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
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2010
    416 pages
    Genre: Novels

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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

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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.

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Author Information

Julia Glass Author Biography

Photo: Dennis Cowley

Julia Glass is the author of Three Junes, winner of the 2002 National Book Award for Fiction; The Whole World Over; I See You Everywhere, winner of the 2009 Binghamton University John Gardner Book Award; and The Widower's Tale.

She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her short fiction has won several prizes, and her personal essays have been widely anthologized.

She lives in Massachusetts with her family.

Author Interview
Link to Julia Glass's Website

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