A Widow's Story: A Memoir [NOOK Book]

Overview

In a work unlike anything she's written before, National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates unveils a poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of her husband of forty-six years and its wrenching, surprising aftermath.

"My husband died, my life collapsed."

On a February morning in 2008, Joyce Carol Oates drove her ailing husband, Raymond Smith, to the emergency room of the Princeton Medical Center where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Both Joyce and Ray expected ...

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A Widow's Story: A Memoir

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Overview

In a work unlike anything she's written before, National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates unveils a poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of her husband of forty-six years and its wrenching, surprising aftermath.

"My husband died, my life collapsed."

On a February morning in 2008, Joyce Carol Oates drove her ailing husband, Raymond Smith, to the emergency room of the Princeton Medical Center where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Both Joyce and Ray expected him to be released in a day or two. But in less than a week, even as Joyce was preparing for his discharge, Ray died from a virulent hospital-acquired infection, and Joyce was suddenly faced—totally unprepared—with the stunning reality of widowhood.

A Widow's Story illuminates one woman's struggle to comprehend a life without the partnership that had sustained and defined her for nearly half a century. As never before, Joyce Carol Oates shares the derangement of denial, the anguish of loss, the disorientation of the survivor amid a nightmare of "death-duties," and the solace of friendship. She writes unflinchingly of the experience of grief—the almost unbearable suspense of the hospital vigil, the treacherous "pools" of memory that surround us, the vocabulary of illness, the absurdities of commercialized forms of mourning. Here is a frank acknowledgment of the widow's desperation—only gradually yielding to the recognition that "this is my life now."

Enlivened by the piercing vision, acute perception, and mordant humor that are the hallmarks of the work of Joyce Carol Oates, this moving tale of life and death, love and grief, offers a candid, never-before-glimpsed view of the acclaimed author and fiercely private woman.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Inevitably, readers will compare Joyce Carol Oates' memoir about the loss of her husband to Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, but no comparisons are necessary between such original, piercing retrievals. Raymond Smith and Oates were, in every sense, true life companions: Married for nearly half a century, the couple shared a deep passion of literature long before they co-founded The Ontario Review thirty-six years ago. His February 2008 demise left her helpless. She told an interviewer, "Since my husband's unexpected death, I really have very little energy... My marriage—my love for my husband—seems to have come first in my life, rather than my writing." With this writing, Oates brings back her husband—and herself. Now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

