by Katia Lief
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Pub Date 09 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 09 Jan 2024
Grove Atlantic, Atlantic Monthly Press
Other people kill their husbands. Not her.
"Absolutely a novel of its time–and a novel of women's stories across time.”—Kirkus (starred review)
In Invisible Woman, a dangerous secret held for too long between estranged best friends rises to the surface, and a long marriage comes apart with devastating consequences.
Joni Ackerman’s decision to raise children, 25 years ago, came with a steep cost. She was then a pioneering filmmaker, one of the few women to break into the all-male Hollywood club of feature film directors. But she and her husband Paul had always wanted a family, and his ascending career at a premier television network provided a safety net. Now they’ve recently transplanted to Brooklyn, so that Paul can launch a major East Coast production studio, when a scandal rocks the film industry and forces Joni to revisit a secret from long ago involving her friend Val.
Joni is adamant that the time has come to tell the story, but Val and Paul are reluctant, for different reasons. As the marriage frays and the friends spar about whether to speak up, Joni’s struggles with isolation in a new city, and old resentments about the sacrifices she made on her family’s behalf start to boil over. She takes solace, of sorts, in the novels of Patricia Highsmith—particularly the masterpiece Strangers on a Train, with its duplicitous characters and their murderous impulses—until the lines between reality and fantasy become blurred.
Invisible Woman is at once a literary thriller about the lies we tell each other (and ourselves), and a powerful psychological examination of the complexities of friendship, marriage, and motherhood.