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The Whole World Over: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Julia Glass
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


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Book Description

Julia Glass, author of the award-winning novel Three Junes, tells a vivid tale of longing and loss, revealing the subtle mechanisms behind our most important connections to others. In The Whole World Over, she pays tribute once again to the extraordinary complexities of love.Greenie Duquette lavishes most of her passionate energy on her Greenwich Village bakery and her young son. Her husband, Alan, seems to have fallen into a midlife depression, while Walter, her closest professional ally, is nursing a broken heart. At Walter’s restaurant, the visiting governor of New Mexico tastes Greenie’s coconut cake and decides to woo her away to be his chef. For reasons both ambitious and desperate, she accepts–heading west without her husband. This impulsive decision, along with events beyond Greenie’s control, will change the course of several lives around her.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In her second rich, subtle novel, Glass reveals how the past impinges on the present, and how small incidents of fate and chance determine the future. Greenie Duquette has a small bakery in Manhattan's West Village that supplies pastries to restaurants, including that of her genial gay friend Walter. When Walter recommends Greenie to the governor of New Mexico, she seizes the chance to become the Southwesterner's pastry chef and to take a break from her marriage to Alan Glazier, a psychiatrist with hidden issues. Taking their four-year-old son, George, with her, Greenie leaves for New Mexico, while figures from her and Alan's pasts challenge their already strained marriage. Their lives intersect with those of such fully dimensional secondary characters as Fenno McLeod, the gay bookseller from Three Junes; Saga, a 30-something woman who lost her memory in an accident; and Saga's Uncle Marsden, a Yale ecologist who takes care of her. While this work is less emotionally gripping than Three Junes, Glass brings the same assured narrative drive and engaging prose to this exploration of the quest for love and its tests—absence, doubt, infidelity, guilt and loss.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Greenie Duquette loves her cozy life in the West Village, her work as a pastry chef, and her precocious young son. But she is fed up with her husband, Alan, an underemployed psychotherapist whose once passionate beliefs are ossifying into reflexive bitterness. When, in early 2000, the brash Republican governor of New Mexico offers her a lucrative job, she jumps at it; Alan is free to follow her if he chooses. In Glass's sprawling follow-up to her award-winning novel "Three Junes," a dozen or so characters are plunged into the tumultuous dissatisfactions and challenges of middle age, their paths crossing and recrossing with a pleasing mixture of chance and inevitability. Glass is fascinated by the ways people gamble both with and for their happiness, but her characters are a little too decent, generous, and forgiving. Even as we watch their dramas unfold in the shadow of 9/11, the potential horror of irrevocable choices eludes us.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker - click here to subscribe.

Product Details

  • File Size: 556 KB
  • Print Length: 576 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400075769
  • Publisher: Anchor (May 23, 2006)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000GCFW0U
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,937 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strictly okay July 31, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As many of the reviewers of this book are, I am a great fan of Julia Glass' first book, "Three Junes", and had eagerly been waiting for her follow-up. I was dismayed to read so many middling reviews of "The Whole World Over," but was determined to give it a try myself. I really wanted to like the book, but a hundred pages in I found myself disappointedly sympathizing with the reviewers on this site who had given up at that point and had no remorse about not continuing. I kept reading out of loyalty to Glass -- and to the fact that I hadn't actually liked the first part of "Three Junes" either, and I wound up loving that novel in the end. Unfortunately, "The Whole World Over" doesn't pick up the way her first book did. The characters just aren't very involving, and their stories don't make you want to find out more about them. They are very grounded and thought-out, but ultimately feel more planned than realistic. There is also a very disjointed narrative structure that awkwardly transitions, in each chapter, from 2000-2001 (when the present-day action is unfolding) to some point in the past of whichever character that chapter is about, and then back to the present. The cast of characters is a little too crowded as well, particularly for the narrative form Ms. Glass has chosen. Storylines are constantly getting put on hold to switch to another one, and since none of them are very interesting it only serves to distance you further from the action. Glass also seems to have developed a taste for cutesy language that feels cloying -- and her efforts to nickname each of her characters becomes grating after a while. She also falls into the trap of over-using the words like, totally, dude, and man in the dialogue of her younger, teen or twenty-something characters. Read more ›
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't compare to The Three Junes.... July 4, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I ADORED The Three Junes and was eagerly waiting for another novel from Ms. Glass but only got halfway through this book. I wanted to keep reading because I still think the author is extremely talented but unfortunately it just didn't capture my interest. Main problems:

A. I didn't find Greenie a very interesting or sympathetic character.

B. Story lumbers along very slowly.

C. I could sense the author WRITING the book as I was reading it which makes it very hard to immerse yourself in the story.

