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Oh William!

de Elizabeth Strout

Séries: Lucy Barton (3)

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1,46110112,626 (3.93)106
Fiction. Literature. HTML:NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ? Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout explores the mysteries of marriage and the secrets we keep, as a former couple reckons with where they??ve come from??and what they??ve left behind. 

ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Maureen Corrigan, NPR??s Fresh Air ? ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Time, Vulture, She Reads

??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


I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William. 

Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery to me. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are. 

So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret??one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. What happens next is nothing less than another example of what Hilary Mantel has called Elizabeth Strout??s ??perfect attunement to the human condition.? There are fears and insecurities, simple joys and acts of tenderness, and revelations about affairs and other spouses, parents and their children. On every page of this exquisite novel we learn more about the quiet forces that hold us together??even after we??ve grown apart. 

At the heart of this story is the indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who offers a profound, lasting reflection on the very nature of existence. ??This is the way of life,? Lucy says: ??th
… (mais)
  1. 00
    Jack de Marilynne Robinson (aprille)
    aprille: Both Strout and Robinson present flawed characters with love and generosity.
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Inglês (96)  Holandês (2)  Alemão (1)  Espanhol (1)  Todos os idiomas (100)
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Ugh ( )
  eboods | Feb 28, 2024 |
This book’s writing style did not agree with me. A quite diffident and uncertain voice with consistently annoying verbal tics. So many “What I mean is…” and “…, I mean to say.” I suppose it’s going for a humble, intimate effect and for many readers it appears to work but I wouldn’t be one of them.

It’s a low key story being told by Lucy as she goes with her ex-husband William to look for some of his familial roots in another state, and while on this journey she reflects back on her life, character, and relationships.
I am only saying: I wondered who William was. I have wondered this before. Many times I have wondered this.


Well, that’s an example of the dull prose I didn’t care for, as well as an illustration of Lucy’s uncertainty about people and her own capabilities that are woven through the story. In the end she decides that, “we do not know anybody, not even ourselves! But we are all mythologies, mysterious. We are all mysteries, is what I mean.”

It’s a little mysterious to me how this novel made the Booker longlist; I’m afraid it missed me, I mean to say. ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
A melancholy story of learning that we really don?t know ourselves or the ones we love/loved. Kirkus:Pulitzer Prize winner Strout offers a third book linked to writer Lucy Barton, this time reflecting on her complex relationship with her first husband, before and after their divorce.While Anything Is Possible (2017) told the stories of people among whom Lucy grew up in poverty in Amgash, Illinois, this new novel returns to the direct address of My Name Is Lucy Barton (2016). Lucy?s beloved second husband, David, has recently died, and ?in my grief for him I have felt grief for William as well,? she tells us. Her stuttering, stop-and-start narrative drops this and other pronouncements and then moves on, circling back later to elucidate and elaborate. After the pain of their separation subsided, Lucy and William became friends, close enough so that when he begins having night terrors at age 69, he confides in Lucy rather than his much younger third wife. (Wife No. 2 was among the many infidelities that broke up his marriage to Lucy.) Perhaps it?s because the terrors are related to his mother, Catherine, who ?seemed central to our marriage,? Lucy tells us. ?We loved her. Oh, we loved her.? Well, sometimes; Lucy?s memories reveal a deep ambivalence. Catherine patronized her, referring frequently to the poverty of Lucy?s background and her unfamiliarity with the ways of more affluent people. So it?s a shock to Lucy as well as William when he learns that his mother was married before, abandoned a baby daughter to marry his father, and came from a family even poorer than Lucy?s. Their road trip to Maine prompts William?s habitual coping mechanism of simply checking out, being present but not really there, which is the real reason Lucy left him. Strout?s habitual themes of loneliness and the impossibility of ever truly knowing another person are ubiquitous in this deeply sad tale, which takes its title from Lucy?s head-shaking acknowledgment that her ex will never change, cannot change the remoteness at the core of his personality.Another skillful, pensive exploration of Strout?s fundamental credo: ?We are all mysteries.?
  bentstoker | Jan 26, 2024 |
I love Elizabeth Strout's writing and the characters she brings to life. This was a short and thoughtfully written book and it will stick with me. Whether it's Lucy or Olive or William...these characters tend to hang around long after I've finished reading. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
In a brilliant sequel to My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible, Strout just keeps on revisiting, expanding and revealing more of her imaginative world.
This short book ruminates on the unknowability of another person, and of oneself, as life is built up of perceptions which may, or may not, be correct. It reports this through the first person reflections of Lucy following the death of her second husband, David, as she helps her first husband, William, deal with the discovery that he has an older half sister who his mother, Catherine Cole, had abandoned to be with William’s father, and had never mentioned.
I’m unsure what exactly touches me in Strout’s storytelling, the circling around the protagonist’s character with carefully meditative language, illuminating life with glimpses.

It’s odd, because on one hand I think I am invisible, but on the other I know what it is like to be marked as separate from society, only in my case no one knows it when they see me. But I thought that about that fat man. And about myself.
(Page 201) ( )
  CarltonC | Oct 29, 2023 |
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This book is dedicated to my husband,
                  Jim Tirrney
And to anyone who needs it—-this is for you
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I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William.
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What a strange thing life is.
This is the way of life: the many things we do not know until it is too late.
I turned and I said, "How are your night terrors these days, William?"
William opened his hand and said, "They're gone." Then he added, "My life got worse, so they stopped."
Mommy, I cried inside myself, Mommy, I am so frightened!
And the nice mother I have made up over the years answered: Yes, I know.
If you have not been there, you cannot know.
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ? Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout explores the mysteries of marriage and the secrets we keep, as a former couple reckons with where they??ve come from??and what they??ve left behind. 

ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Maureen Corrigan, NPR??s Fresh Air ? ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Time, Vulture, She Reads

??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


I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William. 

Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery to me. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are. 

So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret??one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. What happens next is nothing less than another example of what Hilary Mantel has called Elizabeth Strout??s ??perfect attunement to the human condition.? There are fears and insecurities, simple joys and acts of tenderness, and revelations about affairs and other spouses, parents and their children. On every page of this exquisite novel we learn more about the quiet forces that hold us together??even after we??ve grown apart. 

At the heart of this story is the indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who offers a profound, lasting reflection on the very nature of existence. ??This is the way of life,? Lucy says: ??th

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