The Obituary Writer

The Obituary Writer

by Ann Hood


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A sophisticated and suspenseful novel about the poignant lives of two women living in different eras.

On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393346770
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/07/2013
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 420,695
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Ann Hood is the author of eight previous books, including the best-selling memoir Comfort: A Journey Through
Grief and best-selling novels The Book That Matters Most and The Knitting Circle. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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The Obituary Writer: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
msmouseBG More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. I read it in one sitting. Characters were interesting and the story really makes you think about what is truly important in life. I could relate to Claire and her feelings towards her marriage and sense of hopelessness.
LHDragonSun More than 1 year ago
I have been a huge fan of Ann Hood's work since I picked up a carefully worn copy of THREE LEGGED HORSE at a used book store several years ago. It was one of those books I felt the need to loan out after I had cherished it. Now, when I go to purchase fiction, I almost always look for Ann Hood's name first. I was thrilled to pull out my Nook before a recent vacation and see that she had a new novel published. As always, I had difficulty not reading when I had other things to do, and the characters and story sucked me in completely. Hood writes from the deepest part of her heart, and there is no greater compliment I can give to a writer. I loved this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Different but interesting story. Sometimes characters were a little creepy. In many ways, it reflects some of the shallow thinking of today. The idolization of weak leaders. This book is worth reading just for reflection on what is important. I would rate it an A for that reason alone.
lynnski0723 More than 1 year ago
How can a book filled with adultery pull at your heartstrings so? You want the best for Claire and Vivian but both are so blinded by their love of a man, they seem to forget to love themselves. I greatly enjoyed the storylines and the way it was written. I definitely recommend it.
JKW24 More than 1 year ago
Ms. Hood speaks of death and great love.  She shows us how deep love can be. Living in that past and only hanging on to lost love can wound us deeply and cause us to miss life. Death is a wounding that rarely heals, but softens as the years and experiences go forward. If we insist on the living in the past, we cannot go forward into a future we deserve. She teaches that truth is not always what we think it is. . . and in guessing we mistakenly hurt ourselves and others. It is a story that is complex but relevant in knowing how to live a full life. The writer is an expert at emotions and feelings.
AngieJG More than 1 year ago
I liked the story. It was a little too short for my taste.  I would have liked to more about all the characters, and certainly and ending that was more fleshed out. The novel ended abruptly, and I felt that the reader deserved more. There were editing issues as well.
Maggie42 More than 1 year ago
Perhaps a good beach read. I read in two sittings. Clearly Ms Hood was not an adult in the 60s and her timeline for Vivien's life is troubling. If Vivien was in her mid-thirties in 1919, it is unlikely she had a child 15 - 20 years later. Characters are stereo-typical and thin. Plot is so PREDICTABLE.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked the characters, story, but the ending still puzzles me.
MDTuck More than 1 year ago
This novel is written from the point of view of two women 50 years apart in time, but with a connection that is unknown to the reader. The author paints a credible and well wrought picture of the 1920's and 1960's - different customs, mores, dress and emotions.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
When I read an obituary, I am expecting it to contain certain information. When Vivien writes an obituary, she isn’t concerned about dates and events, she wants to capture the whole individual. Vivien sets the stage for the survivors in her home, serving them comforting beverages and snacks as they talk freely about their loved ones. Vivien has a talent and individuals seek out her comfort. Vivien is seeking comfort herself when her lover goes missing after a natural disaster. She cannot let go of what they once had and she yearns to reconnect with him. If only she could have what she provides to others. Let me introduce you to Claire. Claire is married and has what her mother would say, “everything that should make her happy” but the problem is, Claire is not happy. Claire’s life should be stable but Claire is living on the edge, afraid of what will happen when her lover is revealed and when the baby she is carrying is delivered. These two women are living decades apart but they will soon collide, a meeting that gave me chills. I listened to this novel on audio and l loved the narration. Her soothing voice was perfect for this novel. I understood why Vivien was so popular amongst her clients, for she took her job seriously and she wrote from her heart what her clients expressed about their loved ones. Personalizing some of the obits with phrases that she knew, you could feel the love that she wanted to share with her readers. I liked the drama that surrounded Claire’s life. She was taught by her mother how to be the perfect wife and she had the perfect Beaver Cleaver set up but this was not the life that Claire wanted. It was missing something. Claire was fighting an inner turmoil of being content or going after what she wanted. This battle raged within her and was one that she could not ignore. This novel was better than I had expected and I was glad that I picked it up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It had enough of a mystery to keep it intriguing, while is also had a sweet love story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oops. Res five :/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here. Results on May 22nd! Good luck!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the most well written books that I have read in a long time. The title might appear to be a bit morbid; but the author justifies it by the way that the book is written. If you want to read a book about, Love, Loss,and the lengths that a person will go for Love; THIS IS THE BOOK!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An average novel, but you can use it to escape a rainy day. The chapters go back and forth from the early 1960s to San Francisco and the wine country with the main characters. The author's description of housewives in the early 1960s sounds very authentic. She cleverly disguises Birdy, the mother-in-law. I was very surprised to find out Birdy really was. My advice: wait until it comes out in paperback.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting read, but I was looking for more in the ending.