The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens

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90,000 words
Finished books available


US: Little, Brown & Co, Feb 2010
US (audio): Brilliance Audio
US (large print): Center Point Publishers
Canada: Knopf, Sep 2009
Canada (French): Alto
UK: Virago, Feb 2010
Brazil (Portuguese): Bertrand Brasil
France: Archipel
French Canada: Alto
Italy: Mondadori
Netherlands: De Bezige Bij
Norway: Juritzen Forlag
Poland: W.A.B.
Turkey: Artemis Yayinlari
Film: Les Films Outsiders


Lori Lansens (Photo: Laura Starks)
(Photo: Laura Starks)

Lori Lansens was a successful screenwriter before she burst onto the literary scene in 2002 with her first novel Rush Home Road. Published in eleven countries, Rush Home Road received rave reviews around the world. Her follow-up novel The Girls was an international success as well. Rights were sold in 13 territories and it was featured as a book club pick by Richard & Judy in the UK, selling 300,000 copies. Her third novel, The Wife's Tale was published in ten different territories, while her forth novel, The Mountain Story, had rights sold in eight. Born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, Lori Lansens now makes her home in Los Angeles with her two children.

The Wife's Tale - UK cover

The Wife's Tale - Vintage, Canada cover

The Wife's Tale - Norwegian cover

The Wife's Tale

a novel by Lori Lansens


The Wife's Tale - new cover, Canadian editionMary is fat. Not just fat, but morbidly obese. She knows she's fat (thank you very much) and lives her life in defensive, deflective blame, isolating herself in the small farming town of Leaford, Ontario, the locale of Lori Lansens' first two novels. Everyone skirts the subject of her weight, the literal elephant in the room. Mary and her husband Gooch have gradually drifted away from each other.

On their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Mary's husbandThe Wife's Tale - Canadian cover disappears. Bewildered, Mary abandons her sheltered life in pursuit of him across America, encountering a dazzling array of characters and discovering a boundless supply of human kindness in unexpected places. Runaway children, single mothers, taxi drivers, migrant workers and bitter relatives enter her life in chaotic fashion. Pounds melt away as she walks, runs, swims, drives and flies in momentous steps from claustrophobic Leaford to the freedom of California, hermissing husband a spectre dogging each step. She discovers new worlds in hidden pockets of Los Angeles before she arrives at her final destination, the most unexpected surprise of all.

The Wife's Tale is a vivid exploration of a woman taking small, courageous steps toward her authentic self for the first time in her life. In pursuit of her husband, she finds herself instead. Mary Gooch is as indelible a creation as Sharla Cody and Addy Shad of Rush Home Road and Rose and Ruby Darlen of The Girls.      


The Wife's Tale - Italian cover

“Lansens’ rendering of the hell that is compulsive eating somehow transcends … Mary Gooch becomes real and unforgettable.”  — SLATE.COM

“A sensitive but deliciously comic account of Mary’s fight against the ‘obeast’ that has lived inside her since childhood.”  — THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Lansens’ clear prose unveils the connetion between a body weighed down by flesh and a spirit smothered by loneliness. Mary’s odyssey of heartache and hope is not so much about finding her husband as it is about rediscovering herself.”  — PEOPLE

“[Mary is] a wonderful character, and Lansens’ handling of her eventual transformation into someone capable of compassion and acceptance is handled with a light but assured touch”  — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Lansens’ portrait of a woman who hides behind the Kenmore as protection from life’s heartache is earthy and primal in its pain. Yet Lansens doesn’t resort to an overnight makeover to save Mary. Instead, our heroine uncovers a hidden strength she had all along. Those who loved The Girls will be pleased that Lansens is back. Highly recommended.”  — LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

“Lori Lansens, best-selling author of The Girls, structures The Wife’s Tale as the story of a damaged heroine on a quest. The trick is that (as in any good quest story) the real object of the search isn’t what the searcher thinks it is. … [A] fast-moving story and Mary’s gradual metamorphosis ... rings true.”  — BOOKPAGE

“Lansens writes with acute insight … fully immersing readers in her protagonist’s struggle to find a new and better self.”  — BOOKLISTThe Wife's Tale - Australian cover

“Like short-story queen Alice Munro, to whom she is often compared, Lansensdemonstrates a singular gift for discerning both the ordinary and the extraordinary in small-town life and small-town people.”  — WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

“Lansens sketches another indelible female character… original [and] heartbreakingly funny and sad…”  — THE MONTREAL GAZETTE

“This uplifting story illustrates how a life can be transformed at any time, even if it seems stuck in a permanent rut. Mary is wonderful … Lansens’ memorable journey takes Mary out of her comfort zone and reintroduces her not only to the world beyond but also to herself.”  — ROMANTIC TIMES

“Lansens’s great capacity for humour and insight … makes this book riveting and compelling.”  — ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“A painfully self-conscious yet hugely entertaining novel, Lori Lansens' The Wife's Tale is both heart-breaking and humorous. … Only an extraordinary storyteller like Lansens could make such an oddball character so entertaining and accessible.”  — HOUR.CA

“Mary wins us over from the start … she is privately passionate and determined.”  — THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“A book club favourite returns with yet another unconventional heroine … [Lansens is] a persuasive, dynamic storyteller.”  — TORONTO STAR

Praise for Lori Lansen's international bestseller The Girls

“I promise: you will never forget this extraordinary story...Lori Lansens' blend of tragedy and comedy will touch you deeply.”  — ISABEL ALLENDE

The Girls, by Lori Lansens, is a ballad, a melancholy song of two very strange, enchanted girls who live out their peculiar, ordinary lives is a rural corner of Canada....The Girls glides by like a watercolor dream, finding its poetry in dailiness and the universalities of human desire and connection....Lansens, who has a gentle, open way of writing, makes of these two girls a kind of perfect marriage, harmonious and everlasting.”  — THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“Extraordinarily moving: joyous, heartbreaking, and shot through with moments of dark humor.... The voices of Rose and Ruby cry out to be heard for their glorious celebration of humanity.”  — VOGUE

“Extraordinary. A masterful and sophisticated duet. a multidimensional vision of the sisters' lives.”  — TIME MAGAZINE

“It is the true test of a writer's mettle to create a convincing narrator, and Lori Lansens has done it not once but twice in her remarkable novel about conjoined twins. The two fascinating protagonists of The Girls live their lives together in every way, and yet nevertheless emerge with beliefs and desires all their own, and with distinct outlooks on their difficult circumstances. We are all fortunate for a novelist with so delicate and sensitive a touch.”  — ARTHUR GOLDEN, author of Memoirs of a Geisha

“This is not a book about the grotesque but a book about love, about being bound to someone else and accepting the situation gracefully, even gratefully.”  — SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

“A fascinating-and at times heartbreaking-read about two independent young women.”  — CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“You won't pity the girls, but you'll feel richer for having seen their world.”  — GLAMOUR

“In her second novel, author Lori Lansens makes a gentle, persuasive case for everyone's individuality, writing two first-person memoirs in the voices of twins linked permanently through a shared, and inseparable, vein in their attached heads.”  — BOSTON GLOBE

“Lansens beats the odds: A book that could have been tasteless provides a complex consideration of identity and individuality, of sameness and difference, of what it means to be normal and what it takes to feel at home in the world.”  — PEOPLE MAGAZINE

“[Lansens'] real triumph is this strange story's rich context: a Canadian farming community where we encouter the full spectrum of human frailty.”  — ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

The Girls skilfully tackles a tricky subject with both laugh-out-loud humor and grace.”  — REDBOOK

The Wife's Tale - US cover


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