Where or When

Where or When

3.4 41
by Anita Shreve
     
 

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Charles Callahan is reading the Sunday paper when an alluring and oddly familiar photo catches his eye: it is Sian Richards, his first love, a face he has not seen for more than three decades. He is entranced by her image, flooded by memories of their teenage summer together, and utterly conpelled to make contact with her again. Charles sends Sian a letter, knowing… See more details below

Overview

Charles Callahan is reading the Sunday paper when an alluring and oddly familiar photo catches his eye: it is Sian Richards, his first love, a face he has not seen for more than three decades. He is entranced by her image, flooded by memories of their teenage summer together, and utterly conpelled to make contact with her again. Charles sends Sian a letter, knowing all the while that "from the very first sentence of the very first note there was nothing innocent about it." Sian writes back - she is now a poet living with her husband and small child on an onion farm in Pennsylvania. She is intrigued that Charles has sought her out after so many years but wary of where their correspondence might lead. For Charles, troubled by financial woes, on the verge of losing his home, and concerned about the security of his family, the letters become a secret obsession and another source of instability in his already complicated life. Despite their reservations, the power of Charles and Sian's attraction leads them to meet again . . . and again. As Charles understands it, "for the two of them, eros is linked with time. It is the very urgency of time he dreads, the sense that their minutes together are short and numbered, that he must say what he has come to say before she leaves, that gestures and words cannot be wasted." Anita Shreve takes the classic theme of Romeo and Juliet and gives it an unusual twist: two lovers struggle against formidable odds, reaching across a lifetime to reclaim what they once lost. In doing so, they set in motion a tumultuous series of events that moves inexorably to a shocking conclusion.

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Editorial Reviews

Susan Isaacs
Throughout this finely wrought book, Ms. Shreve manages to keep the reader suspended between despair and hope...
The New York Times Book Review, 1993
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A potent and affecting tale of middle-aged passion from the author of Eden Close. (Oct.)
Denise Perry Donavin
Charles Callahan, torn apart by an impending bankruptcy that he has not yet revealed to his wife and family, happens upon a picture of an old friend in the literary-events column of the Sunday paper and is transfixed. His polite letter to poet Sian Richards transforms both of their lives. The normal drudgery of farm life and raising a family and the terror of mounting bills are totally forgotten by her when the couple correspond and, finally, meet at an elegant inn transformed from the summer camp where they met as children. Shreve's side-by-side story of the duo's escalating passion is suspenseful but allows only the main characters any depth or dimension. Those wounded by the lovers' infidelity remain on the sidelines even when one spouse's attempted suicide alters the whole scenario. Introspective but steamy fiction from a popular novelist.
From the Publisher
"Throughout this finely wrought book, Ms. Shreve manages to keep the reader suspended between despair and hope for Siân and Charles. But Where or When is more than just an exquisitely written novel. It is also a gripping yarn."-The New York Times Book Review

"Ms. Shreve writes with a delicate restraint that lends force and immediacy to this somberly romantic story."-The Wall Street Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451404787
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
10/01/1994
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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