Hachette, $32.99 pb, 421 pp
Stephanie Bishop’s The Anniversary is an example of both deft literary craft and an engrossing read – a feat rarer than it should be. Billed as a ‘novel about writing and desire’, this is more a work interrogating the nexus between art, celebrity, and commerce, while unpicking the ways in which gender informs all three.
JB, the narrator, is an accomplished novelist on the cusp of winning an international literary prize, and perhaps eclipsing her husband, Patrick. A celebrated film auteur, Patrick is two decades her senior and at the peak of his career. He is also her former teacher. Their art is intertwined, a joint project melding the personal and the professional in ways that cannot be separated – until, of course, they are. Given the key event of this novel can be no surprise to the reader – the blurb reveals that Patrick is lost at sea while they are celebrating their anniversary on a cruise – questions about their creativity, their reputations, and who advanced whose career more are what drive the narrative.