Oh William!

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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

THE TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband – and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their
daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a tender, complex, decades-long partnership.

Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence. ‘This is the way of life,’ Lucy says. ‘The many things we do not know until it is too late.’

‘A superbly gifted storyteller and a craftswoman in a league of her own’ Hilary Mantel

A terrific writer’ Zadie Smith

‘She gets better with each book’ Maggie O’Farrell

‘One of America’s finest writers’ Sunday Times

© Elizabeth Strout 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Critics Review

  • One proof of Elizabeth 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

    New York Times
  • Strout is not only mercilessly funny on the page, she’s also unerringly precise about the long-term effects of loneliness, parental neglect and betrayal . . . The final scene between William and Lucy has been carouselling in my mind for days now . . . devastating and vital, bleak and tender

    Sunday Times
  • What sets Strout’s work apart is her characterisation . . . Long on empathy while steering clear of sentimentality, her prose bears the minerality of a crisp white wine, with a seeming simplicity that belies its profound power

    FT
  • A very good novel, deft when it needs to be and ambivalent where certainty would be facile. Its celebration of the ungraspable riddles and sudden judgments of real life becomes compulsive. . . . I cannot get Lucy Barton out of my head

    The Times
  • [Strout] is a novelist of the inner sensibility, and what makes her so compellingly readable is her rendering of the ebb and flow of emotion and impression, of the stream of consciousness between past and present that makes Lucy cousin to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway

    Daily Telegraph
  • Strout is very good at parsing the contradictory elements that make up our relationship with ourselves and the lives we lead, and the extent to which these elements exist in a state of flux. Such a pleasure to read. And so very wise

    Daily Mail

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