Oh William!: Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Brought to you by Penguin.
THE TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2022
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, best-selling 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.'
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|Listening Length||7 hours|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||21 October 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 2,976 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
86 in Family Life Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
96 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
545 in Contemporary Women's Fiction
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Top reviews from Australia
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Lucy Barton is now 63 years old, and recently widowed. David Abramson, her late husband, is a man with whom she felt comfortable. They understood each other, they supported each other. The William of the title is Lucy’s first husband, the father of their now adult daughters, Chrissy and Becka. William is now 71, and despite their marriage breakdown and subsequent marriages, Lucy and William have remained friends. And so, it is to Lucy that William turns when he wants help with unravelling a family secret.
Lucy and William embark on a journey, into a past that William was unaware of and into a shared past which has Lucy sharing her insights and reflections. I enjoyed this novel.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
In this story Lucy Barton is now in her early sixties and her ex-husband William has turned seventy. They are still good friends and the story is like one running narrative of Lucy's past and present relationship with William.
It feels almost like reading a diary, with Lucy's unfiltered view on people and her own feelings just spilling out onto the page.
The story is sad, happy, nostalgic and often quite humorous. I really enjoyed it, although I feel it will not be a book that is to everyone's taste.
In this one, first husband William discovers he has an older half sister and he and Lucy go on a quest to find this woman. In doing so, they need to heavily revise what they know of William’s mother. By the end of the novel Lucy’s feeling about William undergoes a radical shift as well. Lucy faces the complexities of herself too, finding not everything inside her admirable, but considering her unfortunate background she’s done very well to give and receive love, to live a life true to herself with such courage.
Strout writes Lucy as unpretentiously honest, observant and insightful about nuances of expression and mood, as if she is beguiled with ever changing discoveries of what’s inside those around her, including her two adult daughters. The only thing that occasionally grates is the repetition of “What I mean is …” but we understand why she does it. She’s trying to be clear.
Top reviews from other countries
I never skip one line in Strout's work, her gentle, honest and nuanced writing is too precious to miss one word.
I can't think of any other writer who describes so authentically the complex and sometimes contradictory nature of personalities and relationships.
Lucy is as naive and as selflessly unaware and unsophisticated as usual, and she helps William face his problems, as they have always stayed somewhat friendly. William is facing another crisis also in his life, in that he was given a genealogy site subscription as a gift and has found out that apparently his mother had already walked out on one relationship, leaving a little girl behind.
As you would expect this has great characterisation and some of the situations some people will be more aware of than others. Beautifully written and enjoyable to read, it is sometimes the things that are not mentioned too much that makes us think, and thus gives this a greater depth, as we have to use our brains. This then gives us something that is not a long read, is enjoyable and meatier than its length may make you think, and we see Lucy once again having to navigate her way through life and ponder upon the fact that we can never really understand anyone else. This is shown quite clearly here in the discovery of the roots of William’s mother.