'The Daylight Marriage' Is A Heartbreaking Mystery

May 18, 2015

Heidi Pitlor, a seasoned editor for the annual Best American Short Stories, is the author of the newly released novel, The Daylight Marriage. If a prerequisite to success as a writer is extensive reading, then Pitlor’s editor gig guarantees her success.

We meet Hannah and Lovell on the evening of an explosive argument. They are about 40 and years into their marriage. Raising two children in the suburbs, there is no one thing wrong in their marriage, but rather, many small disappointments that have become big resentments over the years.

The day after the fracas that shakes even the children into a fearful state, Hannah disappears. She sets out to her part-time job at a florist's shop and is not heard from again. We get the story of how Lovell, his insolent teenage daughter, and his bereft eight-year-old cope with the loss. As the three process the absence, questions of guilt and responsibility arise, and each of them finds their own sources of strength. They get police reports of bones washed up on a beach, and they are being crushed under the scrutiny of the media. In the remaining chapters, we get Hannah’s deconstruction of the marriage and how the couple got to their strained existence.

The denouement of what happened to Hannah is heartbreaking and heart stopping, and kept me up late into the night. I guarantee this is Gone Girl—or should I say Gone Woman—all over again.