From the author
of the beloved novel Three Junes comes a rich and commanding story about
the accidents, both grand and small, that determine our choices in love and
marriage. Greenie Duquette, openhearted yet stubborn, devotes most of her
passionate attention to her Greenwich Village bakery and her fouryearold son,
George. Her husband, Alan, seems to have fallen into a midlife depression, while
Walter, a traditional gay man who has become her closest professional ally, is
nursing a broken heart.
It is at Walters restaurant that the visiting governor of New Mexico tastes
Greenies coconut cake and decides to woo her away from the city to be his chef.
For reasons both ambitious and desperate, she acceptsand finds herself heading
west without her husband. This impulsive decision will change the course of
several lives within and beyond Greenies orbit. Alan, alone in New York, must
face down his demons; Walter, eager for platonic distraction, takes in his
teenage nephew. Yet Walter cannot steer clear of love trouble, and despite his
enforced solitude, Alan is still surrounded by women: his powerful sister, an
old flame, and an animal lover named Saga, who grapples with demons all her own.
As for Greenie, living in the shadow of a charismatic politician leads to a
series of unforeseen consequences that separate her from her only child. We
watch as folly, chance, and determination pull all these lives together and
apart over a year that culminates in the fall of the twin towers at the World
Trade Center, an event that will affirm or confound the choices each character
has madeor has refused to face.
Julia Glass is at her best here, weaving a glorious tapestry of lives and
lifetimes, of places and people, revealing the subtle mechanisms behind our most
important, and often most fragile, connections to others. In The Whole World
Over she has given us another tale that pays tribute to the extraordinary
complexities of love.
If Julia Glass had limited her second novel to just the central story of patisserie owner, Greenie, and her psychologist husband, Alan, she would not have held my interest; but like Anthony Trollope (or for that matter, his granddaughter, Joanna), Glass's strength is in the way she weaves the threads of many people's stories into a colorful quilt that shows family life in all its shapes and sizes. If you're in the market for a story to warm the cockles of your heart, this might well be it. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The Atlantic Monthly - Elizabeth Judd
[A] winning second novel ... Harks back to Trollope and Tolstoy. Like her predecessors, [Glass] finds inspiration in the vicissitudes of family strife .... Watching Glass sort out a dozen intersecting story lines is never less than fascinating. In keeping with her nineteenth century influences, s he resolves all loose ends, treating everyone with remarkable evenhandedness in her bustling, congenial world.
Glass's long but always captivating tale is a quilt of many colors and motivations whose strongest threads are love of family and sense of self.
Booklist - Kristin Huntley
Glass gracefully builds up to the traumatic event that will affect them all, deftly exploring the sacrifices, compromises, and leaps of faith that accompany love.
Starred Review. While this work is less emotionally gripping than Three Junes, Glass brings the same assured narrative drive and engaging prose to this exploration of the quest for love and its tests—absence, doubt, infidelity, guilt and loss.
Julia Glass's first novel,
Three Junes, won the 2002
National Book Award for Fiction. Her
fiction has been honored with a National
Endowment for the Arts Literature
Fellowship, a New York Foundation for
the Arts Fellowship, three Nelson Algren
Fiction Awards, the Tobias Wolff Award,
and the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society
Medal for Best Novella. She spent the
2004-2005 academic year as a fellow at
the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced
Studies, where she finished The Whole
World Over. She is a longtime New
Yorker who now lives in Massachusetts
with her family.
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