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The Widower's Tale: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 7, 2010
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
The book focuses on the lives of four men: Percy, Robert, Celestino, and Ira. The book's chapters are alternately told from the viewpoints of each of these four characters, although only Percy Darling is given the honor of having his story told in the first person. Percy is the widower of the book's title. He is an eccentric retired Harvard librarian. He is fiercely independent and physically robust. Percy is an intellectual with a keen mind and a warm heart. He is the patriarch of a fascinating family consisting of two daughters, two sons-in-law, and three grandchildren.
The second main character is Robert, Percy's grandson. He is a premed student at Harvard who becomes close friends with his college roommate, Arturo. Robert is the admirable young man that almost any parent would be proud of having raised. Unfortunately, through Arturo, Robert is drawn into a world of college-prank-style acts of local eco-terrorism.
The third main character is Ira, a teacher working in the preschool that is located in the barn behind Percy's home. Ira's partner, Antony, is a successful divorce lawyer helping Percy's daughter with a custody battle. Both men become close friends of Percy and his family.
The fourth main character is Celestino, an illegal Guatemalan immigrant working as a gardener for Percy's next-door neighbor. Percy, Robert, and Ira each become good friends with Celestino.Read more ›
Percy Darling - a 70-year-old retired librarian with an offbeat wit and courtly manners - is at the vortex of this novel, the only character that narrates from the first-person perspective. He has spent years in self-inflicted soltitude following the senseless and inadvertent death of his wife three decades earlier. After making an uncharacteristic choice - allowing his barn to become a preschool to help his rootless older daughter - his solitary life becomes dramatically transformed.
Gradually, this trustafarian finds his world turned upside down as he falls for a younger woman with a young adopted son named Rico. A sudden complication in that relationship will emotionally test him in ways that he would never have dreamt possible. To add insult to injury, his beloved grandson, Robert - a Harvard pre-med student - becomes involved in an eco-activism movement that will shake his complacency even more.
The characters that Julia Glass creates - including a Guatemalan landscaper, a gay preschool teacher and his divorce attorney partner, and Percy Darling's two very opposite daughters - come alive so eloquently that they could literally walk off the pages. This book examines not only one's responsibility to oneself, but to one's family and to society at large by shining its laser beam onto the haves-and-have-nots in affluent New England and the costs and rewards of opening up to others.
I loved this richly-layered and beautifully-rendered book. I cared about the very original cast of characters and the emotional and social issues they confront. Kudos to Ms. Glass for a totally absorbing read!
Hidden agendas and intellectual snobbery aside, I willingly admit that I did enjoy most of this excursion into the life of septuagenarian Percy Darling, his two grown daughters, his grandson, his unexpected love interest as well as the assorted peripheral acquaintances, friends, and neighbors that populate this richly layered and memorable novel about friendship, family secrets and the strange twists of fate that shape our lives. The story takes place over the course of one year and manages to squeeze in every topic from gay marriage and ecological activism (read eco-terrorism if you are more moderate than liberal) to the plight of both the uninsured and the undocumented. Many of Glass's characters appear to be victims of some sort of personal exile and while some storylines are more well developed than others and add to the readers enjoyment and understanding, others like that of the Guatemalan gardener, Celestino, appear to be more gratuitous than necessary to the advancement of the narrative.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a nice story and the characters were complex and interesting. It was a slow read. I didn't feel like I couldn't put it down.Published 1 month ago by Lois P.
Hard to get into. Would not have finished but was for Book Club.Published 2 months ago by Ladonna R. Temple
A good tale definitely contemporary kept me engaged 'til the end.Published 3 months ago by Samantha Smith
Mr. Darling is the narrator and main character in this elegant tale of family and friends old and new. There were so many things I liked about this book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by georgiegirl256
Deep understanding of characters and fine selection of thought and words. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.Published 4 months ago by Monica Weltmann
The true theme of this story is relationships. How they affect us, how they change us, how they evolve over time and how we all become entwined into a community, sometimes even... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Really tried to read this book, but gave up. Too many characters, too much rambling, felt like there was no plot. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jenny1991
This is a very well done book. I was engrossed from beginning to end. I will be read more by Ms Glass.Published 8 months ago by Susan J. Nienstedt