Stacia Pelletier is the author of Accidents of Providence, short-listed for the Townsend Prize for Fiction. She earned graduate degrees in religion and historical theology from Emory University in Atlanta. She lives in Decatur.
From Stacia Pelletier, author of Accidents of Providence, comes The Half Wives, a new novel that documents May 22, 1897—a day that comes but once a year and when it comes, lasts as long as a year. Former Lutheran minister Henry Plageman has a wife and a lover, neither of whom is sleeping with him. He has two children, one living. And he has six hours left in which to talk his way out of the Golden Gate Park police station, where he has spent the night for disorderly conduct, and make his way to his son’s grave, where his wife is expecting him: today would have been Jack’s sixteenth birthday.
In a story told through four voices – Henry, his wife Marilyn, his lover Lucy, and his intrepid daughter, eight-year-old Blue—we follow the Plagemans and the Christensens as they travel through San Francisco to their destination: the far northern end of the notorious city cemetery, whose gates are about to be permanently closed. The collision of lives and secrets that follows will leave no one unaltered.
The Half Wives is a story about letting go of the future as well as the past. It’s about unearthing what’s been buried and burying what’s been unearthed. It’s about a young girl who needs to learn the truth about her father. Most of all, it’s about two women who, although they haven’t yet met, remain locked in a decade-long struggle. Their contest is not over a man. It’s over something more elusive: autonomy.