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Publisher's Summary

In a work unlike anything she's written before, National Book Award-winner Joyce Carol Oates unveils a poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of her husband of 46 years and its wrenching, surprising aftermath.

"My husband died, my life collapsed." On a February morning in 2008, Joyce Carol Oates drove her ailing husband, Raymond Smith, to the emergency room of the Princeton Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Both Joyce and Ray expected him to be released in a day or two. But in less than a week, even as Joyce was preparing for his discharge, Ray died from a virulent hospital-acquired infection, and Joyce was suddenly faced - totally unprepared - with the stunning reality of widowhood.

A Widow's Story illuminates one woman's struggle to comprehend a life without the partnership that had sustained and defined her for nearly half a century. As never before, Joyce Carol Oates shares the derangement of denial, the anguish of loss, the disorientation of the survivor amid a nightmare of "death-duties", and the solace of friendship. She writes unflinchingly of the experience of grief - the almost unbearable suspense of the hospital vigil, the treacherous "pools" of memory that surround us, the vocabulary of illness, the absurdities of commercialized forms of mourning. Here is a frank acknowledgment of the widow's desperation, only gradually yielding to the recognition that "this is my life now."

Enlivened by the piercing vision, acute perception, and mordant humor that are the hallmarks of the work of Joyce Carol Oates, this moving tale of life and death, love and grief, offers a candid, never-before-glimpsed view of the acclaimed author and fiercely private woman.

©2011 The Ontario Review, Inc. (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Thought Provoking

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this to someone who has lost a significant other. The author has gotten shared her most honest inner feelings of suddenly finding herself in widowhood.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Widow's Story?

There are several. How she dealt with her initial sudden loss and also her trying to adjust her life with others.

What about Ellen Parker’s performance did you like?

The reader's performance was wonderful! I looked for more books done by her but there doesn't seem to be any at the moment. I really enjoyed her!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely not! I listened to this in the evening. It was a special treat to myself and I wanted to savour every chapter! Not a page turner mystery but a commiserating of events in my life with Ms. Oates.

Any additional comments?

Great read for me and highly recommend to those who are dealing with loss of a husband.

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A stunning portrayal

I am a Joyce Carol Oates fan. This book tells her own story of being widowed, the shock and grief, the acknowledgment, the beginning of moving on. It described their marriage which I found fascinating - deeply satisfying while reserved in a way. I found it deeply moving. So often grief is underplayed. This account is touching in its truth.