The Torturer's Wife
The Torturer's Wife

Press Reviews

The Caribbean

The Caribbean Review of Books

"In many ways the experience of the dreamers, their inscrutable relationship with the dream-text, is akin to the experience of the reader of this collection. Stories often take on the texture of dreamscapes: enigmatic, elusive, difficult to decode."
—Ronald Cummings

The Examiner

"Glave's prose is vibrant, and immediate. It carries the reader along as it delves deep into the grim places of the human mind. . . . Putting this book down, I felt I will go back at some point soon and reread, in order to more fully understand and appreciate this beautiful and intriguing look at post-postmodern war fiction." —Alan Chin

The Kosmopolitan Online

"Glave's tales of desire, love, and fear during times of trauma simply should not be ignored. . . . The stories in this book are not pleasant, but they are important nevertheless. I would love to see Middle America give this book a try." —Martin Goffeney

The Gay & Lesbian Review

"Thomas Glave has emerged as a unique author within GLBT letters, and his latest collection of short stories, The Torturer's Wife, stands to solidify his reputation. Indeed, while many of the books marketed to a gay readership rely on facile themes, Glave bravely defies the usual commercial interests by dealing with difficult subjects clothed in experimental prose." —Eduardo Febles

The Seattle Gay News

"Few of the nine short stories in Glave's second collection are explicitly Queer. But his themes are universal: the trauma of haunting memories, the puzzle of erotic longing, the intersection of intimacy and desire, the gnawing disease of unacknowledged racism, the parallel horrors of war and anti-Gay violence. . . Glave's daringly experimental but eloquent prose style, often elliptical and interspersed with lines of poetry, is a challenge. But a deep, attentive reading will yield exciting literary rewards." —Richard Labonte

"Short story collections are as good as their authors, as is the case with these three books. Lambda Award-winning author Thomas Glave followed his first collection (Whose Song? and Other Stories) with an even better set in The Torturer's Wife, a group of violent and disturbing but nonetheless compelling tales."

—Jesse Monteagudo

Bay Area Reporter

"Interruptions, run-on sentences, and unorthodox punctuation waltz with graphic, grisly descriptions and sudden bouts of poetry. Teeming with unnamed characters and secrets galore, Glave's collection impressively and collectively presents itself as a trembling sheath barely concealing the horror and dubious complexities of modern-day life as we know it."

—Jim Piechota

Publishers Weekly
"Glave's second collection is a disquieting, graphic, semiexperimental compendium examining violence and ignorance in and out of wartime. After opening with a contemporary relationship drama, Glave makes the jarring transition to armed conflicts, invasion and genocide. What most unifies these works is what's left unsaid—secrets are a constant, and there are virtually no names. Glave's style, full of interruptions, ellipses, unconventional text treatments and poemlike breaks, sends each story whirling thickly toward its end: in the title story, a woman called "She" is haunted by grotesque nightmares of dismembered body parts raining on her house and garden, after discovering her high-ranking husband's wartime atrocities. In the allegorical "Milk/Sea; Sentience," the dreams of a sleeping village of women heal war's wounds. . . . an intriguing experiment in post-postmodern war fiction. "

The Advocate

"In May, Glave stood up at a Caribbean literary festival and bravely criticized antigay remarks made by the Jamaican prime minister. Now he delivers a story collection focusing on the redemption of desire amid violence and homophobia."

"Thomas Glave, who has been compared to fellow O. Henry Award winner Richard Wright, returns with his second collection of short fiction, The Torturer's Wife. In passionate, disquieting prose, Glave bears eloquent witness to human traumas both large and small."

Chroma: A Queer Journal

"Glave's stories focus on characters who haven’t been allowed a voice or whose ability to speak has been silenced through death and the machinations of government and/or society. Though the subject matter is heavy, the author’s beautiful use of language gives meaning and substance to what are sometimes horrific events. More importantly, Glave bears witness to incidents often ignored just as he did in his collection of essays Words to Our Now. . . . Glave’s narratives seamlessly interweave components of speech with descriptions of place and the internal thoughts of the characters. His olfactory-driven prose give an immediacy to the time, location and physicality of his characters, making his stories come vibrantly alive. . . .  Identity is divided in order for the individual to cope with the extremity of emotion and maintain aspects of themselves they don’t want to lose. Glave employs radically diverse styles and structures to describe this process making his writing some of the most exciting and spirited I’ve read for a long time."

—Eric Karl Anderson

"In The Torturer's Wife, Thomas Glave has reproduced Lady Macbeth's descent into murder and madness. Set in a modern paradise controlled by terror, people disappear during midnight flights over the ocean, while a charismatic military leader parades his stunningly lovely wife through mansions and banquets. This is a story that, once read, will replay itself in your nightmares forever."
—Gail Dennehy