Edward Ash-Milby

Valerie Sayers
Is it perverse to suggest that Joyce Carol Oates's memoir of widowhood is as enthralling as it is painful? Oates has always focused her writing so intensely that virtually all her prose is compelling, but this brave account of her recent grief seems composed with something close to abandon. It is as if Oates has decided, after the sudden death of her husband of 48 years, that her own inclination toward privacy is no longer important.
—The Washington Post
Ann Hulbert
What Oates discovers in A Widow's Story, a cascade-of-consciousness that will mostly mesmerize you and surely move you, is that grief can…unleash an identity crisis…the prodigious author of some 50 novels and perhaps 1,000 stories—as well as poems, essays, plays—has assembled a book more painfully self-revelatory than anything Oates the fiction writer or critic has ever dared to produce.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Early one morning in February 2008, Oates drove her husband, Raymond Smith, to the Princeton Medical Center where he was admitted with pneumonia. There, he developed a virulent opportunistic infection and died just one week later. Suddenly and unexpectedly alone, Oates staggered through her days and nights trying desperately just to survive Smith's death and the terrifying loneliness that his death brought. In her typically probing fashion, Oates navigates her way through the choppy waters of widowhood, at first refusing to accept her new identity as a widow. She wonders if there is a perspective from which the widow's grief is sheer vanity, this pretense that one's loss is so very special that there has never been a loss quite like it. In the end, Oates finds meaning, much like many of Tolstoy's characters, in the small acts that make up and sustain ordinary life. When she finds an earring she thought she'd lost in a garbage can that raccoons have overturned, she reflects, "If I have lost the meaning of my life, and the love of my life, I might still find small treasured things amid the spilled and pilfered trash." At times overly self-conscious, Oates nevertheless shines a bright light in every corner in her soul-searing memoir of widowhood. (Feb.)
People Magazine
"As much a portrait of a unique marriage as a chronicle of grief...immensely moving…"
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Reads like a rending of garments…”
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Affecting…perfectly pitched prose…”
National Public Radio
“A brave, dark but slyly mordant memoir…Oates rages at the dying of the light of her life in this unflinching, generous portrait of the terror of emptiness.”
People
“As much a portrait of a unique marriage as a chronicle of grief...immensely moving…“
Daily Beast
“The novelist and essayist pens her most intimate book about the death of her husband of 46 years. Judging by the excerpt in The New Yorker Oates’ memoir will join Antonia Fraser and Joan Didion on the shelf of essential works on loss.”
Kansas City Star
“Oates writes movingly about the terror, depression and suicidal ruminations that dominated her existence in the months after Smith’s death…it’s impossible to be unmoved by Oates’ “Story,” by the degree to which she sees her husband everywhere she looks, as she finds beauty in the elusive notion of renewal.”
New York Times Book Review
“…A cascade-of-consciousness that will mostly mesmerize you and surely move you…a book more painfully self-revelatory than anything Oates the fiction writer or critic has ever dared to produce.”
The Economist
“An affecting portrait of anguish.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“…Astonishingly candid…[Oates’s] suffering gushes forth in page after page of detailed prose, snatches of sentences, reportorial and intuitive, emotional and reflective…Oates set out to write a widow’s handbook. What she has accomplished is a story of a marriage.”
New York Review of Books
“Oates excellently conveys the disconnect between the inwardly chaotic self and the outwardly functioning person…”
Wall Street Journal
“Flourishes of black humor punctuate the drumbeat of grief, setting the book apart from works such as Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.”
Washington Post
“…As enthralling as it is painful…a searing account…It is characteristic of Oates’s superb balancing of the intellectual and the emotional that she enables a reader to experience Smith’s death in the dramatic way she herself did.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Oates’ raw emotion lifts the veil of the enormity of grief that most widows, and widowers, must feel at the loss of their partners in a way that will come as a shock to some and a relief to others.”
Dallas Morning News
“A vivid and urgent memoir…”
Denver Post
“A Widow’s Story is unlike anything Oates has written before…a poignant and raw examination of the obsessiveness and self-indulgence of grief…”
Elle
“Joyce Carol Oates’s new memoir, A Widow’s Story, is a naked confession about the messy relation of art to life…A Widow’s Story, while about life after the death of a husband, is also about the intense inner life of a female genius…”
Providence Journal
“This is a brave, haunting, heart-rending book, and it will never let you go.”
Financial Times
“Joyce Carol Oates writes like a force of nature, and a story emerges, as if organically, from the physicality of her grief. There are few secrets and no lies, only insights into the inner world of her partner of 50 years.”
Entertainment Weekly
“In a narrative as searing as the best of her fiction, Oates describes the aftermath of her husband Ray’s unexpected death from pneumonia…It’s the painful, scorchingly angry journey of a woman struggling to live in a house “from which meaning has departed, like air leaking from a balloon.”
Book Forum
“Astonishing…revelatory…[A Widow’s Story] is remarkable…for how candidly Oates explores the writer’s secret life: the private world of her marriage, which…she asserts is far truer and more real, and of far greater importance, than any of her imaginary creations.”
Detroit News
“A harrowing tale…”
Charleston Post & Courier
“Widowhood for Oates is a rough, disfiguring condition, one that mocks past happiness. Words are her salvation. “A Widow’s Story” is a brave book that carries its author through the contortions of doubt and despair, on a pilgrimage back to life.”
Seattle Times
“As a writer, heightened emotion is the essential ingredient in [Oates’] work…As A Widow’s Story progresses, it becomes [Raymond Smith’s] story--both an homage to a decent, intensely private man, and Oates’ way of keeping him in memory as she probes his most closely guarded self.”
Seattle Weekly
“Packed with moments of…frankness…”
Library Journal
In 2008, after her husband is diagnosed with pneumonia and dies unexpectedly of a hospital-acquired infection, National Book Award winner Oates (Them) struggles to move forward and redefine her life without him. Oates's grief is palpable as she describes battling depression, insomnia, and impolite questions, but her strongest passages comprise her recollections of the time she spent with her late husband. Whatever sort of dark humor Oates attempts to achieve with her advice on how to be a "good widow," however, is not entirely successfully captured in actress/narrator Ellen Parker's treatment of the text. Still, fans of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and/or Marilynne Robinson's Gilead are sure to savor. ["A worthy purchase that will be appreciated by readers of memoir generally and older readers especially," read the review of the Ecco hc, LJ 10/15/10.—Ed.]—Johannah Genett, Hennepin Cty. Lib., MN
Kirkus Reviews

A wildly unhinged, deeply intimate look at the eminent author's "derangement of Widowhood."

