Julia Glass is a favourite author of mine. I had no intention of taking her newest book The Widower’s Tale: A Novel (published by Random House) with me on holiday but when it became available at the library I decided it would be a great read over Christmas. Glass is a great writer and I was not disappointed. It’s a fantastic book. Midway through the book I thought I’d better start putting those tiny post-it note strips on the pages where I thought the passages deserved to be read again. The book ended up looking like a dictionary with all the little tabs sticking out of the side – 9 and counting just in the second half of the book alone. OK … enough about my weirdness. The book is essentially about Percy Darling, a “darling” senior, many years a widower, who lives just outside Boston. His routine life is disrupted when he decides to allow his barn to be taken over by a much loved preschool in dire need of new headquarters. The cast of characters Glass includes are all really well drawn and interesting… Percy’s daughters Clover (a teacher at the preschool) and Trudy (Dr. Trudy) his grandson Robert, and Sarah, one of the mothers from the preschool who becomes involved with Percy – much to his surprise and delight. There’s also Ira, Celestino and Arturo, all fascinating people. The story gets complicated, as life always does, and of course things don’t always work out as hoped. But that makes the story interesting and real. It’s a great read, well written, and there are so many passages well worth reading again and again… like “He, the child, might not have been happy all or even most of the time, but his surroundings had been remarkably serene and cheerful. That was the “hood” part of childhood, the context, the environment, ecosphere – call it what you like.” I loved that. The book is full of moments like this. It’s a winner!
I really think you should also read her National Book Award Winner Three Junes as well. I loved it. Get your Julia Glass “fix” this winter.