The Writing on the Wall: A Novel

The Writing on the Wall: A Novel

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by W. D. Wetherell
     
 

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When Vera decides to travel to an old house in the New England countryside for a month-long escape from some devastating news about her daughter, Cassie, she has no idea her life is about to change forever.  It begins innocently enough—peeling the old wallpaper from the walls as a favor to the house’s owner.  What she discovers

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Overview

When Vera decides to travel to an old house in the New England countryside for a month-long escape from some devastating news about her daughter, Cassie, she has no idea her life is about to change forever.  It begins innocently enough—peeling the old wallpaper from the walls as a favor to the house’s owner.  What she discovers underneath—written in India ink on the very walls of the house by a woman named Beth, in 1919—is the beginning of the reader’s unsettling crossing into the unknown world underneath the paper.

The Writing on the Wall is a brilliantly realized journey into the connected lives of three women whose stories span a century, linked by the house they all briefly inhabit, and by the tragedies they've had to endure.    And it's not just their own stories that reveal themselves. A brilliant schoolteacher, back from the war in the trenches, finds the pupils of his dreams. A young Vietnam draftee makes a stubbornly quirky separate peace. The moody, dangerously charismatic leader of a commune becomes the unlikeliest of heroes. An “ordinary” housewife's lonely battle propels her onto the national stage. A girl sent to Iraq tries making sense of the chaos and the pain.    

The Writing on the Wall is about stories that can't be told, but must be told—about secrets that can't be shared, but must be shared—and the surprising ways people find to confront the truth.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Wetherell’s taut latest, Vera Savino, a middle school teacher, retreats to her sister’s summer home to escape an ugly family tragedy—her adult daughter, Cassie, a National Guardswoman charged with overseeing Iraqi POWs, has been incarcerated for an uncharacteristic and reprehensible act. Vera’s husband is in denial and refuses to share the moral burden of their daughter’s transgression. Alone, Vera volunteers to repair the house, a fixer-upper north of Boston, hoping the solitude will allow her to come to terms with Cassie’s shameful deeds. But when Vera begins to strip the home’s wallpaper, she discovers that two mysterious women have written confessions on the underlying plaster, accounts that overlap with Vera’s own painful story. United by their contiguity with terrible heartbreak, Vera and her forebears find solace in the promise of one day revealing the truth. Wetherell (Chekhov’s Sister) impressively captures a diversity of voices, telling distinct but parallel stories whose moral arcs resonate across time. The book examines the conditions under which good people breach their own moral codes, and explores how love can torment as much as it heals. (Sept.)
Chicago Tribune
“W.
D. Wetherell is a fearless acrobat with words and narrative structures. His work, filled with humor, warmth and wisdom, asks us to re-examine our recent history.”
New York Times
“W.D. Wetherell has a sharp, fresh eye and a complicated view of our dislocations, pains and dreams.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611457445
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Publication date:
09/06/2012
Pages:
228
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

W.
D. Wetherell's six novels include Chekhov's
Sister, The Wisest Man in America, and A
Century of November; among his four story collections are The Man Who Loved Levittown and Hills like White Hills. An essayist as well as a novelist, his non-fiction books include Yellowstone Autumn, Soccer
Dad, and, most recently, On
Admiration. The winner of many awards for his writing, he lives in the hills of rural New England.

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The Writing on the Wall: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
peakbagger06 More than 1 year ago
How have I missed this author? And why is Writing on the Wall not on the best seller's list? Wetherell is a truly great writer with great imagination in his latest narrative of a woman who heads to northern Maine for a month. Wetherell does a fine job of creating a quiet story while at the same time holding the reader in suspense for much of the book's pages.Three characters are well-developed as Vera keeps herself occupied by stripping wallpaper. In the hands of Wetherell, wall-paper stripping becomes an art, believe or not and a wonderful vehicle for telling Vera's story and the story of two other fascinating characters.Kudos to Wetherell. I will be reading him again!!