by Virginia Feito
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 10 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2021
W. W. Norton & Company, Liveright
A twenty-first-century Highsmith, Virginia Feito conjures the unforgettable Mrs. March, an Upper East Side housewife whose life is shattered by her husband’s latest novel.
In this astonishing debut, the venerable but gossipy New York literary scene is twisted into a claustrophobic fun house of paranoia, horror, and wickedly dark humor. George March’s latest novel is a smash. No one is prouder than Mrs. March, his doting wife. But one morning, the shopkeeper of her favorite patisserie suggests that his protagonist is based on Mrs. March herself: “But . . . —isn't she . . .’ Mrs. March leaned in and in almost a whisper said, ‘a whore?” Clutching her ostrich-leather pocketbook, she flees, that one casual remark destroying her belief that she knew everything about her husband—as well as herself. Suddenly, Mrs. March is hurled into a harrowing journey that builds to near psychosis, one that begins merely within the pages of a book but may uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of her past.
About the Author: A native of Spain, Virginia Feito was raised in Madrid and Paris, and studied English and drama at Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a copywriter until she quit to write her debut novel. She lives in Madrid.
A Note From the Publisher
LibraryReads votes due by 7/1.
“I read Virginia’s novel in one sitting and was so captured by it I knew I had to make it and play Mrs. March. As a character, she is fascinating, complex, and deeply human and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into her.” —Elisabeth Moss
"Like Mrs. March herself, I spent most of Virginia Feito’s trippy novel wondering, What the devil is going on? When she figured it out, I was haunted for days." - Helen Ellis, author of American Housewife
"This crisp, delicious portrait of a woman coming apart is a brutal, darkly funny, sharp blade of a book. I loved it." - Amber Sparks, author of And I Do Not Forgive You
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 53 members
I was excited to read this book that’s going to be bought to the big screen by Elizabeth Moss soon. A seemingly innocent comment unravels the life of the main character. This book is a character study and what it takes do you want to unhinge a carefully constructed life. I highly recommend.
If profoundly disturbed is how you want to walk away from a book…well, look no further. And sure, women have been going mad in fiction for ages, they’ve been secreted away in the attics and madhouses, there was fire, wallpapers, other women to contend and compete with and usually a man behind it all, a brute or sadist or bastard or some combination thereof. But what if there was a madness that needed no assist to descend, something more…organic, if you will. What if a woman went mad from within, after years of internalized emotional child abuse from an uncaring mother after an unwanted sexual experience, after decades of social conditioning right to a marriage that offered comfort and entirely too much time to let all the ingredients simmer together into something combustible. That’s pretty much Mrs. March’s tragic trajectory. The eponymous protagonist, the owner of the spiffy gloves on the cover, a woman who is a star of her own show to such an extent that her entire life is structured in a precisely performative way. Mrs. March’s greatest role is that of a wife to Mr. March, an acclaimed author and, with his latest book, the toast of the town. She is his wife, a mother of his child, a woman hosting his swanky soirees, a getter of his clen shirts, a manager of his maid, etc. So much so that she doesn’t even get a first name until the last page, her entire personality built around her marital title. Every action, every word…a finely tuned performance. A laborious difficult to sustain act. It’s no surprise it can’t last, but it’s the way it all goes off the rails that’ll have you absolutely riveted. This descent into madness is rendered with all the mesmerizing wrongness of a car crash magnetism. It’s a novel of a certain time and place, say 70s, when women roles in the society were define with claustrophobic strictness, but not so much that there were no other options, which implies a certain complicity. For, just because Mrs. March was brought up to be a certain kind of a proper young lady, doesn’t mean she’s made no choices along the way. Once upon a time she was thrilled to bag the handsomest professor on campus. And she has enjoyed years of a certain quality of glitz on his arm and by his side. The toll it’s all has taken on her psyche is difficult to estimate, because she’s such a tightly held together character for so long and when she unravels, it’s a spectacular and dangerous mess. But it’s so good, it’s really good. This is for fans of Yellow Wallpaper, who thought the protagonist there was too likeable. You won’t have to deal with that here. There are virtually no likeable characters, but lately I’ve been finding a nice line up of books that are good enough to not need that easy attractor. Just terrible people doing terrible things to each other, with or without intent, sometimes just because they can’t help themselves, sometimes thoughtlessly and yes, sometimes with a frightening purpose. And of course, something they are just completely mad. You can make your own assessments of Mrs. March. She’d expect no less, being her own worst enemy and all that. And to think it all began with Mr. March’s new book and a character in it who everyone thinks must be based on his wife. And oh, did it snowball from there. Such small things, such careless acts… I was initially interested in this book after finding out that Elizabeth Moss optioned it for a movie, a Blumhouse movies no less. So reading it, she was impossible not to picture. And if the movie’s done right, this can be award material, finally, for an actress who very much deserves it. Not sure how she found this book, a random debut by a Spanish author and all that, but that’s a great find. And Moss, being easily one of the best actresses of her generation with incredible versatility and talent, is going to kill this one, appropriately enough. For now, though, it’s only in book form, you’ll have to use your imagination, though not too much, the author does a terrific job of bringing a cinematically vivid quality to it all by herself. Brain punch of a book. Must read for fans of dark psychological fiction. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