Oates's husband, Ontario Review co-founder Raymond J. Smith, a 78-year-old man in good health, was not supposed to die. In early 2008, he was admitted to the emergency room near their home in Princeton, N.J., and diagnosed with pneumonia. Then he developed complications from an bacterial infection and died of cardiac arrest on Feb. 18, 2008. The shock of losing her husband of 48 years nearly unraveled this author of countless novels, stories and essays, as well as a longtime professor of English at Princeton. In this surreal, nearly hallucinatory journey—she was referred to the Yellow Pages for a funeral home, soon became hooked on tranquilizers to overcome insomnia and often imagined a fiendish creature she calls a basilisk jeering at her—the author chronicles the painful first months of grief and emotional paralysis. Oates (Sourland, 2010, etc.) is a master at creating the interior-driven narrative, and fashions from her experience the character of the Widow—Mrs. Smith—distraught, vulnerable, helpless without the guidance of wise friends, susceptible to crippling regrets, prone to childish self-pity and even erupting in anger at a doctor who suggested that Ray just "gave up." She also invents the character of "JCO," the professor whom she had to "impersonate" at the university, the public self, the co-editor of theOntario Reviewwho had to inform their readers and writers that the literary review had to cease publication. Oates writes with gut-wrenching honesty and spares no one in ripping the illusions off the face of death—the relentless senders of "sympathy gift baskets" clotting her home like "party food," her husband who "threw away both our lives with [his] carelessness contracting a cold" and the friends and acquaintances who mouthed wooden responses.

Oates continues to keep her readers guessing at her next thrilling effort.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062082633
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/15/2011
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 21,686
  • File size: 849 KB

Meet the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

Biography

Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most influential and important storytellers in the literary world. She has often used her supreme narrative skills to examine the dark side of middle-class Americana, and her oeuvre includes some of the finest examples of modern essays, plays, criticism, and fiction from a vast array of genres. She is still publishing with a speed and consistency of quality nearly unheard of in contemporary literature.

A born storyteller, Oates has been spinning yarns since she was a little girl too young to even write. Instead, she would communicate her stories through drawings and paintings. When she received her very first typewriter at the age of 14, her creative floodgates opened with a torrent. She says she wrote "novel after novel" throughout high school and college -- a prolificacy that has continued unabated throughout a professional career that began in 1963 with her first short story collection, By the North Gate.

Oates's breakthrough occurred in 1969 with the publication of them, a National Book Award winner that established her as a force to be reckoned with. Since that auspicious beginning, she has been nominated for nearly every major literary honor -- from the PEN/Faulkner Award to the Pulitzer Prize -- and her fiction turns up with regularity on The New York Times annual list of Notable Books.

On average Oates publishes at least one novel, essay anthology, or story collection a year (during the 1970s, she produced at the astonishing rate of two or three books a year!). And although her fiction often exposes the darker side of America's brightest facades – familial unrest, sexual violence, the death of innocence – she has also made successful forays into Gothic novels, suspense, fantasy, and children's literature. As novelist John Barth once remarked, "Joyce Carol Oates writes all over the aesthetical map."

Where she finds the time for it no one knows, but Oates manages to combine her ambitious, prolific writing career with teaching: first at the University of Windsor in Canada, then (from 1978 on), at Princeton University in New Jersey. For all her success and fame, her daily routine of teaching and writing has changed very little, and her commitment to literature as a transcendent human activity remains steadfast.

Good To Know

When not writing, Oates likes to take in a fight. "Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for its being lost," she says in highbrow fashion of the lowbrow sport.

Oates's Black Water, which is a thinly veiled account of Ted Kennedy's car crash in Chappaquiddick, was produced as an opera in the 1990s.

In 2001, Oprah Winfrey selected Oates's novel We Were the Mulvaneys for her Book Club.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Rosamond Smith
    2. Hometown:
      Princeton, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 16, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lockport, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

Read an Excerpt

A Widow's Story

A Memoir
By Joyce Carol Oates

HarperCollins

Copyright © 2011 Joyce Carol Oates
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-201553-2


