The White Widow: A Novel

The White Widow: A Novel

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by Jim Lehrer
     
 

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Some bus drivers never meet a "white widow"--a wild card, a woman traveling alone who can change the course of a driver's life, and not always for the best. In this subtle, poignant novel, based on the true experiences of the anchor of PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Jack T. Oliver, who drives the Houston to Corpus Christi run for the Great Western Trailways bus line…  See more details below

Overview

Some bus drivers never meet a "white widow"--a wild card, a woman traveling alone who can change the course of a driver's life, and not always for the best. In this subtle, poignant novel, based on the true experiences of the anchor of PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Jack T. Oliver, who drives the Houston to Corpus Christi run for the Great Western Trailways bus line, is about to meet his.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This 10th novel from renowned anchorman Lehrer (The Last Debate; The Sooner Spy) trades journalism and Washington politics for the flat highways of 1950s Texas, where Jack T. "On Time" Oliver drives a Trailways bus between Houston and Corpus Christi-until his overactive imagination begins to shake his simple world apart. Lehrer fills this wistful tale with interesting details of bus line procedures and legends, the most central being the eponymous "White Widow," every bus driver's ultimate dream woman who comes aboard and changes his life. Jack is weeks away from receiving the honorary gold badge of the "master operator," recognizing his seniority and high level of service, when he meets his White Widow, a beautiful Ava Gardner look-alike who rides his bus on Fridays. Although they've exchanged only a few words, Jack begins to concoct love fantasies, losing his concentration as he longs for each Friday's run. His driving begins to suffer, and his wife suspects him of cheating. One stormy Friday, with "Ava" riding across from him in the "angel seat," the consequences of his obsession become dire and irreversible. Lehrer convincingly uses bus driver lore, drawing on memories of his college job as a ticket agent. His delicate portrayal of Jack's life and inner thoughts heightens the story's poignancy. With its tragic elements, simple narrative and strong undercurrent of myth, Lehrer's tale lingers in memory like a sorrowful ghost story. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Every week, Jack T. "On Time" Oliver drives his bus round trip from Houston to Corpus Christi and back. Now, in the late 1950s, he is about to receive his reward for faithful service, promotion to "master operator." He cherishes the uniform he wears and is proud of the slimness of his profile since he lost 70 pounds. He is married to the first and only woman he ever dated. Then a beautiful woman, a "white widow" in bus driver jargon, climbs aboard his bus one Friday, en route to the end of the line. In his thoughts, he names her "Ava," after actress Ava Gardner. Images of her confuse and obsess him; he dreams of a life he will never know. His distraction leads to disaster, exposing the fragility of his hold on happiness. PBS news anchor Lehrer (The Last Debate, LJ 8/95) has crafted an affecting story of a man who has anesthetized himself against the emptiness of his life but can do so no longer. Recommended for public libraries.David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307824462
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/21/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,286,307
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Jim Lehrer began his career as a reporter, political columnist, and editor in Dallas, Texas. Since 1975, he has been a news anchor at PBS, where he is currently the anchor and executive editor of "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." Lehrer has won numerous awards for journalism, most recently the 1999 National Humanities Medal. Lehrer is the author of eleven novels, two memoirs, and three plays. He lives with his wife, Kate, in Washington, D.C. They have three daughters.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Washington, D.C.
Date of Birth:
May 19, 1934
Place of Birth:
Wichita, Kansas
Education:
A.A., Victoria College; B.J., University of Missouri, 1956

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White Widow 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago