All He Ever Wanted

All He Ever Wanted

by Anita Shreve
3.1 85

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Overview

All He Ever Wanted by Anita Shreve

What is a woman's price? From the bestselling author of The Last Time They Met comes a brilliant new novel about love, jealousy, and loss.

Etna Bliss has just moved to the New England town where her uncle teaches college when her life is transformed in a single stroke. She is dining in a hotel downtown when a fire forces her to escape to the snowy streets outside. Amid the smoke and chaos of that night she is glimpsed, standing under a streetlight, by a man who was dining in the same room-a man who is so overwhelmed by the sight of her that he rebuilds his life around a single goal: to marry Etna Bliss.

That man is Nicholas Van Tassel, and All He Ever Wanted is his account of how two lives changed from that tumultuous night forward. A proud and orderly man, Van Tassel is ill equipped to deal with the ferocity of love. But he is determined to have Etna no matter what the cost. Riding a train south many years later, he unwinds his memories of the years that followed and struggles to understand the mystery his life became on that night.

This is no ordinary tale of obsession. All He Ever Wanted is a story about different kinds of love, different ideas of what love is, and how lives can be strained to breaking over those differences. It is a powerful exploration of the music and silences of family life, the unhinging forces of desire, the wrenching power of secrets unrevealed, and the bewildering territories of betrayal and loss. Written with the maturity, beauty, intelligence, and grace that are Anita Shreve's hallmarks, All He Ever Wanted is a story that powerfully conjures another time and place-peopled by unforgettable characters as real as the emotions that bring them together.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316010368
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 12/01/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.12(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.25(d)

About the Author

Anita Shreve is the acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels, including A Change in Altitude, Testimony; her best-known book, The Pilot’s Wife, which was a selection of Oprah’s Book Club; and The Weight of Water, which was a finalist for England’s Orange prize. Her book Resistance was turned into a movie with the same name. She is a writer who combines seemingly effortless prose with riveting storytelling.

Hometown:

New Hampshire; Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

1946

Education:

B.A., Tufts University

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All He Ever Wanted 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
Sunshine86 More than 1 year ago
This book was a bit depressing because you could tell from the start how it was going to end and it moved pretty slowly. It was written well in that the author really got across how hopeful he was without it sounding to boring and brought about a bit of sympathy for him. I kept wondering why he kept hopes alive and was willing to take the scrapes she gave him.
LiveLoveAndRead More than 1 year ago
Slow, characters were a bore, and the babbling on about nothings really was quite irritating. I thought it would get better, but never did. Dissapointing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unlikeable and unsympathetic characters. Good portrayal of society at time of story, but story itself is rather boring. The author does have a lovely lyrical way of writing, with good descriptive phrases and lack of hackneyed word and expressions.
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
What, Exactly, Is He Willing to Do to Get What He Wants? This story opens with Nicholas Van Tassel surviving a restaurant fire. Once he exits the burning building and helps others to do the same, he sees Etna Bliss standing under the lamp light. He is instantly in love. Nicholas finally marries Etna and with full knowledge that she will never love him. She had told him. Nonetheless, he insists, believing he can make her love him. In addition, Etna, a woman before her time, hungers for independence. In the early 1900's, this is neither commonly accepted nor accommodated. Nicholas is definitely a man of his time, and does not feel Etna's independence is proper. Wishing to hold onto his wife and to acquire a position for which he longs at the college, Nicholas resorts to an outrageous act. This book is a reflection of Nicholas's life. Nicholas Van Tassel is actually riding in a train and writing this account of his life for his son. As he looks back on his life, the reader is given a one-sided account, his interpretation, of his career as a college professor and of his marriage to Etna Bliss. I grew to detest him, as the story proceeds. However, is he a product of his times? Or is he truly and evil man?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is truly boring...ugh. 
marybeth13 More than 1 year ago
I am listening to this book on tape and am completely emeshed in the story of Nicholas and Etna; I love the period piece portrayal. What a sad, sad story of "settling" for what one apparently cannot have. Nicholas and Etna, a doomed "love" that has no match! Cannot stop listening and waiting for the resolution of this marriage....
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Anne_Marie1899 More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I've read by Anita Shreve, I have to say I was disappointed.The book was very slow moving, and didn't really have much substance.I wouldn't recommend it.
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tchrreader More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was so so. I thought this book was slow to start and I kept waiting for something to happen. This is the story about Etna, she ends up being in a hotel fire. Her future husband falls in love with her the minute he sees her. She has a past that is a mystery and she doesn't love this man. It was a slow starting book that was hard to get into. Unbelievable things happened and it left a lot of unanswered questions. I didn't like being left hanging.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a little hard to get into right away but once I did, I couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let me preface this by saying I AM a fan of Anita Shreve. Her book "Sea Glass" is one of my favorite reads. Because of her previous books, I was very excited to pick up "All He Ever Wanted". I hated every second of it. At first I was confused by the style; I did not know it was a "period piece". Although consistent in her writing for the era, the book was boring and found the characters were shallow, selfish, and miserable. There was not one character in the book that had any endearing or redeeming qualities. I never do this but I stopped at the last chapter, didn't even finish it and literally threw it away. With all that said, I am still a fan of Anita Shreve and will read her in the future but with so many books to read I would suggest not wasting precious reading time on this dud.
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