Saturday 4 January 2014

The Obituary Writer

Finished January 3
The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood, read by Tavia Gilbert

This novel follows two story lines that come together near the end.
One story occurs in 1919, when Vivien Lowe is living in Napa and writing obituaries for people who come to her door. Vivien had moved to Napa some time after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, devastated by the disappearance of her lover that day. She searches for him still. She finds that understanding grief has made her more able to listen to others and help them cope.
In 1961, Claire lives outside Washington with her husband Peter and young daughter. She is feeling caught in her marriage to a man she doesn't thing she loves after an affair with another man. She is also pregnant and unsure of whose baby it is. As inauguration day for J.F. Kennedy approaches, the family travels to Rhode Island for Peter's mother's 80th birthday. It is here that Claire will make a life-changing decision and find a connection to her mother-in-law that will help her face the future.
I liked both Claire and Vivien as characters, and found Claire's situation very relevant to her time and the expectations of women then. Vivien was more of a rebel in some ways, but also got stuck in her own past for a while. A very good read, with a fascinating plot.


  1. Great review, Shonna. Not an era that fascinates me but looks good nonetheless.
    Well done for kicking off the ATWI80Books Reading Challenge.

    Love Bites and Silk

  2. Thanks. I really liked the way the author made you "feel" the time period of the stories.