This was one of those unusual books that one stumbles across and then swallows whole. A woman recovers from cancer and thinks she is living the perfect wife when the cancer returns and she is told there is no hope. She decides to find the replacement wife for her husband as she is a professional match maker and who else, but her, could find the right woman?
The story itself is quite simply told and I didn’t find any of the characterisation particularly mind blowing. In fact, the thing that struck me most about this book was the plot and for me that is rather unusual. I am still troubled by the events which unfolded in The Replacement Wife and the deep ripples of tremors that they sent through the people involved in them. I found the insight into hope and despair intriguing and the question that has lingered with me over the last few months since I read this book is: “What is real love?”
This book didn’t cause me to leap off a bridge but it certainly raised some valid questions and concerns which left me thinking. The characters haven’t stayed with me but the implications of their actions and decisions certainly have and probably will for quite some time to come.
It has been quite some time since I have read a book that I felt was worth writing about. This says more about me and my state of mind that it does about the world of books and I can’t for the life of me remember where I saw this reviewed. I know it was during the last week … perhaps in a newspaper? But I do remember that when I read about it, I was impressed by the fact that here was a book written for boys – boys the same age as my boy … boys who are often not considered when it comes to young adult fiction which tends to so overwhelmingly appeal to a female audience. So I bought the book. Hard copy. Thinking that my boy would thoroughly enjoy the read… it sounded so … I’m not sure what the adjective is … so … tweenish?
Since I am a diligent parent I decided to read the book myself before handing it over. I wanted to be sure that there was no inappropriateness in it, no teenage fantasies about girls that I can’t yet imagine my son having. Not that he’s a saint. Just that he’s only 11 and only just and I’d like him to enjoy his youth for just the shortest little while.
Anyway, so I picked up the book last night and started reading and before I could blink I was immersed in the most wonderful true to life story filled with multi-dimensional characters who all resonated otherness in different ways. I loved the ordinariness of this Greek family and the ordinariness of their concerns. And I loved the way they cared for one another, often without showing it, but nonetheless it was there, hidden in dark corners.
This book grabbed me and shook me and kept shaking until I finally put it down, a mere 10 pages from the end just to hold on to the feelings, to savour the specialness and to wait. I let it percolate overnight and then, today, I sat quietly and finished it. And then I breathed.
Will Kostakis is a genius. A writer of the most intense calibre and I have no doubt that if he continues to produce work of this nature, he will shortly be a type of hero for young boys the world over.
I will be giving this book to my son to read and I will be hoping that he has friends like Lucas (or Sticks as he likes to be known) and that even when he and his siblings fight, they always know that family is forever if you want it to be. His grandmothers are never going to impart the beauty of making moussaka, but they will always be there to make him smile and nothing is more important.
I loved this book and I will treasure the story and the way it was told for a very long time and I will be first in line to buy Kostakis’ next book.