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Oh William!  By  cover art

Oh William!

By: Elizabeth Strout
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
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Publisher's summary

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.

BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST • ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

“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: “the many things we do not know until it is too late.”

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Time, Vulture, She Reads

©2021 Elizabeth Strout (P)2021 Random House Audio

Dear Listener,

What do I hope you will take away from Oh William!?
"This is what I hope the reader will feel after reading Oh William!, which is what I hope readers will feel after reading any of my books. I hope to provide a momentary sense of transcendence. What I mean by that is, I hope the reader will feel—even for a few moments—that a ceiling has been lifted. That they will see the world differently, that they will feel less alone in it, and they will find themselves in some of my characters. I also hope they will understand what it feels like to be a different person, because in this way literature can help the empathy muscle stay intact. And we all know what this world looks like without empathy." –- Elizabeth Strout, writer of Oh William!

Critic reviews

“One proof of Strout’s greatness is the sleight of hand with which she injects sneaky subterranean power into seemingly transparent prose. Strout works in the realm of everyday speech, conjuring repetitions, gaps and awkwardness with plain language and forthright diction, yet at the same time unleashing a tidal urgency that seems to come out of nowhere even as it operates in plain sight.”The New York Times Book Review

“So much intimate, fragile, desperate humanness infuses these pages, it’s breathtaking. Almost every declaration carries the force of revelation.”The Washington Post

“For all the depths of anger and despair they uncover, and the bitterness they attest to, Strout’s works insist on the superabundance of life, the unrealized bliss always immanent in it.”The New York Review of Books