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A Window Across the River

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  458 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Isaac and Nora haven't seen each other in five years, yet when Nora phones Isaac late one night, he knows who it is before she's spoken a word. Isaac, a photographer, is relinquishing his artistic career, while Nora, a writer, is seeking to rededicate herself to hers.

Fueled by their rediscovered love, Nora is soon on fire with the best work she's ever done, until she real
Paperback, 300 pages
Published September 7th 2004 by Mariner Books (first published 2003)
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I have difficulty reviewing and rating this book. It's actually one I might not have finished had it not been for the CR discussion. There's nothing difficult. It's certainly accessible. But the characters. Isaac... I can believe him as a character. Nora is a moral argument masquerading as a character in search of relationships. I didn't like her, didn't believe in her, and ultimately didn't want to read about her anymore. I really wished Isaac had fallen for someone else, but such is life.
Feb 21, 2015 Sherry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-this-year
I enjoyed every page of this character driven novel. Two artists- a writer and photographer- struggle with their creative identities while trying to rekindle their past love affair. Insights into what artists must sacrifice to serve their creative demons as well as care for those they love. Highly recommend to all writers.
Oct 14, 2011 John rated it liked it
Shelves: library_books, nyc
I had liked the movie of Morton's Starting Out In the Evening, so when the Constant Reader gang put this one on a discussion list, I decided to go for it. Did I enjoy it? Not exactly, no. Did I regret the time spent reading it? No, it's a well written book. Indeed, the plotting is its main strength, switching effectively between the two main characters, without a lot of re-hashing events. While I wasn't thrilled with Billie, Nora's aunt, as a person, the arc of her story did work to propel the s ...more
Jan 10, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Issac and Nora love for each other has transcended over years, and have never lost it`s passion. After years of contemplating about whether one thinks of each other, Nora first makes the first step when she calls Isaac. Issac recognizes her silence without her saying a word, and the two decided to meet up and rebuild what was broken. Although Nora is in a relationship, she never stop loving Isaac and she struggles to break things off with her current mate. As a photographer, Isaac captures ...more
Patricia Tyburczy-bettis
Oct 01, 2012 Patricia Tyburczy-bettis rated it really liked it
I often choose character driven novels, and so that is what was appealing to me about this story. Also, it isn't necessary for me to like the characters in order to remain interested in what is happening with them. To my mind, this is a story about obession, and how following that, whether it is a physical and emotional attachment for another, or the drive to manifest one's creative core, can either save or destroy you. It is about the consequences of choice, and ultimately what we learn about ...more
Mar 07, 2011 Dana rated it really liked it
a quiet little book, very well written, about 2 people who find each other again after breaking apart 5 years earlier. an intelligent book about intelligent, interesting young people in nyc, post 9/11. I finished this book now (writing this a few days since 1st 2 sentences. It was beautifully written, and I loved the strong character development, loving the characters despite their flaws, BUT, I hated the last sentence, as it left me hanging. I hate books that don't let the reader know how the ...more
Nov 16, 2008 Joanna rated it liked it
This book was not very good, but I liked it. I hate when that happens.
Erin Chandler
Sep 27, 2014 Erin Chandler rated it really liked it
I hate rating books. I struggled with rating this one, 'liked it?' or 'really liked it?' The truth is I really liked it. While Brian Morton is not among my favorite writers and his occasional, out of the blue and over the top description of some inanimate object was slightly irritating… I could not wait to get back to this book. Norah and Isaac I got and he nailed them circumstance after circumstance. He presented their weaknesses and strengths in the most casual way as they struggled with the ...more
Cecelia Hightower
(2003, pp. 289) I am not sure where I picked up or received this book, but I found it interesting and easy to read. Brian Morton's development of characters was done very well I thought. It is a love story with a different presentation, in that the female is an author, who is creative when she is writing about those that she knows personally and she presents many negative points. It is hard to hold onto friends and family and lovers, when the writing is shared. Her love interest is a ...more
May 16, 2016 Penney rated it it was amazing
Love this author's work. This is my favorite of the three novels I've read so far. Interestingly, several of my friends did NOT like the one Brian Morton novel I recommended they read (Florence Gordon). I suspect some readers can't see past the negative aspects of characterization and conclude that these novels are like so much of the typical cynical nasty contemporary fiction out there. But I see just the opposite--fully rounded characters, warts and all, worthy of compassion despite their ...more
Barbara Nutting
Aug 24, 2016 Barbara Nutting rated it really liked it
VERY low key and laid back! Not my usual type of read but it was well written and it's nice to find something different for a change. I did take umbrage at his description of an old lady alone except for her cats as being sad. I am all those things (but my cats are all in the big litter box in the sky after 18 years) and couldn't be happier!! Being alone DOES NOT mean being lonely - it means doing what you want whenever you want without having to explain your actions to anyone!! So there Brian ...more
Jul 05, 2008 Susann rated it liked it
Years ago, I swiped this from the free book table at work. I liked it just fine but, now that it's review-time, I don't have much to say about it. Nora didn't do much for me personally, but I admired and respected Isaac's love for her. Morton showed how when you love someone, your love just is. It's just there.
Jul 06, 2010 Rdailey rated it it was amazing
A *very* good book-- definitely a "keeper"! Morton portrays the two main characters, Nora and Isaac, beautifully and equally well... the struggles they endure are profound, intimate yet universal, crossing the generations... I highly recommend this read!
Oct 17, 2011 Yulia rated it liked it
Morton once again challenges us to question whether we would be able to live up to our own ethical standards and ideals. This book also asks, what is ultimately more important to an artist: to live well or to create well? If a writer dies unknown in a forest, is it too late to self-publish?
Nov 02, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it
My kind of book - complex characters wrestling with their lives, relationships, values and behavior in ways I find absorbing. Especially since they're artists, one a writer and the other a photographer. Good read. Will look for more by this writer.
Nov 04, 2014 Carol rated it liked it
Not as good as his latest, Florence Gordon.
Sanja K
Jun 08, 2012 Sanja K rated it really liked it
The book is about love, compassion and compromises. It is a beautiful book,
Nov 05, 2016 Kirsti rated it liked it
Thoughtful, well-written, yet how can I say I liked this book when I found the main character so odious?
LK Hunsaker
Nov 04, 2015 LK Hunsaker rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 27, 2008 Ben rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
The premise of this book was really interesting, unfotunately, the book wasn't nearly as good as the premise. In the synopses I read beforehand, Nora, the author who reconnects with an old boyfriend, starts writing a story which she belated realizes is a thinly-veiled, negative portrait of her boyfriend. In the book however, she knows basically from the start that it's about her boyfriend, moreover, Morton spends several dozen pages giving a history of Nora's writing, a series of stories that ...more
Jan 08, 2013 Chanda rated it did not like it
I am having a difficult time finding anything redeeming about this book. The characters were all pitiable with nothing to endear them. All of them are sad examples of unfulfilled adults. It was really a depressing read! I was particularly unimpressed by the main female character. She's immature and selfish, despite the few samples of caring thrown in. Ultimately there isn't anyone to care about in the novel. The cats I guess. I hope the cats make out all right in the end.
There was one quote tha
Jun 30, 2008 Shane rated it really liked it
This author has managed to grab me. While the stories lack in any setting description it is wholly made up in character descriptions. The author creativly describes the workings of peoples minds to an extent that it almost feels as if these people are not truely created and instead close freinds of the writer. Which is what the actually story touches on. A look into how people interact with each other, and an even closer look at the inner workings of fiction writers, this story grabs you and ...more
May 03, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it
Quiet and thoughtful, with characters who are synmpathetic despite major flaws. I don't care for the overall theme (following one's solitary artistic calling versus living a life with others) because to me the choice seems a no-brainer (the latter. Not much happens in the plot department, but the thing that drew me in was the interior dialogue of the two main characters. I could see myself at various times in each of them. That was interesting and fun. Overall the book is not very fun, but ...more
Sep 15, 2015 Kerstin rated it it was ok
Most of the indifferent reviews of this book are pretty spot on. The first few chapters of this book grabbed me as the feeling of lost love was relatable. But the more I read, then more I wanted the book to be over. It took until over half the book was read to get anywhere. The book is full of literary references, most of which I didn't understand. The end of the book leaves you hanging, which is okay in a way, but it also leaves you wondering, after all that, what actually happens between the ...more
Jul 10, 2010 Tawny rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
I felt a connection to the conflict in this book, which dealt with writing literature about loved ones. I enjoyed all the quotes from famous writers, however, in general the language was pretty foul. Next time give me a heads up, Mom!
Favorite lines: 1. "A man does his best work when he has a stake in the future" (176). 2. "We think of our lives as incredibly complicated and long, composed of many different stages, different eras, when the truth is that a life is but a single note" (189).
Mar 13, 2014 Jeanne rated it it was ok
I thought it was kind of a strange story. The main character Nora is a writer who every time she writes something good it's about some one she knows and it's highly critical of them. When they read the story she's written they no longer have anything to do with her. Her main and probably best friend is Issac. She finally writes about can guess the outcome. I still don't know if I liked the story or not but I kept right on reading till the end. Strange ending!
Aug 15, 2009 Sara rated it it was ok
This was kind of boring.

