Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
There is a lot to be said for beautifully designed, small hardback books. To me, they are almost irresistible and no good bookshelf should be without a smattering of them. This one comes with the promise of an added “bestseller” sticker, which pretty much ticks every box of what I look for in a holiday read.
Oh William! is the story of New York writer, Lucy and her ongoing loyalty and affection for her first husband, William…even several years after she leaves him. She helps him through the collapse of his second marriage and then, also, through difficult discoveries he makes about his ancestry. I can’t remember ever reading a book about the ongoing devotion of two people after their divorce and I really liked that perspective. The character Lucy was first introduced in Strout’s earlier work, My Name is Lucy Barton, but even though I hadn’t read it, I don’t feel like I was missing key information. Oh William! well and truly stands on its own two feet.
Oh William! is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Simple, refined and delicate. Thoughts of William are interlaced with reflections Lucy has about her own life as she continues to learn about herself through her relationships with others.
As much as I loved it, I have made a decision to sign off on contemporary fiction for a while. I am going to have a spell and seek out some non-fiction for a change. Enough with other people’s faltering relationships and relentless disappointments – it’s time for some real-life stories of triumph over adversity to inspire me into 2022. The more impossible the odds the better.
And that’s my 2 cents worth.
Where will your book plans take you in 2022?