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A widow's story [sound recording] : a memoir
Oates, Joyce Carol
Adult Fiction PS3565.A8 Z477 2011b

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Early one morning in February 2008, Oates drove her husband, Raymond Smith, to the Princeton Medical Center where he was admitted with pneumonia. There, he developed a virulent opportunistic infection and died just one week later. Suddenly and unexpectedly alone, Oates staggered through her days and nights trying desperately just to survive Smith's death and the terrifying loneliness that his death brought. In her typically probing fashion, Oates navigates her way through the choppy waters of widowhood, at first refusing to accept her new identity as a widow. She wonders if there is a perspective from which the widow's grief is sheer vanity, this pretense that one's loss is so very special that there has never been a loss quite like it. In the end, Oates finds meaning, much like many of Tolstoy's characters, in the small acts that make up and sustain ordinary life. When she finds an earring she thought she'd lost in a garbage can that raccoons have overturned, she reflects, "If I have lost the meaning of my life, and the love of my life, I might still find small treasured things amid the spilled and pilfered trash." At times overly self-conscious, Oates nevertheless shines a bright light in every corner in her soul-searing memoir of widowhood. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Like Joan Didion, another well-known author who wrote about her husband's death (The Year of Magical Thinking), Oates, referring to herself here as Joyce Smith, shares with us the sudden and unexpected demise of her husband, Raymond Smith, editor of the Ontario Review, which he founded with Oates in 1974. The two were married for 48 years. Oates recounts her husband's fatal bout of pneumonia and the arduous aftermath: dealing with death duties, the terror of aloneness, the sleeplessness, the thoughts of suicide. She gets help from friends and from medication, but it takes her months before she can face and accept being on her own. VERDICT This book is beautifully written and very affecting. Oates is honest and forthcoming about her fears, dazed state, and outer mien vs. inner terror. Readers will become emotionally involved then feel relief when Oates is finally able to move on. A worthy purchase that will be appreciated by readers of memoir generally and older readers especially.-Gina Kaiser, Univ. of the Sciences Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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