There was so much foreshadowing in this book that anyone could pretty much tell what the outcome would be pretty quickly.

The narrator is a writer. Her best and truest works depict the worst aspects of the people she loves the most. Once they read these stories that reveal their unflattering true selves, they get angry at her. She loses many friends and loved ones this way, but it's the only way she can be happy and reach her creative goals.

Jen Fowler
Feb 26, 2015 Jen Fowler rated it liked it
I want to give this some kind of review because I loved how this author writes. This is one of those books where, after you read a certain paragraph or a certain sentence, you want to write it down. Or at the very least you want to repeat it a few times, because he captured a feeling or scenario so perfectly.
So in some ways I would give this five stars, but overall had to stick with three stars.
Lindsey Lang
Sep 27, 2010 Lindsey Lang rated it liked it
overall not a bad book, it was well written but i just didn't really find myself liking the main characters all that well. maybe that was part of the point, but i kind of felt myself rushing to finish, not to get to the end of the story but so that i could move on to another book. i have another book by this author and i'm hoping i enjoy it more.
Aug 04, 2008 Nancy rated it it was ok
I ordered this because it was a Today Book Club book and they often choose books that I like. However, the main character was self-absorbed and the story seemed to move no where. It was discouraging that there was no resolution and so I felt neither sadness over ending the story nor any curiosity on how it may, could end up with everyone. While it was not a bad book, it was just dull.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

BRIAN MORTON is the author of four previous novels, including Starting Out in the Evening, which was a Salon favorite book of the year and was made into an acclaimed feature film, and A Window Across the River, which was a Book Club selection on the Today show. He is the dir
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“The parasite of art, the virus of art, never ceases to gnaw awat at your brain, never ceases to torture you with the knowledge that whatever you’re doing could be done more beautifully, more powerfully, more stirringly, more disturbingly, more deeply.” 4 likes
“He was like a fireman of intellectual life, rescuing frail forgotten thinkers from the burning building of time.” 0 likes
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