Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout [7/10]

Elizabeth Strout’s immersive, piercing stories and novels place ordinary lives under her microscope. I missed reading the first two novels concerning the life of Lucy Barton, New York author with a terrible past. “Oh William!” tells of her first husband, William, a bafflingly distant but distinctive man who, when this novel opens, has aged and seen his wife walk out, and the two former soulmates embark on a joint journey of memories and stunning family revelations. The author weaves a masterful dense tale, the human insights are profound, and an intimate, lyrical style knits it all together tightly. The storyline cannot be described as momentous, and a sense of domestic ordinariness drags some of the chapters down, but I was moved to near tears a couple of times, and came away from a fast read thoroughly wrung out. Oh William! is a minor key triumph, one that will send me backward to read the other two series’ books.

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