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The Widower's Tale: Book summary and reviews of The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass

The Widower's Tale

A Novel

by Julia Glass

The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass X
The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass
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  • Published Sep 2010
    416 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

In a historic farmhouse outside Boston, seventy-year-old Percy Darling is settling happily into retirement: reading novels, watching old movies, and swimming naked in his pond. His routines are disrupted, however, when he is persuaded to let a locally beloved preschool take over his barn. As Percy sees his rural refuge overrun by children, parents, and teachers, he must reexamine the solitary life he has made in the three decades since the sudden death of his wife. No longer can he remain aloof from his community, his two grown daughters, or, to his shock, the precarious joy of falling in love.
 
One relationship Percy treasures is the bond with his oldest grandchild, Robert, a premed student at Harvard. Robert has long assumed he will follow in the footsteps of his mother, a prominent physician, but he begins to question his ambitions when confronted by a charismatic roommate who preaches—and begins to practice—an extreme form of ecological activism, targeting Boston's most affluent suburbs.
 
Meanwhile, two other men become fatefully involved with Percy and Robert: Ira, a gay teacher at the preschool, and Celestino, a Guatemalan gardener who works for Percy's neighbor, each one striving to overcome a sense of personal exile. Choices made by all four men, as well as by the women around them, collide forcefully on one lovely spring evening, upending everyone’s lives, but none more radically than Percy's.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A dramatic, thought-provoking, and immensely satisfying novel." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Elaborately plotted and luxuriously paced, Glass' inquisitive, compassionate, funny, and suspenseful saga addresses significant and thorny social issues with emotional veracity, artistic nuance, and a profound perception of the grand interconnectivity of life." - Booklist

"Starred Review." - Kirkus

This information about The Widower's Tale was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Cecilia Zalkind

A Wonderful Read
Julia Glass is back with a book as good as her first book, Three Junes. Her characters, the story line and her writing are thoughtful and engaging - you feel like you've become part of the story and are getting to know the characters as you would a new friend. More than anything, this book is about the potential for change, for discovering the capacity for growth and hope. Her last book was a disappointment. This is a return to what made her first two books so good - very human characters with the potential for grace. I recommend it highly.

Mary H

Seinfeldish
This book was great for those nights when a case of insomnia pursued me. I could not enjoy this novel at all as it just kept skipping from character to character. Way to Seinfeldish for my liking and it did absolutely nothing for me.

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Author Information

Julia Glass Author Biography

Photo: Dennis Cowley

Julia Glass is the author of six previous books of fiction, including the bestselling Three Junes, winner of the National Book Award, and I See You Everywhere, winner of the Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Other published works include the Kindle Single Chairs in the Rafters and essays in several anthologies. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Glass is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emerson College. She lives with her family in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Author Interview
Link to Julia Glass's Website

Other books by Julia Glass at BookBrowse
  • Three Junes jacket
  • The Whole World Over jacket

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