Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Jean Thompson's "The Widower" from her collection Who Do You Love?

This was s National Book Award Finalist in 1999. It's not hard to understand why. Thompson writes gorgeous short stories. She has several other collections as well as a few novels.

A young couple is looking for their first house. A contender, at their price  point, is the home of a widower. Unlike most homeowners, he hangs around as they look through the house, both pointing out its good features but calling attention to others. A doctor, he has recently lost his wife. Over the course of the story, he will give husband man three stories of how his wife died. They vary especially in his feelings toward the event. Was it a long happy marriage or was he glad to be rid of her? 

A heart attack drops the price of the house and the couple buy it. The widower still stops by to see what improvements they are making. The wife is tolerant of this but the husband finds it irking--perhaps because it makes him doubt their ability to have a long and happy marriage. Great story. Great writer.

Kevin Tipple

Jerry House 

Richard Robinson 

George Kelley 

Todd Mason 

Matt Paust

9 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

This does sound good, Patti. You always find the most interesting stories for SSW!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Margot!

George said...

I know I have some Jean Thompson books around here somewhere. Time to find them! Excellent review!

Jeff Meyerson said...

Yet another writer I don't know at all, though it certainly sounds appealing to me. OK, I just bought a paperback edition for $1.17.

I liked C.J. Box's SHOTS FIRED: STORIES FROM JOE PICKETT COUNTRY. I've never read one of his novels. I'd previously read one of the stories - with a great title - in an Otto Penzler collection. This was the non-series "Pronghorns of the Third Reich." If that title alone doesn't make you want to read it, I don't know what will. Also read a historical ("The End of Jim and Ezra") in DAMN NEAR DEAD 2.

I read THE EXPENDABLES by Antonya Nelson and I am now reading her IN THE LAND OF MEN.

pattinase (abbott) said...

If you like Nelson, I am betting you will like Jean Thompson.
Thanks, George.

Todd Mason said...

It does sound interesting. The varying means of encroaching upon each other.

My story this week is up...and involves rather more concrete encroachment...

https://socialistjazz.blogspot.com/2021/04/ssw-feast-for-small-pieces-by-hailey.html

Mathew Paust said...

Not familiar with Thompson's work, Patti. I'm intrigued.

Thought I'd sent you my contribution earlier, but found in languishing in the "drafts" bin, so I sent it again.

https://mdpaust.blogspot.com/2018/11/caves-of-rust-belt-joe-kapitan.html

TracyK said...

Another author of short stories I haven't heard and the story you describe here sounds very good. I will look for a copy of the book.

Susan said...

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