The Stepford Wives

The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin This isn't the sort of thing that I usually read. I'd seen the film, of course, and scant books often make good films. I picked up a copy in a remaindered bookshop for 50 pence and now I'm glad that I did.

An idea that I come back to time and again in my reading is that the perfect novel cannot exist. A book like 'The Stepford Wives', which uses the architecture of a suspense novel, is unlikely also to be strong on description or character. If it were, the suspense would probably be lost. But what it lacks in these aspects, it more than compensates for in the strength of the idea, its general air of creepiness and the skill with which Levin unfolds its plot.

And then there's the prose. It's written in that 1970s, post-Hemingway, pared-down style that became so ubiquitous. It reminded me of Luke Rhinehart. It's not remotely poetic but it moves the story forward in an efficient manner.

Is this a warning about the alienation that feminism might induce? Is it a satire on the infantile nature of modern masculinity? Is it an indictment of suburban existence? Who can say. Whatever else it might be, though, it's also a couple of hours well spent.