of the disappearance, and Mrs. March begins to imagine him as Sylvia’s killer. Soon she travels to Maine and connives her way into Sylvia’s home, where she spots signed copies of several of George’s books; in her mind, this certifies her husband’s guilt. Mrs. March’s flights of fantasy now progress to psychotic episodes and flashbacks to her stoic upbringing; even readers will begin to question what is real and what is imagined.
VERDICT Feito’s debut can be classified as a literary psychological thriller, but it doesn’t fit neatly into one genre. Fans of novels about psychological degeneration will be satisfied.
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