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LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2022
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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.'
'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
'This is meticulously observed writing, full of probing psychological insight. Lucy Barton is one of literature's immortal characters-brittle, damaged, unravelling, vulnerable and, most of all, ordinary-like us all' Booker Prize Judges
ELIZABETH STROUT'S NEW NOVEL, LUCY BY THE SEA, IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Oh William! continues to make the case for Elizabeth Strout as one of America’s finest contemporary authors, a writer seemingly incapable of delivering a novel that doesn’t just linger in your mind, but which stays with you for months or years to come. Here, Strout returns to her unforgettable protagonist Lucy Barton for a third time following My Name Is Lucy Barton and Anything Is Possible. But you don’t have to have read either of those to get—and love—this one. Here, Lucy, now in her sixties and having recently lost her second husband and soulmate David, reflects on her first, William, the father of her children and still a close friend, as he learns of a shocking secret that takes them both on a road trip across his family’s history. This is a revelatory novel about family and the safety and comfort we find in others. But above all, it is about the past, where we come from and whether the present can ever truly be free of either. Written in Strout’s unendingly empathetic yet always restrained prose, Oh William! is a remarkable novel that might just have you exclaiming oh Elizabeth!.
Loneliness and betrayal, themes to which the Pulitzer Prize winning Strout has returned throughout her career, are ever present in this illuminating character-driven saga, the third in her Amgash series, after Anything Is Possible. Narrated by Lucy Barton, now a successful writer, the story picks up after the death of Lucy's second husband as she navigates her relationship with her unfaithful first husband, William, the father of her two grown daughters. Lucy and William are still close friends, and though William has also remarried, he still needs Lucy, and she him. When William discovers he has a half sister, he summons Lucy, rather than his current wife, to visit where she lives in Maine. Lucy's quest indeed Strout's quest is to understand people, even if she can't stand them. "We are all mythologies, mysterious. We are all mysteries, is what I mean," she reflects. The strength of Lucy's voice carries the reader, and Strout's characters teem with angst and emotion, all of which Strout handles with a mastery of restraint and often in spare, true sentences. "But when I think Oh William! don't I mean Oh Lucy! too? Don't I mean Oh Everyone, Oh dear Everybody in this whole wide world, we do not know anybody, not even ourselves! Except a little tiny, tiny bit we do." It's not for nothing that Strout has been compared to Hemingway. In some ways, she betters him. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Agency.