Oh, William – Elizabeth Strout

Oh William – Elizabeth Strout

I really like Elizabeth Strout, so I went to the book shop on the day it was published (of course they hadn’t unpacked it and I had to come back the next day).

Here’s the blurb

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband – and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a tender, complex, decades-long partnership.

Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence. ‘This is the way of life,’ Lucy says. ‘The many things we do not know until it is too late.’

I thought that I had read My Name is Lucy Barton, but I can’t find it on my blog (and I am usually good at keeping records, so maybe I haven’t read it) anyway it’s not necessary to have read it to appreciate this new novel.

It’s written in a conversational, stream of consciousness method. Lucy thinks about her life with William and her two girls. There is not a huge amount of plot, it’s about the characters and the relationships between the characters. It’s about growing old and family and what it even means to be a family. And about how childhood experiences cast a long shadow over our lives.

A review.

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