Synopses & Reviews
Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout explores the mysteries of marriage and the secrets we keep, as a former couple reckons with where they've come from — and what they've left behind.
"Elizabeth Strout is one of my very favorite writers, so the fact that Oh William may well be my favorite of her books is a mathematical equation for joy. The depth, complexity, and love contained in these pages is a miraculous achievement." —Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House
I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William.
Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery to me. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are.
So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret — one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. What happens next is nothing less than another example of what Hilary Mantel has called Elizabeth Strout's "perfect attunement to the human condition." There are fears and insecurities, simple joys and acts of tenderness, and revelations about affairs and other spouses, parents and their children. On every page of this exquisite novel we learn more about the quiet forces that hold us together — even after we've grown apart.
At the heart of this story is the indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who offers a profound, lasting reflection on the very nature of existence. "This is the way of life," Lucy says: "the many things we do not know until it is too late."
"It's not for nothing that Strout has been compared to Hemingway. In some ways, she betters him." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Strout's habitual themes of loneliness and the impossibility of ever truly knowing another person are ubiquitous in this deeply sad tale….Another skillful, pensive exploration of Strout's fundamental credo: ‘We are all mysteries.’"
“A masterful, wise, moving, and ultimately uplifting meditation on human existence. Strout's latest wry and affecting inquiry into the hidden depths of quiet lives.” Booklist
About the Author
Elizabeth Strout is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Olive, Again; Anything Is Possible, winner of the Story Prize; My Name Is Lucy Barton; The Burgess Boys; Olive Kitteridge, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; Abide with Me; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London. She lives in Maine.