The Echo Wife is a sci-fi thriller that follows Evelyn Caldwell, who is a scientist with unflinching resolve when it comes to her research and her relationships. She makes an incredible leap in scientific research just as her marriage is falling apart. As much as she wants to keep her head down and push forward, she finds that impossible to do when she receives a phone call from Martine, the woman her husband left her for. Evelyn’s clone.
The betrayal in this book runs deep. Evelyn’s husband not only ended their marriage, but he took and misused her own research, creating long-lasting problems for her beyond what she could have imagined. Things get worse when Nathan is found dead, and Evelyn learns that she must team up with Martine in order to (literally) clean up all the mess.
As things unfold and Evelyn begins to question the limits of her work, the reader is also nudged to question the reaches of science, clone research, ethics, and the human condition. What makes a person a person, and who decides? Where should one draw the line between morality and basic logic?
Although the book is under three hundred pages, it is impossible to feel like you don’t come away from it knowing the characters very intimately, especially Evelyn Caldwell. Over the course of the story, she examines her life and choices from childhood to the present, with a focus on how her parents permanently imprinted themselves upon her. Evelyn had the oddly unique opportunity to see what her life could have been like had she made different decisions. Her life, and the effects of outside factors upon it, was explored in full.
The way that women have to navigate their way through patriarchal systems is a recurring theme here that I appreciated. The kinds of challenges that women face in the workplace, society, and in their private lives is examined across multiple characters over a span of years, especially in academic circles where Evelyn worked tirelessly to earn and maintain respect.
This book is a thrill ride. It is fast-paced, and very possible to consume in one sitting (I was very tempted). While reading, when I came up for air, I was pushed to think about mortality and duality. The Echo Wife is one of those fun reads that are quick and full of depth, with so much to unpack. This book is weird in the best way, from the start right until the deeply unsettling ending.