The Daylight Marriage
By: Hedi Pitlor
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: 5/5/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars +
“A page-turning exploration of unexpressed love and unnecessary loss. Riveting and heartbreaking.” —Geraldine Brooks
Hannah was the kind of woman who turned heads. Tall and graceful, naturally pretty, often impulsive, always spirited, the upper-class girl who picked, of all men, Lovell--the introverted climate scientist, the practical one who thought he could change the world if he could just get everyone to listen to reason. After a magical honeymoon they settled in the suburbs to raise their two children.
But over the years, Lovell and Hannah’s conversations have become charged with resentments and unspoken desires. She’s become withdrawn and directionless. His work affords him a convenient distraction. The children can sense the tension, which they’ve learned to mostly ignore. Until, after one explosive argument, Hannah vanishes. And Lovell, for the first time, is forced to examine the trajectory of his marriage through the lens of memory--and the eyes of his children. As he tries to piece together what happened to his wife--and to their lives together--readers follow Hannah through that single day when the smallest of decisions takes her to places she never intended to go.
With the intensity of The Lovely Bones, the balance of wit and heartbreak of The Descendants, and the emotional acuity of Anne Tyler’s work, The Daylight Marriage is at its heart a novel about what happens when our intuitions override our logic, with a page-turning plot that doesn’t reveal its secrets until the very end.
A special thank you to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
THE DAYLIGHT MARRIAGE, by talented Hedi Pitlor is one unique, complex, suspenseful, thought-provoking, and chilling psychological mystery thriller. "A mouth full"--My heart is still pounding! As the novel opens in the Cambridge area, we meet an ordinary family of four. Husband Lovell, wife Hannah-age thirty-nine, and two children--Ethan nine, and Janine fifteen. Lovell, a climate scientist at Mass Environmental, buries himself in his work, data, and deadlines. He studies weather patterns and storms. He has never felt like he quite lived up as a husband and father, even after seventeen years. He feels as though the universe has a way of conspiring against him, when it comes to being the husband Hannah wanted. Maybe, he thinks their differences is simply, economics; he is accustomed to work-giving for a living; she on the other hand has been accustomed to receiving. After all, he married a girl from a wealthy family raised by a nanny in a waterfront estate on Martha’s Vineyard, spending her birthdays at the Ritz in Boston or the Plaza Hotel, boarding schools—until twelve years ago her father’s business partner was convicted of embezzlement and the sailboat manufacturing company he and her father owned was liquidated. No more money from the parents or business, and savings dwindled, leaving Hannah working at a part-time flower shop. Now his wife is quick to leave a room once he enters. They have not made love in over a year, not for lack of trying on his part. He has no idea how to turn things around at this point. Hannah, beautiful, tall, the girl who had first shown up at this apartment in Brighton with a pyramid of irises, the delivery girl for Fanciful Flowers, was able to simply stand there and take his breath away. Tonight, Lovell is not happy with her, as once again she forgets to pay the electric bill which is three weeks late. Her husband speaks to her as though she is a bratty child—a spoiled brat. She is almost forty, and she wants a new life and feels her current one is like an “epilogue”. His wife has expectations. The pressures of any ordinary marriage. Arguments. On one night, an argument grows a little more heated. Things are said. Emotions rising. Disagreements, voices raised, objects are thrown. A night like the others of struggles and unhappiness . . . The morning after, a different course of action. It began as a typical morning. Work at the flower shop, and Ethan’s orthodontist appoint in the afternoon, worries over her daughter. She has two and half hours before she is due at work. What goes through the mind of one woman, on her way to drop off her son at school, as she tidies the house, as she heads to her daily routine of work at the flower shop? A detour, like the course of a storm brewing; without warning which changes direction, which will forever change the lives of an ordinary family. A riveting page-turner, an exploration of emotions of the heart, written with beautiful prose and metaphors of the storms of life. As we flash back and forth from Lovell and Hannah, from details of their younger years when the couple met, their life, an ex-boyfriend, to the events leading up to the night of the heated argument. Each day Hannah is missing, the intensity mounts, mystery, guilt, struggles, and suspense builds as a man, a father is left to deal with the aftermath, the media, the police; his life, his troubled daughter, and his son. Where is Hannah? We also hear from Hannah as she is in her car that morning, she is distraught, confused. We experience her emotions, her thoughts, feelings, her choices, a decision…..a wrong turn. As Lovell studies the potential intensity of tropical cyclones at work, there is another hurricane brewing in his personal life, he may not be able to predict or control with the same preciseness—an going theme throughout the novel -the storms of life, climate patterns, damage, destruction. Like hurricanes, life may erratic and intense, and no one can predict when tragedy will strike nor prepare for the aftermath. What makes this novel so powerful, mind-blowing, raw, and emotional; It is so realistic; the events could happen to any marriage or family, on any given ordinary day. Gone Girl, move over. An intense read, a page-turner which has you rushing to find out whereabouts of Hannah. What happened to her? The author delivers extraordinary insights with raw human dynamics. Fans of deep psychological suspense thrillers will be glued to the pages. Can’t wait to see what is next, an author to follow! My prediction: THE DAYLIGHT MARRIAGE lands on the top list "Books That Inspired Oscar-Worthy Films."
"Home is so far from Home."-Emily Dickinson "Life itself may be part of the answer to the riddle of the faint young sun."
-Kerry Emanuel, What We know about Climate Change
About the Author
Hedi Pitlor grew up in Concord, Massachusetts. She got her B.A. from McGill University in Montreal and moved out to Colorado, where in Denver and Boulder she worked as a nanny, receptionist, freelance writer, bus girl, rape crisis counselor and counselor to homeless and runaway teenagers.
She moved back to Massachusetts to earn her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and worked as a temp at Houghton Mifflin Company. Soon after, she was hired as an editorial assistant in the company's trade division. She eventually became an editor and later a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). She wrote fiction early in the mornings before work and published her first novel, The Birthdays, in 2006. She has been the series editor of The Best American Short Stories since 2007. Her writing has appeared in such publications as Ploughshares, The Huffington Post, and Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today's Best Women Writers. The Daylight Marriage, her second novel, will be published in May, 2015.
She lives outside Boston with her husband and 8-year-old twin son and daughter, their hamster and a staggering amount of literary magazines that she reads for her day job. Follow Heidi on Twitter at @HeidiPitlor. Website