The Echo Wife

Macmillan Audio. 2021. 256p. 8:26 hrs. ISBN 9781250755131. $19.99. SF
Evelyn, a no-nonsense doctor who has learned how to create human clones, is recovering from a divorce that blindsided her; her husband left her for another woman, Martine. Evelyn is shocked to find that Martine is a clone of her, but made soft, feminine, and very obedient—qualities Evelyn lacks. We learn that Nathan has taken Evelyn’s research and used it to create his perfect version of her. When Martine comes to Evelyn’s house in a terrible panic one night, the two women must work together to cover up Nathan’s murder. Inevitably, things do not go as neatly as Evelyn planned. Evelyn is an intensely unlikable character; her dealings with her cloning subjects are clinical and cruel. But Martine forces Evelyn to see her not as a specimen but as a person. Xe Sands narrates the psychological thriller with intensity and perfect pacing. She has a creepy, cold way of voicing Evelyn, who analyzes every situation with a detached tone. Martine starts out tentative and deferential but slowly learns to express anger and opinions. Sands also ably conveys Nathan’s self-serving, misogynistic character. Listeners won’t want to stop until they reach the ending of this enthralling and unique meditation on the ethics of cloning.
VERDICT Highly recommended for all collections.
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