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1 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z

The Widower's Tale

by

The Widower's Tale Cover

ISBN13: 9780307377920
ISBN10: 030737792x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

With equal parts affection and satire, Julia Glass spins a captivating tale about the loyalties, rivalries, and secrets of a very particular family. Yet again, she plumbs the human heart brilliantly, dramatically, and movingly.

Review:

"Percy Darling, 70, the narrator of Glass's fourth novel, takes comfort in certitudes: he will never leave his historic suburban Boston house, he is done with love (still guilty about his wife's death 30 years ago), and his beloved grandson Robert, a Harvard senior, will do credit to the family name. But Glass (Three Junes) spins a beautifully paced, keenly observed story in which certainties give way to surprising reversals of fortune. Percy is an opinionated, cantankerous, newly retired Harvard librarian and nobody's 'darling,' who decides to lease his barn to a local preschool, mainly to give his daughter Clover, who has abandoned her husband and children in New York, a job. Percy's other daughter is a workaholic oncologist in Boston who becomes important to a young mother at the school with whom Percy, to his vast surprise, establishes a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, Percy's grandson, Robert, falls in with an ecoterrorist group. Glass handles the coalescing plot elements with astute insights into the complexity of family relationships, the gulf between social classes, and our modern culture of excess to create a dramatic, thought-provoking, and immensely satisfying novel. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"Another heartwarming winner from the NBA-anointed Massachusetts author....Glass's perfect plot gives each character his or her due, in an irresistible pastoral tragicomedy that showcases the warmth and wisdom of one of America's finest novelists, approaching if not already arrived at her peak." Kirkus Reviews

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)

Review:

"Each strand of this narrative macramé is surprisingly supple, offering a convincing illusion of lives roundly lived.... Glass propels her characters through a world that is sometimes dire but also sweetly normal and often joyful." Washington Post

Review:

"Energized, good-humored..., beginning as satire, becoming stealthily suspenseful and ending up with a satisfyingly clear-eyed and compassionate view of American entitlement and its fallout." New York Times

Synopsis:

A rich and suspenseful novel from the award-winning author of Three Junes and I See You Everywhere.

In a quirky farmhouse outside Boston, 70-year-old Percy Darling enjoys a vigorous but mostly solitary life — until, in a complex scheme to help his oldest daughter through a crisis, he allows a progressive preschool to move into his barn. The abrupt transformation of Percy’s rural refuge into a lively, youthful community compels him to reexamine the choices he’s made since his wife’s death, three decades ago, in a senseless accident that haunts him still. No longer can he remain aloof from his neighbors, his two grown daughters, or, to his shock, the precarious joy of falling in love.

Meanwhile, Percy’s beloved grandson Robert, a premed student at Harvard, joins his visionary roommate in a series of environmental “actions” targeting the well-to-do; they begin as pranks but escalate insidiously, with dire consequences for Robert’s family and the people around them, including a Guatemalan gardener and a gay preschool teacher, whose lives intersect fatefully with those of the Darlings. With equal parts affection and satire, Julia Glass spins a powerful tale about the multigenerational loyalties, rivalries, and secrets of a family, inhabitants of a complacently prosperous world where no one is immune to unexpected change. Yet again, she plumbs the human heart brilliantly, dramatically, and movingly.

Synopsis:

In a quirky farmhouse outside Boston, 70-year-old Percy Darling enjoys a vigorous but mostly solitary life until, in a complex scheme to help his oldest daughter through a crisis, he allows a progressive preschool to move into his barn. The abrupt transformation of Percy's rural refuge into a lively, youthful community compels him to reexamine the choices he's made.

About the Author

Julia Glass is the author of Three Junes, winner of the National Book Award; The Whole World Over; and I See You Everywhere, winner of the Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Her short fiction has also won several prizes, and her personal essays have been widely anthologized. She lives in Massachusetts.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

