The Widower's Tale

The Widower's Tale

Hardback

By (author) Julia Glass

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 236mm x 36mm | 748g
  • Publication date: 7 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 030737792X
  • ISBN 13: 9780307377920
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 421,314

Product description

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.

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Author information

Julia Glass is the author of "Three Junes, " winner of the 2002 National Book Award for Fiction;" The Whole World Over; "and "I See You Everywhere, " winner of the 2009 Binghamton University John Gardner Book Award. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her short fiction has won several prizes, and her personal essays have been widely anthologized. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.

Review quote

Praise for "The Widower’s Tale"   “A satisfyingly cleareyed and compassionate view of American entitlement and its fallout. . . The family is society’s most inescapable institution, but in Glass’s hands it’s also the most shifting and vulnerable. And in "The Widower’s Tale "she approaches the ties of kinship with the same joyfully disruptive spirit that animated her previous books.” —Maria Russo, "The New York Times Book Review"   “An enchanting story of familial bonds and late-life romance. Expect to be infatuated with Glass’s protagonist, 70-year-old Percy Darling, he of generous soul, dry wit, and courtly manners.” —"Oprah " “Glass effortlessly ping-pongs between three dramas to show how everyday love and lies can make—or completely destroy—a life. This one’s perfect for when you’ve got the night all to yourself and want to keep thinking long after