Thursday, June 6, 2013
The Obituary Writer; Ann Hood
Title: The Obituary Writer
Author: Ann Hood
Publication Year: 2013
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co/Blackstone Audio
Reader: Tavia Gilbert (good)
Setting: CA and Virginia
Date Completed: May - 2013
The Obituary Writer tells the story of two women separated by more than forty years, yet still connected.
Vivian Lowe, the "obituary writer" of the story is a woman who lost her married lover during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. His body was never found and she has grieved ever since. yet there is something that has made her wonder whether he still might be alive.
Vivian is independent, wealthy and well educated. her gift has been the talent to capture the essence of a person's life in writing, almost like a beautiful poem. Her work was always extremely satisfying, until the day that her dear friend experienced an unspeakable loss.
Claire is the other woman in this story. It's the early 1960's in Virginia. Claire is also obsessed with JFK's inauguration and everything about Jackie O. Claire was a stewardess, who met her handsome, well-educated husband while working for the airlines. According to society's rules at that time, he was a a real catch and she did what others expected; she married him and gave up her career. Just a few years into the marriage, she finds herself bored, unhappy with her marriage, and ripe for an affair. When it happens, she finds in her lover everything that her husband is not.Vivian and Claire are both stuck in their particular situations because women were expected to conform to certain roles established by society. A society where affairs with married men were taboo.
The author does a good job exploring topics like pain and unhappiness. She knows how to tie a story together as well, as the story is told from the viewpoints of both women. This author also knows about grief, and it shows in her writing, sadly, Ann Hood lost her own child to illness at the age of 5. The story was well written, but ending seemed to be wrapped up too quickly for my taste. I did enjoy reading about changes that were taking place for women in the 1960's, and how their roles as predominately housewives began to change as well. I'm a long time Ann Hood fan, having read all of her books, and although I liked listening to this one well enough, it was not a favorite. Despite that, I still think this story will be popular among many of Hood fans readers.