The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
Evelyn Caldwell is an award-winning research scientist. She has revolutionized modern adult cloning. On the cusp of taking her research commercial, Evelyn gets a desperate call from Martine, her ex-husband Daniel’s new wife. But Martine didn’t just take Evelyn’s place, she’s a clone of Evelyn. Now Daniel is dead, and Evelyn will stop at nothing to protect the legacy she has built.
The Echo Wife is told in the first person from protagonist Evelyn’s point of view. Evelyn is an accomplished scientist who is desperate to maintain her success and reputation, as well as her well-cultivated mannerisms. She is uncomfortable with human emotion, never apologizes, and maintains a generally aloof nature. In direct contrast is Martine, her clone. Martine has been programmed by Evelyn’s ex-husband to be everything Evelyn is not. She is warm, self-sacrificing, maternal. Still, the two have similarities they cannot ignore, which begs the question: What characteristics exactly do we inherit from our DNA alone?
The Echo Wife raises so many excellent questions through its intelligent prose. What does it mean to be human? Should clones have rights? Is killing a clone the same as murder? Can personality traits be transferred at a molecular level? As far as the plot, I found it a bit slow. While the concepts are provocative and certainly has moments, not much happens over the 250 pages. The plot exists mainly in the ethical undertones and the questions it raises.
Thank you to Tor Books for the review copy! All opinions are my own.
Synopsis from Goodreads
The Echo Wife is a non-stop thrill ride, perfect for readers of Big Little Lies and enthusiasts of “Killing Eve” and “Westworld”
Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.
Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.
About the Author
Hugo Award Winner and Bestselling author Sarah Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and the Boston Globe, and they won a Hugo award for Best Fan Writer. Their most recent fiction credits include Vice and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was a 2018 Hugo and Nebula award finalist. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, was published in 2019; their latest novella, Upright Women Wanted, was published in February 2020. Their Young Adult novel debut, When We Were Magic, came out in March 2020. You can find links to their work at http://www.sarahgailey.com; find them on social media @gaileyfrey.