Oh William!

Oh William! : From the author of My Name is Lucy Barton

4.11 (6,739 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband - and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a tender, complex, decades-long partnership.

Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence. 'This is the way of life,' Lucy says. 'The many things we do not know until it is too late.'

'Elizabeth Strout is one of my very favourite 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

'A superbly gifted storyteller and a craftswoman in a league of her own' Hilary Mantel

'A terrific writer' Zadie Smith

'She gets better with each book' Maggie O'Farrell

'Miraculous' Guardian

'Brilliant' Sunday Times

'A majestic book. I do not know any other writer who can portray life in this way' Rachel Joyce

'I cannot get Lucy Barton out of my head' The Times

'An absolute delight of a book' Claire Fuller

'A wonderful book' Emma Healey
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 138 x 204 x 23mm | 304g
  • Viking
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9780241508176
  • 233

Review Text

One of America's finest writers
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Review quote

One proof of Elizabeth Strout's greatness is the sleight of hand with which she injects sneaky subterranean power into seemingly transparent prose. Strout works in the realm of everyday speech, conjuring repetitions, gaps and awkwardness with plain language and forthright diction, yet at the same time unleashing a tidal urgency that seems to come out of nowhere even as it operates in plain sight -- Jennifer Egan * New York Times * Strout is not only mercilessly funny on the page, she's also unerringly precise about the long-term effects of loneliness, parental neglect and betrayal . . . The final scene between William and Lucy has been carouselling in my mind for days now . . . devastating and vital, bleak and tender * Sunday Times * What sets Strout's work apart is her characterisation . . . Long on empathy while steering clear of sentimentality, her prose bears the minerality of a crisp white wine, with a seeming simplicity that belies its profound power * FT * A very good novel, deft when it needs to be and ambivalent where certainty would be facile. Its celebration of the ungraspable riddles and sudden judgments of real life becomes compulsive. . . . I cannot get Lucy Barton out of my head * The Times * [Strout] is a novelist of the inner sensibility, and what makes her so compellingly readable is her rendering of the ebb and flow of emotion and impression, of the stream of consciousness between past and present that makes Lucy cousin to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway * Daily Telegraph * Strout is very good at parsing the contradictory elements that make up our relationship with ourselves and the lives we lead, and the extent to which these elements exist in a state of flux. Such a pleasure to read. And so very wise * Daily Mail * Strout gets you to reassess every relationship you've ever had while you can still do something about it * Spectator * 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 The end lines of this novel from the staggeringly gifted Elizabeth Strout are a revelation - a profound understanding of our relationships, ourselves . . . A luminous novel about love, loss and family secrets; hard to believe a writer can fathom us so well * Sainsbury's Magazine * A superbly gifted storyteller and a craftswoman in a league of her own -- Hilary Mantel A terrific writer * Zadie Smith * She gets better with each book -- Maggie O'Farrell One of America's finest writers * Sunday Times * An absolute delight of a book -- Claire Fuller A wonderful book. It is so clever, the way it's built up in little layers of discovery, and how every tiny thing discovered makes the story truer and more painful -- Emma Healey I do not know any other writer who can portray life in this way. With such breadth and complexity, such an awareness of the light and the shadow, and in such sublimely clear and simple brushstrokes. Even though the issues that Strout looks at in Oh William! are those many of us know - the growing up of our children, the family secrets that we carry sometimes without knowing what they are, the growing older of love, and just that very simple and most basic question about who we are and what we for - she shines a light on them that is luminous and ultimately forgiving. A majestic book. -- Rachel Joyce There are shades of Anne Tyler and also John Updike in the stories woven from the impulses and lives of people in America. But what sets Strout apart is the way she describes people's innermost thoughts and the nuances of their feelings...this warm and enjoyable segment of Lucy's life, written by one of our best storytellers * Evening Standard * They say good things come in threes and although it feels as though this latest novel about Lucy Barton marks the completion of a trilogy, can I put in an early request? For a tetralogy, a pentalogy or whatever comes after that?...The intense pleasure of Strout's writing becomes the simple joy of learning more while - always - understanding less * Observer * Strout has produced a shimmering meditation on trauma, memory and marriage - and the perverse ways we distract ourselves from painful experiences * The i * A shimmering triumph of a novel, it muses delicately on love, loss and the mystery of others * Mail on Sunday *
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About Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge, as well as The Burgess Boys, Abide With Me, Amy and Isabelle, My Name is Lucy Barton and Olive, Again. She has also been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize. She lives between New York and Maine.
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Rating details

6,739 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 39% (2,643)
4 39% (2,612)
3 17% (1,137)
2 4% (274)
1 1% (73)
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