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The Whole World Overby Julia Glass
Synopses & Reviews
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 four-year-old 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 Walter's restaurant that the visiting governor of New Mexico tastes Greenie's coconut cake and decides to woo her away from the city to be his chef. For reasons both ambitious and desperate, she accepts — and finds herself heading west without her husband. This impulsive decision will change the course of several lives within and beyond Greenie's 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 made — or 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.
"The Whole World Over is a generous, tentacled, ensemble novel....[Glass] is deft at the quick portraiture and character shorthand, however, that this novelistic approach requires, and the mix-and-match love lives of her characters share common elements that help bind them together thematically." Los Angeles Times
"As the characters grapple with change and uncertainty in their lives, 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." Booklist
"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." Library Journal
"The Whole World Over is a wise book, with breadth as well as depth." Portland Oregonian
"It's difficult to speak more of the novel's particulars without giving away its many satisfying surprises....Glass is too capable to need recipes and four-legged friends to make her fiction a pleasure." New York Times
"I foresee discussions in book groups and on blogs as readers try to decide if they think Glass' use of Sept. 11 is moving and illuminating or slightly discomfiting, and I'm looking forward to being part of those discussions." Newsday
About the Author
Julia Glass, winner of the National Book Award for her novel Three Junes, was a 2004?2005 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and her short stories have been honored with three Nelson Algren Awards and the Tobias Wolff Award. Until recently a longtime New Yorker, she now lives with her family in Massachusetts.
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