D. There are many different story lines in The Whole World Over and everytime I picked up the book it felt like I was reading a completely different novel -- this disjointed sensation never allowed me to get close to the characters or to enter their world.

I hate to write a bad review because I still think Ms. Glass is a brilliant writer. I highly recommend her first book which was utterly gorgeous and truly magical.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sense of family replaces sense of place October 11, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like many of the other reviewers, I did not find this book as instantly compelling as Three Junes. But that's okay; it has other virtues. I find its strongest virtue best described through something else that it's not.

The Whole World Over takes place largely on Bank Street in New York City and in Santa Fe, but, with one exception I'll cover later, it's not evocative of either. (I've worked in lower Manhattan for the last 25 years, a friend of mine lives on Bank Street, and I spend a week and a half in Santa Fe every August.) I assume that this is deliberate, and I assume that it's meant to focus us on what matters in this novel: the creation of family.

Many of the characters - and there are many characters - come from families that don't function well. These characters respond by creating their own families, through sex and friendship. In Santa Fe, this doesn't work out, but to focus on Santa Fe would distract our attention from why it doesn't. One of the main characters, Greenie, goes from Bank Street to Santa Fe and back to Bank Street, with excursions to Maine. It doesn't matter where she is; it matters where she can create an enduring family. Both New York and Santa Fe seem strangely under-populated in this book, as if the only characters there are the ones in the novel. The created families become the neighborhoods.

There is one exception to this, I thought. Five years after the fact, I still find it uncomfortable to think of September 11, 2001, in lower Manhattan. Julia Glass does a great job of invoking this discomfort. The attack on the World Trade Center is focused through Saga, another of the many main characters. Saga is recovering from a traumatic brain injury, and at first she can't figure out what was happening.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yikes, this was frustrating! July 25, 2006
Like most people, I bought this book by Julia Glass because of her "Three Junes." I struggled through it, not quitting because I was hoping that it might correct itself, was leading to something, or that the rambling and disconnected writing -- full of so much superfluous detail (example: Toward the end of the book, the characters, most of whom are quite unlikable and often cartoony, play Scrabble and we get to play along, learning what words they play and where, even though this has nothing to do with the plot line, what there is) as to be ridiculous. The book had the feel of someone writing frantically to fill pages because there was a deadline looming. I heard myself saying or thinking as I began another long section: "Good God, where are we heading here, why are we being told this?" I also realize that a protagonist is a cook, but the attention to meal descriptions became laughable. I am a prodigious reader and also a writer and admire the craft. I admire Ms. Glass, and I know she is a pro, but I feel badly for her that her editors allowed this one to see the light of day. But here's the good news: Books I have not liked have been known to win major literary prizes. So . . . .
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A family saga
This story is set largely in New York City on Banks Street. Its characters know very little about one another, but through the magic of the author's storytelling their lives begin... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Evangeline Kessler
3.0 out of 5 stars Interwoven New York relationships
(2.5 stars) This novel revolves around a married couple, Greenie Duquette, a baker, and her husband, Alan, a psychiatrist. They have a young son, George. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Michelle Boytim
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Favorite Julia Glass novel so far!
The family dynamics and character development are so smooth and accurate and moving; also loved that Fenno appeared again. Beautifully written. A joy to read.
Published 9 months ago by foodie
3.0 out of 5 stars good enough but a lot of whiners in this novel
Lost interest about half way through just did not like most of the characters in the book except Walter and Saga
Published 12 months ago by R. Hetrick
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh, how she sees the world!
One of art's most valuable functions is to make us see things anew, and more than anything else, this is why I love Glass's books, and will look forward to reading the rest of... Read more
Published 16 months ago by N. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Glass Novels a Treat For Me
I am reading The Whole World Over and loving the characters and the story. I was surprised by the customer reviews. They are so negative! Read more
Published 18 months ago by LaNelle
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
I just stumbled upon this book and found it to be a very enjoyable one. I liked the characters, the settings, the stories woven through the story and looked up the author to find... Read more
Published on February 2, 2012 by Victoria L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Un-put-downable
After reading Julia Glass's first book Three Junes which mesmerized and absorbed me entirely, I couldn't wait to get her second The Whole World Over. Read more
Published on September 16, 2011 by Justnother1
1.0 out of 5 stars Where's Julia Glass author of Three Junes?
I can't even finish this book -- and I always finish books! The story unfolds like a TV movie and the writing is shallow and immature. Read more
Published on May 24, 2011 by kate
4.0 out of 5 stars Good characters--not as good as her other books.
Julia Glass usually creates wonderful characters. This book is a good read, but not as good as her other wonderful novels--Three Junes, I See You Everywhere, and the most recent,... Read more
Published on October 21, 2010 by N. Forrester
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