This is one of those times where a cover stops me in my tracks. I was intrigued by the stunning image and the summary and couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. Elisabeth Moss' blurb also piqued my interest, and I was thrilled to be approved for this title. Mrs. March's husband is a famous writer whose latest work is being lauded as spectacular. She should be thrilled for him, but as more people comment on the similarities between the main character and Mrs. March, she becomes increasingly unnerved that she could be the muse--her husband finding inspiration for a woman who is most decidedly not Mrs. March. What follows is a crescendo of near psychosis that will leaving you questioning if everything is as it seems. I loved this book. Mrs. March gave me serious Lamb to the Slaughter vibes. Dahl's writing had an eerie, uneasy undertone. You didn't know what was going to happen, but you knew something was coming, and then BAM. I felt the same way reading Mrs. March. It's difficult to discuss this without giving spoilers, but Mrs. March is a study in character development and identity. Known only as Mrs. March, her lack of first name emphasizes her embodiment as *wife* and keeps us on the outside. We never really know her. She keeps key details hidden away while distracting the audience with meticulous descriptions of her environment, her memories, her dinner guests. It's a way to keep the reader at arm's length while forcing us to question if we can trust the information we're given. Is she really seeing these things? Has she unwittingly stumbled upon a killer? This hits the marks for PPD, but you can never really say that with confidence; if ever there was an unreliable narrator, it is Mrs. March. Just whoa. Feito's imagery and execution is superb, and I think this will translate well to the screen. I'm excited to see the cinematic interpretation, as many of Mrs. March's visuals are visceral and quietly unnerving. Overall, Mrs. March is a sharp, smart, unsettling thrill ride that will leave you breathless. For fans of quiet psychological horror, Wounds, or the ultimate unreliable narrator, Mrs. March will be the book for you. Out in August, add this to your TBRs ASAP and come back and have a chat about Mrs. March. Big thanks to LiveRight/W.W. Norton and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.
Mrs. March, a literary thriller by debut author Virginia Feito, will provoke a LOT of lively discussion following its publication in August. The book has already received a great boost by the early optioning for film by acclaimed actress Elisabeth Moss. The praise is well deserved, as Mrs. March- the character as well as the novel- is meticulously and expertly constructed. This reader had the sense of reading a nineteenth century European drama of manners or an Anna Karenina- like tragedy, but with the throbbing urgency of the suppressed American housewife just beginning to lash out against mid-20th century roles and expectations. Those lively discussions will no doubt focus too on illusion versus reality, and just how much of each created Mrs. March’s narrative. A dark, absorbing reading experience!
It is hard enough to create an unreliable narrator -but the author managed to do it in the 3rd person as the protagonist was always referred to as "Mrs. March." And she is very unreliable. The wife of a famous author, she becomes convinced that her husband has murdered a young woman and sets out to prove it, becoming more paranoid and unhinged as the story reaches it's eerie climax. Really kept me guessing.
Mrs. March's domestic tranquility, both internal and external, unravels with meticulous detail in this psychological thriller. Recommended.
I tore through this paranoid, propulsive, compulsive debut novel of Hitchcockian suspense. I enjoyed the way that the abstract, almost outdated, sense of time and place enhanced the unsettling, noir tone of the book. I was also impressed by the author's commitment to Mrs. March's complete and total unraveling. Somehow, the absolute unreliability of Mrs. March as a narrator makes her stand out in the crowded world of unreliable narrators. There was a part of me, as a reader, who really wanted more backstory about her. I wanted flashbacks where we saw her whole, and functioning normally. I wanted to to see the decline happen, so I could better understand it. But that would be a different book! I like what Fieto has chosen to do: for me, Mrs. March's suspenseful plummet into madness rivals the best of those from the golden, midcentury age of "housewife hysteria."
Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. I was intrigued by the character since I read Elizabeth Moss had already opted to play her in the movie adaptation. And what a character. For fans of psychological fiction, this is a treat. I can't imagine how this will turn into a film since so much is in Mrs. March's psyche. Mrs. March's husband is a bestselling writer, and his newest novel is causing quite a stir. Rumor has it the main character is based on his quirky wife. This makes the cocktail parties quite awkward. Especially when Mrs. March has her own suspicions of her husband and his mysterious hunting trips. The novel is a slow burn but worth it for fans of psychological thrillers.