The Widower's Tale

A Novel
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
Length: 17 hrs and 49 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4 out of 5 stars (486 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In a historic farmhouse outside Boston, seventy-year-old Percy Darling is settling happily into retirement: reading novels, watching old movies, and swimming naked in his pond. His routines are disrupted, however, when he is persuaded to let a locally beloved preschool take over his barn. As Percy sees his rural refuge overrun by children, parents, and teachers, he must reexamine the solitary life he has made in the three decades since the sudden death of his wife. No longer can he remain aloof from his community, his two grown daughters, or, to his shock, the precarious joy of falling in love.

One relationship Percy treasures is the bond with his oldest grandchild, Robert, a premed student at Harvard. Robert has long assumed he will follow in the footsteps of his mother, a prominent physician, but he begins to question his ambitions when confronted by a charismatic roommate who preaches—and begins to practice—an extreme form of ecological activism, targeting Boston’s most affluent suburbs.

Meanwhile, two other men become fatefully involved with Percy and Robert: Ira, a gay teacher at the preschool, and Celestino, a Guatemalan gardener who works for Percy’s neighbor, each one striving to overcome a sense of personal exile. Choices made by all four men, as well as by the women around them, collide forcefully on one lovely spring evening, upending everyone’s lives, but none more radically than Percy’s.

With equal parts affection and satire, Julia Glass spins a captivating tale about the loyalties, rivalries, and secrets of a very particular family. Yet again, she plumbs the human heart brilliantly, dramatically, and movingly.

©2010 Random House Audio; 2010 Julia Glass

Critic Reviews

“Elaborately plotted and luxuriously paced, Glass’s inquisitive, compassionate, funny, and suspenseful saga addresses significant and thorny social issues with emotional veracity, artistic nuance, and a profound perception of the grand interconnectivity of life.” ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great performance, great writing, wonderful story

This was not a reading - it was a performance! Mark Bramhall had incredible accents and emotions that add to an already wonderfully written book. This is a must listen!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Shedding old skin ...

A thoroughly enjoyable book who's main charactar is a curmudgeonly, newly-retired 70 year old widower whose comfortable but rather boring existence is first upset then enriched by newcomers in his life. His willingness, although begrudgingly, to open his property to an up-scaled nursery school that renovates and relocates into his barn also begins to open his previously sheltered life. Every door that opens seems to bring struggle and disappointment and eventually growth, love and maybe even a bit of happiness. The Widower Tale is endearing!

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

Julia Glass has written another novel in which I could lose myself. I loved and cared about the characters and the story kept my attention from start to finish. Mark Bramhall's narration is brilliant! He clearly delineates each character and emotions come through without being overly done.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Taler Made

Julia Glass spins a tale of life in a small New England town that draws the listener into the life of Percy Darling, the eponymous widower, and his attempt to recover from his wife's death thirty years ago. Glass's insights into a senior citizen, his children, extended family, friends and acquaintances make each character real, i.e., flawed but sympathetic. There are neither heroes nor villains, yet, just as we hope we can, the characters muddle though life wiser for the experience.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb story and narration

What a wonderful many-layered story of a diverse group of people! Truly a masterpiece.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Endurance Test

Great writing does not always equate to a good story. I thought this book would never end. Though the writing was excellent, the story went on, and on, and on, without any real purpose. I was relieved when I reached the finish line.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • MC
  • 03-01-19

beautiful

beautifully written. enjoyed from start to finish! great narration, also. you could feel the different characters.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very real and beautifully written.

Ms. Glass writes createst chacacters and issues. This is my cavorite so far of hers.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great!

great story and fantastic writing; very interesting characters and the narration was perfect loved it

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great tale

Would you listen to The Widower's Tale again? Why?

Yes, the characters are all so engaging. The narration was dead on point.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Widower's Tale?

his grandsons dilemma.

What does Mark Bramhall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Each character was so unique. He held their uniqueness throughout the story.