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The Widower's Notebook

A Memoir
Narrated by: Jonathan Santlofer
Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Written with unexpected humor and great warmth, The Widower's Notebook is a portrait of a marriage, an account of the complexities of finding oneself single again after losing your spouse, and a story of the enduring power of familial love.

"This is deeply moving...beautifully written and modulated, with a dollop of droll, black humor. It is such an achievement, like running uphill against a strong wind." (Joyce Carol Oates) 

On a summer day in New York, Jonathan Santlofer discovers his wife, Joy, gasping for breath on their living room couch. After a frenzied 911 call, an ambulance races across Manhattan, and after hours pacing in a hospital waiting room, a doctor finally delivers the fateful news. Consumed by grief, Jonathan desperately tries to pursue life as he always had - writing, social engagements, and working on his art - but finds it nearly impossible to admit his deep feelings of loss to anyone, not even his to beloved daughter, Doria, or to himself.  

As Jonathan grieves and heals, he tries to unravel what happened to Joy, a journey that will take him nearly two years.

Includes a Bonus PDF of author drawings.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Jonathan Santlofer (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Wrenching, heartbreaking, intense and emotional - but valuable, too: we're all approaching the age where this will happen to us - or to others because of us - and understanding that it can be dealt with is consoling. I don't know how Santlofer found the fortitude to write this, but I'm deeply grateful he did. I think the world is a better place with this book in it." (Lee Child, number-one New York Times best-selling author)

The Widower’s Notebook, Jonathan Santlofer’s searingly truthful chronicle of mortality, is, among its wonders, a book about the preciousness of life and love, rendered all the more heart-wrenching, and all the more vital, by a loss almost beyond imagining. It’s a true tragic beauty.” (Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Hours

The Widower’s Notebook is a searing rendition of the complex relationship between men and grief - an intense despair that is too often starved for words. This chronicle of devastation is itself devastating, a deeply powerful and unflinchingly honest report of how painfully and strangely life continues in the wake of a sudden, tragic death.” (Andrew Solomon, National Book Award winner)

What members say

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Honest and Hopeful

"The Widower's Notebook" is the finest book I have read about grief. This is a memoir that often reads as if it were a thriller. It is completely engrossing, and heartfelt without ever being schmaltzy. I've read the book, and listened to it. Each time I was overwhelmed with empathy for Jonathan. At the most unexpected times, I found myself laughing, and then weeping. I felt elevated by this book. It is Santlofer's finest book. His narration of the audiobook is straightforward, and lovely. How he made it through the final chapter without crying I do not know. It is lovely, wonderful, and above all, honest. I recommend it unreservedly.

2 people found this helpful

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This is a wonderful, truthful book about grief

I believe that this book stands alone in describing grief and the authors journey is quite like my own. Thank you for taking the courage to share your unending journey.

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Your reflecting back to your growing up

I totally enjoyed the book for the simple fact that I'm going through the same things pretty much where is losing my spouse. but as I read you continue to go back or reflect back to your growing up your father your mother your aunt grandmother Etc. that alone pulls me away from the main subject my spouse losing my spouse how I feel what I feel

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Thoughtfully written

great to hear this in the author's own voice. enormously tough subject, artfully and lovenly written

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Grief at the Cellular level

Real, raw, honest, authentic disclosure and conciensness of this unique human experience, grief, grieving. JS is a deeply emotional person, irespective of gender. Almost so personal, felt like a deep conversation with a really good friend. Thank you for deciding to share your notebook; I can tell you as a friend, you have helped me and I am sure many others.
gracias!