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Reviews of My Husband by Maud Ventura

My Husband

A Novel

by Maud Ventura, Emma Ramadan

My Husband by Maud Ventura, Emma Ramadan X
My Husband by Maud Ventura, Emma Ramadan
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2023, 272 pages

    Paperback:
    Jun 4, 2024, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jillian Bell
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About this Book

Book Summary

In this suspenseful and darkly funny debut novel, a sophisticated French woman spends her life obsessing over her perfect husband—but can their marriage survive her passionate love?

At forty years old, she has an enviable life: a successful career, stunning looks, a beautiful house in the suburbs, two healthy children, and most importantly, an ideal husband. After fifteen years together, she is still besotted with him. But she's never quite sure that her passion is reciprocated.

Determined to keep their relationship perfect, she meticulously prepares for every encounter they have, always taking care to make her actions seem effortless. She watches him attentively, testing him to make sure that he still loves her just as much as he did when they first met.

Until one day she realizes she may have gone too far ...

The winner of France's First Novel Prize in 2021, My Husband builds on the premise of hits like Gone Girl and Fates and Furies—how well can you really know your spouse?—and adds the tension and creepy obsession of You. The result is a gripping read that is as fierce as it is funny—compelling, tense, and engaging, infused with sly subversive humor, and told in an utterly original voice that makes it unforgettable.

Translated from the French by Emma Ramadan

Excerpt
My Husband

We moved into this house a few months before I began working as a translator. A colleague from the high school asked me to do a translation of a text for him that he couldn't finish in time—a popular science book on the Copernican Revolution. It was not my area of expertise—I knew very little about the historical period—but I accepted. Since then, the editor has sent me numerous translation projects: stories, a poetry collection, a crime novel that sold fairly well, books on the history of science. Right now, I'm tackling the debut novel of a successful young Irish author. It's not particularly difficult to translate, but the title still escapes me: Waiting for the Day to Come ... En attendant que le jour arrive? Dans l'attente du jour à venir? It resists translation. I can't manage to re-create its poetry, nor capture the concrete meaning. The heroine is not only awaiting the arrival of a new age, of a shift in mentalities. She is also ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Ventura creates a character who's not necessarily sympathetic, but who compels us to keep turning the page. Our lack of insight into what the husband is thinking leaves us, like the narrator, trying to peer into his mind by observing his actions. Something interesting about this book is how universal the themes are. At their core, the narrator's anxieties about class, her appearance and her marriage, as well as her tendency to compare herself to those around her, are relatable to those of us living far from her part of French society. Though her efforts to please her husband are taken to extremes, My Husband points to the very real and broader issue of women's undervalued labor in relationships and the pressure to appear effortlessly flawless...continued

Full Review Members Only (674 words)

(Reviewed by Jillian Bell).

Media Reviews

Le Nouvel Obs
Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage meets Ruth Rendell... . My Husband possesses a dark, clinical and raspy humor. With a very well done final twist, as unpredictable as it is Machiavellian, you won't want to read this vaudeville just once.

Paris La Douce
As funny as it is fierce ... An outstanding novel!

Booklist
Ventura very cleverly explores themes of paranoia, class, and, above all, obsessive love through the couple's everyday neuroses, building their significance (and their darkness) to keep readers in suspense. The translation by Ramadan adeptly conveys both the setting and the growing tension. Fans of Caroline Kepnes' You (2014) or Gillian Flynn will find My Husband to be a new, satisfying, and unnerving take on the relationship-suspense genre.

Publishers Weekly
Irresistible ... Thrilling ... Ramadan's exacting translation holds the reader in her grip ... A bold and memorable first outing.

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Don't miss. Had me weeping with laughter ... [and] will have you thinking hard about the meaning of love.

Oprah Daily
[A] wry, psychologically complex debut ... This riveting emotional thriller requires serious willpower to not devour in a single sitting.

The Millions
A delicious addition to the relationship-suspense genre.

Kirkus Reviews
Reading groups will love to discuss.

Author Blurb A. J. Finn, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
One of the most daring, provocative, unnervingly intimate thrillers I've read in years. It's a glass of Sancerre, crisp and cold and dry – and the more you swallow, the more you'll lose your balance. Few writers besides Ruth Rendell and Patricia Highsmith can evoke domestic unease with such sangfroid; fewer still can make it such delirious fun. My Husband is the novel for any woman with a husband. Or perhaps for any man with a wife. Merveilleux, Mademoiselle Ventura!

Author Blurb Amelie Nothomb, author of Fear and Trembling
Irresistible and delightful.

Author Blurb Jenny Mollen Biggs, New York Times bestselling author of City of Likes
While I tend to be more obsessed with my husband's exes than my husband himself, this book had me reeling, laughing and re-examining my life choices. I loved every minute.

Author Blurb Virginia Feito, author of Mrs. March
What a wonderfully tense, obsessive, enveloping novel— almost like a feminist, introspective spin on Fatal Attraction! Ventura's deftly spun debut is a sharply observed dissection of marriage that will haunt you for days.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Book Translation

Photo of library with ornate decorations and paintings on ceiling and globes in the center In Maud Ventura's novel My Husband, we get a glimpse into the main character's work as a book translator. Translated books give readers the chance to step into the shoes of characters living in different countries and cultures. When it comes to American books in translation (like this English-language version of Ventura's novel, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan), an often-cited statistic is that only around 3% of books published in the United States are translated works, a number that some in the industry are working to increase.

The process of bringing foreign language books to readers is a complex one, involving the dedicated work of many highly skilled professionals. First, a publisher wanting to issue a translated ...

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