Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout explores the mysteries of marriage and the secrets we keep, as a former couple reckons with where they've come from - and what they've left behind.
"I would like to say a...Read More
"I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William."
Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery to me. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are.
So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret - one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. What happens next is nothing less than another example of what Hilary Mantel has called Elizabeth Strout's "perfect attunement to the human condition." There are fears and insecurities, simple joys and acts of tenderness, and revelations about affairs and other spouses, parents and their children. On every page of this exquisite novel we learn more about the quiet forces that hold us together - even after we've grown apart.
At the heart of this story is the indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who offers a profound, lasting reflection on the very nature of existence. "This is the way of life," Lucy says: "the many things we do not know until it is too late."
Elizabeth Strout is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Olive, Again; Anything Is Possible, winner of the Story Prize; My Name Is Lucy Barton; The Burgess Boys; Olive Kitteridge, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; Abide with Me; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London. She lives in Maine.
"Elizabeth Strout is one of my very favorite writers, so the fact that Oh William! may well be my favorite of her books is a mathematical equation for joy. The depth, complexity, and love contained in these pages is a miraculous achievement." - Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House
"Loneliness and betrayal, themes to which the Pulitzer Prize-winning Strout has returned throughout her career, are ever present in this illuminating character-driven saga. . . . Strout's characters teem with angst and emotion, all of which [she] handles with a mastery of restraint and often in spare, true sentences. . . . It's not for nothing that Strout has been compared to Hemingway. In some ways, she betters him." - Publishers Weekly
"One proof of Elizabeth Strout’s greatness is the sleight of hand with which she injects sneaky subterranean power into seemingly transparent prose. Strout works in the realm of everyday speech, conjuring repetitions, gaps and awkwardness with plain language and forthright diction, yet at the same time unleashing a tidal urgency that seems to come out of nowhere even as it operates in plain sight." - The New York Times Book Review
"The effect is a confiding intimacy, as if the reader were catching up with an old friend in a particularly confessional mood. At the same time it invites the reader to speculate on what isn’t being told and what the speaker doesn’t even realise she is telling you. The wandering structure belies a tight underlying web of recurring motifs: phone calls, unappreciated gifts, road trips." - The Guardian
Praise for Elizabeth Strout
"[Strout] illuminates both what people understand about others and what they understand about themselves." - The New York Times Book Review
"Strout managed to make me love this strange woman I'd never met, who I knew nothing about. What a terrific writer she is." - Zadie Smith
"Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force. . . . [She] makes us experience not only the terrors of change but also the terrifying hope that change can bring: she plunges us into these churning waters and we come up gasping for air." - The New Yorker
"Writing of this quality comes from a commitment to listening, from a perfect attunement to the human condition, from an attention to reality so exact that it goes beyond a skill and becomes a virtue." - Hilary Mantel
"Reading an Elizabeth Strout novel is like peering into your neighbor's windows. . . . There is a nuanced tension in the novel, evoked by beautiful and detailed writing. Strout's manifestations of envy, pride, guilt, selflessness, bigotry and love are subtle and spot-on." - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Strout is a brilliant chronicler of the ambiguity and delicacy of the human condition." - The Guardian