Chapter One

The Message

February 15, 2008. Returning to our car that has been haphazardly
parked—by me—on a narrow side street near the Princeton Medical
Center—I see, thrust beneath a windshield wiper, what appears to be
a sheet of stiff paper. At once my heart clenches in dismay, guilty ap-
prehension—a ticket? A parking ticket? At such a time? Earlier that
afternoon I'd parked here on my way—hurried, harried—a jangle of
admonitions running through my head like shrieking cicadas—if you'd
happened to see me you might have thought pityingly That woman is in
a desperate hurry—as if that will do any good—to visit my husband in the
Telemetry Unit of the medical center where he'd been admitted several
days previously for pneumonia; now I need to return home for a few
hours preparatory to returning to the medical center in the early eve-
ning—anxious, dry-mouthed and head-aching yet in an aroused state
that might be called hopeful—for since his admission into the medical
center Ray has been steadily improving, he has looked and felt better,
and his oxygen intake, measured by numerals that fluctuate with liter-
ally each breath—90, 87, 91, 85, 89, 92—is steadily gaining, arrangements
are being made for his discharge into a rehab clinic close by the medical
center—(hopeful is our solace in the face of mortality); and now, in the
late afternoon of another of these interminable and exhausting hospital-
days—can it be that our car has been ticketed?—in my distraction I'd
parked illegally?—the time limit for parking on this street is only two
hours, I've been in the medical center for longer than two hours, and
see with embarrassment that our 2007 Honda Accord—eerily glaring-
white in February dusk like some strange phosphorescent creature in the
depths of the sea—is inexpertly, still more inelegantly parked, at a slant
to the curb, left rear tire over the white line in the street by several inches,
front bumper nearly touching the SUV in the space ahead. But now—if
this is a parking ticket—at once the thought comes to me I won't tell Ray,
I will pay the fine in secret.

Except the sheet of paper isn't a ticket from the Princeton Police De-
partment after all but a piece of ordinary paper—opened and smoothed
out by my shaky hand it's revealed as a private message in aggressively
large block-printed letters which with stunned staring eyes I read several
times like one faltering on the brink of an abyss—learn to park stuppid bitch.

In this way as in that parable of Franz Kafka in which the most profound
and devastating truth of the individual's life is revealed to him by a passer-by
in the street, as if accidentally, casually, so the Widow-to-Be, like the Widow,
is made to realize that her situation however unhappy, despairing or fraught
with anxiety, doesn't give her the right to overstep the boundaries of others,
especially strangers who know nothing of her—"Left rear tire over the white
line in the street."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from A Widow's Story by Joyce Carol Oates Copyright © 2011 by Joyce Carol Oates. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 70 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This memoir is about Ms. Oates' efforts to move on from the unexpected death of a loved one

    In February 2008, Ontario review Editor Raymond Smith was not feeling well so his wife of almost five decades noted author Joyce Carol Oates drove him to the Princeton Medical Center. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted as a patient. Both he and his spouse expected him to come home in a few days. Instead he developed an infection and died one week later.

    This memoir is about Ms. Oates' efforts to move on from the unexpected death of a loved one. Everything reminded her how alone she had become and how much she missed her beloved partner. Ms. Oates confesses she initially expected Raymond to appear any moment to help her with the physical and monetary impacts of his death. However, as she wept agonizingly slowly through the passes of grieving, she realized it is the little things in life that enabled Joyce Smith to survive the biggest tragedy she ever faced. This is an insightful first-hand look at grieving as Ms. Oates confirms grief is personally customized to the loving survivor.

    Harriet Klausner

    24 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 26, 2011

    Recommended

    Perhaps it is those who have recently lost a loved one who would be attracted to this memoir. This appears to be the case from the other reviews that appear on this page. This may be because of an earnestness, a desperation, that pervades the thoughts of the bereaved. I have recently experienced a death in my family. I disclose this only for context and I will say no more about it, except to say that when I read about Ms. Oates' memoir in the New York Review of Books and The New Yorker I was immediately drawn to it. Her book does a good job of describing the personal and spiritual disintegration that occurs following a death.

    Two things undermine the power of this book. The first is the author's unabashed self involvement. She often refers to herself in the third person as "the widow." I cannot think of any third person self reference as not being pretentious unless it is self deprecating. If you lose someone you love dearly, your are disarmed and wounded by this death, and all roads lead to the one you have lost. Ms. Oates makes it clear that she was plenty wounded by the death of her husband, yet all roads lead to her. She soon ceases to be the victim of her bereavement and instead uses it to interpret how she perceives her life and the actions of those around her. Where for some, bereavement allows them to explore avenues of compassion toward others, especially those clumsy in conveying their sympathy, not so for Ms. Oates. She points out that practically everything and everybody is insensitive to what she is going through and woe unto those who would tread upon her anger and loss.

    The second is that the author is Joyce Carol Oates, a literary powerhouse who does not experience ordinary life the way the rest of us do. If she writes about a letter or a conversation with a friend or colleague, it is Edmund Wilson, John Updike, or Phillip Roth. In this way the book becomes an inroad to the literary life populated by those with the calling and considerable talent to be writers. I admit this enthralled me, but it removed her experience from my own.

