Got this book all the way from Texas. I read somewhere that Gillian Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’ has many themes in common with Vera Caspary’s ‘The Man Who Loved His Life’. Having thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Gone Girl’, Vera Caspary’s book was on my list for a long time.
The Man Who Loved His Wife is a rather short read, almost a novella. It is classified as crime fiction and is actually a psychological thriller. Fletcher is a typical self-made businessman who is proud and confident. He marries Elaine, an intellectual and a photographer’s model who is 19 years his junior. An illness takes away his confidence and he retreats from his glamorous busy life to a mansion in California avoiding any interaction where his disability is exposed. His diminishing confidence brings to the fore his insecurities. He imagines his wife carrying out affairs with men her age and is intimidated by her intellectual prowess. Elaine is a timid wife who reiterates that she loves him whenever she realises how dull her life is and how different it is from what she expected it to be when she married Fletcher. Fletcher starts writing about his fantasised suspicions of his wife cheating on him and abetting his murder in a secret diary so that if he commits suicide, she will be under scrutiny and will probably end up in prison. Vera Caspary has left no stone unturned in bringing to light the dark recesses of a man’s paranoid mind. All the characters are too typical and lack layers. The ending is abrupt and doesn’t live up to the plot built up.