Oh, William! by Elizabeth Strout

This pristine cover filled with white tulips calls to me. It’s the third in a three book series featuring Lucy Barton. Whether you like Lucy or not, the writing is the star here.

Who is William? William is Lucy Barton’s first husband. They had two daughters together and have stayed close friends over the years even though they divorced and both remarried other people.

When Lucy’s husband, David, dies, she finds herself grieving not just for David, but for William as well. It’s complex. But grief is like that.

This fine novel is a character-driven story about loneliness and betrayal. And about not really ever knowing anyone. Strout is famous for this. And it always bites straight through to the quick for me because I truly believe it.

Lucy narrates the entire story. She’s become a successful writer. Although, to tell you the truth, I would like to have felt that more. In not one chapter is she actually writing a book. William still works at New York University even though is past retirement age. He’s an Einstein lookalike with wild white hair, a big fluffy mustache, and he’s tall.

There’s a lot of looking back on their marriage. Reflections, both good and bad. And when the story turns to a secret William discovers about his mother that’s rather shocking, we see how even secrets uncovered later in life can change the actual perspective of the memories. Who are we? Life is such a mystery. Strout always manages to make me think. Her work is so subtle yet so very deep. Her characters take on lives of their own and run away with the story.

Strout has won lots of big awards and one was the Pulitzer for Olive Kitteridge. I knew that was a fabulous book. She has gone on to win many, many other awards. So we literary readers tend to watch for her next book. I devoured this story flawed characters and all. I know it’s going to be one of the most important novels of the season!

Elizabeth Strout
Elizabeth Strout

MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON went on to become a Broadway Play starring Laura Linney who is one of my favorite actresses.

My review copy of OH, WILLIAM! arrived from Random House in exchange for an honest review. She’s done it again. Another big winner.


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