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The Obituary Writer
by Ann Hood

Overview - On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying.  Read more...

 
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More About The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood
 
 
 
Overview
On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780393081428
  • ISBN-10: 0393081427
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish Date: March 2013
  • Page Count: 304


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General

 
BookPage Reviews

Two tales of love, marriage and womanhood

It’s 1919, and Vivien has spent 13 years mourning the loss of her life’s love. The last time she saw David, her married lover, was when he left her bed the morning of the San Francisco earthquake. She has spent the years since wondering whether he perished or is, by some miracle, alive but battling a case of amnesia.

To cope with her grief, Vivien helps others with theirs through her work as an obituary writer. The grieving come to her with broken hearts and memories of their loved ones. Over tea, toast and a comforting cup of broth, they share the stories of those they’ve lost. Vivien brings them to life once more through the written word.

It’s 1961, and Claire feels trapped in her marriage. Peter is a fine husband, though not particularly attentive. At some point, something snapped in Claire, and she found herself in bed with a married man—and Peter caught her there. Now she’s pregnant, unsure of whose child she’s bearing and feeling more isolated than ever. Will Peter forgive her? Does she even want him to?

It isn’t immediately clear how the two tales in Ann Hood’s new novel, The Obituary Writer, intersect, but parallels are evident. Vivien and Claire face individual challenges and quests for meaning in their lives as well as in their romantic relationships. Their compelling stories push the reader forward, to discover both how their lives may intertwine and how each resolves the unanswered questions in her relationships. Along the way, Hood, whose previous books include a memoir, Comfort, and a best-selling novel, The Knitting Circle, sensitively explores the complicated web of emotions associated with love, marriage, motherhood and the myriad expectations all women encounter.

 
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