radfemme, March 22, 2011 (view all comments by radfemme)
Much like the seasons do for us, the intertwining voices of this book carry us through a year in the life of a family and its widening community in a familiar but dynamic manner. Percival Darling is the man you're glad isn't your neighbor but he could be a male version of me when I'm old if I'm not careful now. Still, you've got to love fictional curmudgeons who love others, right? And reading about my new "hometown" of Cambridge, MA and its still-unknown-to-me environs was a real pleasure. If you like character-driven stories of ordinary people who are more interesting than you would think just passing them on the street, you'll probably like Glass's newest novel.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
radfemme, March 22, 2011 (view all comments by radfemme)
Much like the seasons do for us, the intertwining voices of this book carry us through a year in the life of a family and its widening community in a familiar but dynamic manner. Percival Darling is the man you're glad isn't your neighbor but he could be a male version of me when I'm old if I'm not careful now. Still, you've got to love fictional curmudgeons who love others, right? And reading about my new "hometown" of Cambridge, MA and its still-unknown-to-me environs was a real pleasure. If you like character-driven stories of ordinary people who are more interesting than you would think just passing them on the street, you'll probably like Glass's newest novel.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Karen DeVaney, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Karen DeVaney)
This book definitely lives up to the high standards set by Julia Glass in her previous books. I expect great narrative and characterization from her, and she did not disappoint. I lived and breathed these characters, and was ultimately both uplifted and irked at the twists and turns in their stories, just like real life. This is not a clean, neatly wrapped-up novel with a single story arc and a pat, happy conclusion. This is a messy, wide-ranging look at social classes and issues, medical professionals, ecoterrorism and radical green movements, divorce, societal pressures, widowers and dating, college life, immigrants... all set in a Boston suburb revolving around the main characters of an elderly widower, his two daughters, a grandson, and an immigrant laborer. I was pulled into the story by the setting and premise, and stayed for the roller coaster ride of disparate strands of seemingly real life crashing into each other. It was a pleasurable and thought-provoking read.
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View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307377920
Author:
Glass, Julia
Publisher:
Pantheon Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Widows
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;family;massachusetts;relationships;new england;ecoterrorism;breast cancer;novel;boston;widower;cancer;contemporary;harvard;sisters;love
Publication Date:
20100931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9.46x6.58x1.28 in. 1.60 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Widower's Tale Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Pantheon Books - English 9780307377920 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Percy Darling, 70, the narrator of Glass's fourth novel, takes comfort in certitudes: he will never leave his historic suburban Boston house, he is done with love (still guilty about his wife's death 30 years ago), and his beloved grandson Robert, a Harvard senior, will do credit to the family name. But Glass (Three Junes) spins a beautifully paced, keenly observed story in which certainties give way to surprising reversals of fortune. Percy is an opinionated, cantankerous, newly retired Harvard librarian and nobody's 'darling,' who decides to lease his barn to a local preschool, mainly to give his daughter Clover, who has abandoned her husband and children in New York, a job. Percy's other daughter is a workaholic oncologist in Boston who becomes important to a young mother at the school with whom Percy, to his vast surprise, establishes a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, Percy's grandson, Robert, falls in with an ecoterrorist group. Glass handles the coalescing plot elements with astute insights into the complexity of family relationships, the gulf between social classes, and our modern culture of excess to create a dramatic, thought-provoking, and immensely satisfying novel. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "Another heartwarming winner from the NBA-anointed Massachusetts author....Glass's perfect plot gives each character his or her due, in an irresistible pastoral tragicomedy that showcases the warmth and wisdom of one of America's finest novelists, approaching if not already arrived at her peak."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Each strand of this narrative macramé is surprisingly supple, offering a convincing illusion of lives roundly lived.... Glass propels her characters through a world that is sometimes dire but also sweetly normal and often joyful."
"Review" by , "Energized, good-humored..., beginning as satire, becoming stealthily suspenseful and ending up with a satisfyingly clear-eyed and compassionate view of American entitlement and its fallout."
"Synopsis" by , A rich and suspenseful novel from the award-winning author of Three Junes and I See You Everywhere.

In a quirky farmhouse outside Boston, 70-year-old Percy Darling enjoys a vigorous but mostly solitary life — until, in a complex scheme to help his oldest daughter through a crisis, he allows a progressive preschool to move into his barn. The abrupt transformation of Percy’s rural refuge into a lively, youthful community compels him to reexamine the choices he’s made since his wife’s death, three decades ago, in a senseless accident that haunts him still. No longer can he remain aloof from his neighbors, his two grown daughters, or, to his shock, the precarious joy of falling in love.

Meanwhile, Percy’s beloved grandson Robert, a premed student at Harvard, joins his visionary roommate in a series of environmental “actions” targeting the well-to-do; they begin as pranks but escalate insidiously, with dire consequences for Robert’s family and the people around them, including a Guatemalan gardener and a gay preschool teacher, whose lives intersect fatefully with those of the Darlings. With equal parts affection and satire, Julia Glass spins a powerful tale about the multigenerational loyalties, rivalries, and secrets of a family, inhabitants of a complacently prosperous world where no one is immune to unexpected change. Yet again, she plumbs the human heart brilliantly, dramatically, and movingly.

"Synopsis" by , In a quirky farmhouse outside Boston, 70-year-old Percy Darling enjoys a vigorous but mostly solitary life until, in a complex scheme to help his oldest daughter through a crisis, he allows a progressive preschool to move into his barn. The abrupt transformation of Percy's rural refuge into a lively, youthful community compels him to reexamine the choices he's made.
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