    Yet this memoir bears its gifts for the bereaved. When the author is going through a bag of cards and letters she received after her husband's death, finally able to do so, she uncovers a gem: "You will be grief stricken for the rest of your life, but don't lose your vitality." And this, quoted in the New York Review of Books' article:

    "We who are living - we who have survived - understand that our guilt is what links us to the dead. At times we can hear them calling to us, a growing incredulity in their voices You will not forget me - with you? How can you forget me? I have no one but you."

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Really? Another Memoir?

    Joyce Carol Oates, if ever brave, was so at the start of her career. Now, long since the lost days, Oates has authored what I currently consider a vanity. This memoir, or any reflective musings, are best practiced and penned by anyone other than a writer. It adds nothing to a life lived reading subjective plodding texts, inclusive of every cankering slight, life shift, the unfortunate death of a spouse or a sudden awareness that the entire populated earth has experienced. Leave the author to her niche, though indeed unrecognized by the larger awards, her short stories and the dentist to his legitimately earned memoir.

    5 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    Very very long journy

    The first few hundred pages were engaging...the rest took me weeks to slog through only necause i dojnt giveup on a book easily..i love this woman and what she has experienced but it became a ramble

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2011

    Helpful to those have lost a loved one.

    This memoir was helpful to me in many ways after I have been through the loss of too many loved ones in the past 5 years. She shows wonderful depth, and insight into the world of those who have lost and are coping and attempting to integrate those losses into their lives as they move forward. That being said-this book also seems to be an outlet for several petty slights, differences with those who do not matter to the author and to those who are unable or unfortunate enough to have gotten on Mrs. Smiths (Oates) bad side (administration at the university) or unlucky enough to have sent her a condolence card. Her manners for those who attempt in their own foundling way to convey their condolence-is not forgivable. There are times where she seem to take particular joy in cutting them down via her reader. This is unprofessional and unfair. I know first hand family members who have behaved with more bravery and decency than this author when faced with 3x the tragedy. I am not going to be looking for more of her novels anytime soon.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    Highly recommended

    Joyce Carol Oates' angst is so keenly expressed that the reader becomes part of her story. It is impossible not to feel her pain, her fright at being left alone, and her second guessing about what she could have done to prevent this death.

    I suggested that a friend of mine who was newly widowed read this book. She was expressing the same kind of feelings about the fears of being alone, the thought that maybe there was something she missed that could have prolonged her husband's life. My friend felt somewhat relieved to have her feelings expressed by a writer we have been reading for several years.

    This is a book that engages women of any age.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    For widows only

    Joyce carol oates has written a very descriptive portral of what it feels to be a widow i lost my husband suddenly to pneumonia also. If you want to get a clear understanding of what a widow goes through when she loses her husband and the life she knew, read this book. It helped me to realize that i am not going crazy.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    talk about sad and painful

    I have always loved her books. She expressed what I think I would be feeling had my husband died unexpectedly. Painful but worth the time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    LOVED IT!

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted May 4, 2011

    Beautifully Courageous

    Any time a woman writer dares to reveal the truth behind the mask, especially when it is "unseemly," she is reaching out her hand in compassion to every woman. In "A Widow's Story" Joyce Carol Oates unmasks herself, sometimes brutally, and through her courage we, the readers, are given an opportunity to see and honor the fralities of our own humanity and that of others in the face tragedy. I am truly sorry that Ms. Oates had to experience such a devastating loss, and yet so grateful that she transformed her anguish into a gift to others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2011

    wonderful book

    very heartfelt and enlightening. one i will come back to again and again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2014

    Definitely recommended

    I found this book quite moving. I wanted to reach out and help in some way to alleviate the bereft woman and realized I was simply a witness to the author's grief and loneliness. I was glad to see the glimmers of light and recovery as the book progressed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Not Great

    Not great!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    I definitely can understand her pain, and I am well acquainted w

    I definitely can understand her pain, and I am well acquainted with grief. But the writing -- stream of consciousness -- made it difficult to feel engaged. I understand she felt overwhelmed by the gifts, but instead of recognizing the sincere caring and love that they represented...she literally just trashed them. I did not identify with her anger at the delivery men and the seemingly put-upon anger at throwing everything old. I understand anger as a stage of grief, but for heaven's sake: angry at the cats? I am not done yet, though I do intend to finish it. Part of my discomfort with parts of the book could be simply the fact that I, unfortunately, chose the holiday season to begin reading it; I had to put it aside often, as this has been a difficult time in my own life, and I need to be upliftted. Poor timing on my part. (The referring to herself in the third-person, as "The Widow," was a bit disturbing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    I just could not finish this book. I lost interest  reading all

    I just could not finish this book. I lost interest  reading all the e-mails (too personal) and the poetry readings. Redundant in her use of the word "widow" pushed me over the edge. Sorry

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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