His Secret Little Wife

A Novel

Publisher: Steerforth
His Secret Little Wife is the story of a brilliant young cellist and her sexual affair with the famous composer and conductor who created her.
It is a story of seduction, of hope, of obsession and triumph. It is also the story of a supremely narcissistic man of genius and insatiable appetites whose magnetic appeal is irresistible, even to those he would use, discard, and even destroy; a bold man with a horrendous sense of entitlement who takes what he wants to take, dumps whom he wants to dump, and never looks back; a man incapable of sorrow, of grieving; a man who destroys everything in his wake. Told through the eyes of a child – as if Lolita had narrated her tale rather than Humbert Humbert – the narrator doesn’t understand the darker side of her relationship with The Maestro as she blossoms within a world that lacks all boundaries. Employing a beautiful and unique style, Fredrica Wagman makes the reader privvy to the thoughts and emotions of a young girl caught in the throes of a relationship beyond her own comprehension.


"Don't be deceived by the simplicity, innocence and passion of His Secret Little Wife. In fact it is the consciousness of this book, the voice of an adult memory fused with the awe of a child singing with breathless momentum, almost as if she can't believe what happened to her meant so much, and still does. . . . Once you start listening you can't stop." — Stephen Berg, author of The Elegy of Hats and editor of The American Poetry Review.


"Frederica Wagman's erotically disturbing fifth novel is 'Lolita' told from the nymphet's point of view. . . . It exerts a tenacious hold on the reader, never relaxing its grip . . . Wagman deftly explores the young girl's sexuality, exposing her adolescent urges without the faintest of apologies. It's a brave and long overdue rendition, also, of the Pygmalion myth, told with elegance and sensuality reminiscent of Marguerite Duras." — San Diego Union-Tribune


"A brutally candid tale that traces the precarious boundaries between love, longing, sex and abuse. . . . This psychological and emotional novel is haunting in its brazen treatment of taboo and beautiful in its lyrical observation of childhood." — The Brooklyn Rail


"We are used to these tales of illicit desire told from a male viewpoint -- Humbert Humbert and his obsession with Lolita. It's uncomfortable to have it switched: a young voice speaking of such intense longing… Her viewpoint is one that Western civilization doesn't like to acknowledge. Female lust, so baldly stated, has always made people -- no matter their gender — squirm… [a] distinctive, compulsive story." The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent