The World without You

The World without You

by Joshua Henkin
3.3 47

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Overview

The World without You by Joshua Henkin

***National Jewish Book Awards 2012, Finalist***
      JJ Greenberg Memorial Award for Fiction

From the author of the New York Times Notable Book Matrimony ["Beautiful . . . Brilliant."—Michael Cunningham], a moving, mesmerizing new novel about love, loss, and the aftermath of a family tragedy.

It’s July 4, 2005, and the Frankel family is descending upon their beloved summer home in the Berkshires. But this is no ordinary holiday. The family has gathered to memorialize Leo, the youngest of the four siblings, an intrepid journalist and adventurer who was killed on that day in 2004, while on assignment in Iraq.

The parents, Marilyn and David, are adrift in grief. Their forty-year marriage is falling apart. Clarissa, the eldest sibling and a former cello prodigy, has settled into an ambivalent domesticity and is struggling at age thirty-nine to become pregnant. Lily, a fiery-tempered lawyer and the family contrarian, is angry at everyone. And Noelle, whose teenage years were shadowed by promiscuity and school expulsions, has moved to Jerusalem and become a born-again Orthodox Jew. The last person to see Leo alive, Noelle has flown back for the memorial with her husband and four children, but she feels entirely out of place. And Thisbe —Leo’s widow and mother of their three-year-old son—has come from California bearing her own secret.

Set against the backdrop of Independence Day and the Iraq War, The World Without You is a novel about sibling rivalries and marital feuds, about volatile women and silent men, and, ultimately, about the true meaning of family.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307907561
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/19/2012
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 423,511
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

JOSHUA HENKIN is the author of the novels Swimming Across the Hudson (a Los Angeles Times Notable Book) and Matrimony (a New York Times Notable Book). His stories have been published widely, cited for distinction in Best American Short Stories and broadcast on NPR's Selected Shorts. He directs the MFA Program in Fiction Writing at Brooklyn College.


From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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The World Without You: A Novel 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
cider12 More than 1 year ago
I was not sure if I should read this book or not because it very much reflects my own life. My son was also killed in Iraq in 2005. Our family (which consists of 3 daughters and another son) will simply never be the same - my husband and I have a relationship that mimics David's and Marilyn's. Shall I stay or shall I go? I highlighted so much of this book because so much of it rang true. I hit tennis balls with the same vengeance that Marilyn does - an exorcism of sorts, I suspect. I wrote letters, visited congressmen, spoke at anti-war events for the first couple of years... and then I just felt defeated. My husband works, at his job - but not with the same commitment that he once had. After all, Michael was supposed to take over the business. He is physically always in motion - fixing and CHOPPING, just like David. My girls run - for themselves and for Michael. I am quite amazed that Joshua Henkins could capture the emotions that he does in this novel - but I related to every page that he wrote.
SincerelyStacie More than 1 year ago
Three years ago, our book club had an opportunity to chat with Joshua Henkin and discuss his book MATRIMONY. We had a great time chatting and discussing the book with him and also talking about writing in general. When Joshua Henkin contacted me to read and review his newest novel, I jumped at the chance. I was drawn into the family's different levels of dysfunction as well as their grief over the loss of their son and brother. But, what I wasn't drawn into was the overt liberal rhetoric throughout the novel. The Bush-Hate was so strong and blatant that it actually started to turn me off on the novel. It made me wonder if this was the author's way to get his political views out to the world. I understand there are people in our country who have strong opinions about the war and it was definitely feasible that the characters in this story would feel this way. But, it felt over the top at times. For those with a conservative view, it could be a turn-off. I tried to ignore the political talk and focus instead on the family dynamics and the characters individual stories. The level of grief each family member was feeling was very real for me and I felt their pain and hesitations with each other. Their stories were well written and developed and I felt a connection to each one. If you are looking for a story with a huge climax and page-turning drama, this won't be for you. But if you are looking for a relaxing family story for a lazy summer day, this would be a great choice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Politics made me put this book down. It could have been good.......but l don't care about your political views as an author. I stopped going to concerts of some of my favorite groups for the same reason .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vivid, well-drawn characters, but this book really drags. No fresh insights. Ultimately it's kind of boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was determined to finish this book though I lost interest early on. During my last attempt I looked for the page number I was on and I was only on page 72 (not half through). I love to read and enjoy different type books. This was one of the few I just could not finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I DONT GET WHY PEOPLE HAVE TO WRITE THE WHOLE STORY IN A BOOK REVIEW!! YOUR SUPPOSED TO SAY IF U LIKE IT OR NOT.... NOT GIVE AWAY THE WHOLE STORY!!! STOP ALRRADY
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am at page 200. The Bush thing is so old and boring. The daughters are so yucky. The family involved are so tiresome after a few chapters. Gone Girl is my favorite so far. Maybe !eo offed himself so he wouldnt have to deal with his sisters.
Catwoman63 More than 1 year ago
An interesting read. The problem is, it doesn't really go anywhere. I was waiting for a big thing to happen, and it never really does, just falls flat. I also had a lot of trouble keeping track of two out of the three daughters, only one out of the three really made an impression and I totally knew her story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too lengthy and boring
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i think the the book was flat.  i could certainly identify w/ this family's dysfunctionality but that's the book.  most of the characters were well developed but the storyline just didn't excite me. 
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A nice read that keeps you coming back for ore.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An honest, quiet picture of family dynamics from so many angles. Reminded me a lot of "This is Where I Leave You" by Jonothan Tropper, but more subdued....not depressing, just thoughtful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every once in a while you find a book written in such a way that you want to savor it...make it last...like an excellent meal...small bites. This is one of those books. It is a family drama. They are anti-Bush WITH GOOD REASON as shown in the narrative. The story focuses on The World Without You...the You being Leo Frankel, a journalist taken hostage and killed in Iraq. It is a year later and his family gather for a memorial service. It is a novel about fictional characters but I will miss the extended Frankel family. Their story is delicious.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
Poignant. Heartbreaking. Touching. There are a lot of words I could use to describe this book, but the one that seems the most applicable is familiar. This is not because I can identify or even begin to imagine what the family has been through, but because the characters were all so very approachable. Rarely does a book draw the reader into the folds of its story so seamlessly as this one does. The World Without You is about a family that is falling apart after the death of their son, brother and husband, Leo. Captured and killed while working as a journalist in Iraq, Leo’s funeral was overridden by the press one year earlier and the family has chosen to memorialize him in a small ceremony in his favorite Berkshires town in Massachusetts. Told through alternating perspectives, The World Without You holds nothing back in its portrayal of a family that is slowly disintegrating. The author, Joshua Henkin, does a wonderful job of navigating the waters of real family battles while respecting the perspectives of each. There were no favorites, nor were there any overly dramatic moments to sully the underlying tone of authenticity.What I love about this book is that it is relatable. Anyone who has argued with siblings or felt chastised by in-laws will be able to identify with this book, whether or not they have lost a close family member. It oozes sincerity without the cheesiness that often accompanies that emotion, and it has moved into one of my favorite books of the year.
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