When 70 year old widower Percy Darling is convinced to turn his old barn into an upscale preschool, he knows his whole life is going to start to change. A newly retired librarian, Percy watches the preschool grow and prosper, reflecting on what he wants out of his new life, including beginning a new relationship with a younger woman after not dating for decades and attempting to connect with grown daughters, one of whom is quite unstable.
The voices of Ira, a young, gay man teaching at the preschool, Celestino, an immigrant from Guatemala, working as a landscaper at the home of Percy's neighbor, and Robert, Percy's grandson, a student at Harvard are intertwined with Percy's own story, each making their own unique statement in the story. The men are handed a personal crisis, one the reader gets to experience along with each character, as difficult situations are dealt with, often in unexpected ways.
Who knew I could get so involved in the lives of four fictional men? I listened to the audio version, read by Mark Bramhall, and was SO impressed with what I heard. Bramhall managed to do four distinct voices for each of these men and I never had to question which one I was listening to at any given time. He is an incredibly talented reader and I'll definitely be looking for other books he's read for.
Julia Glass, an author I've admired for years, has created a beautiful saga with great pacing and that special something that makes a reader want to know more. Definitely a character driven novel (which is what I look for, I think), I fell in love with Percy, Ira, Celestino, and Robert. My heart hurt for each of them at different times and I found myself cheering at other times...which could have appeared strange, since I listened to it in my car. Awkward.
If you enjoy a great, character driven novel, I highly recommend this one, or Glass's earlier novel, Three Junes. I think I'm going to try to get that one on audio next!
The Widower's Tale
Random House Audio
Book borrowed from my local library