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The Whole World: A Novel

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3.08 of 5 stars 3.08  ·  rating details  ·  190 ratings  ·  69 reviews
At once a sensual and irresistible mystery and a haunting work of psychological insight and emotional depth, " "The Whole World marks the beginning of a brilliant literary career for Emily Winslow, a superb, limitlessly gifted author.
Set in the richly evoked pathways and environs of Cambridge, England, The Whole World unearths the desperate secrets kept by its many comple
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Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Delacorte Press (first published May 13th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 734)
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karen
brrring brrring...

hello? i am phoning in a book review. this cool?

i am just not feeling inspired by this book. it was fine, but it really seemed to be trying too hard on one hand, and then getting careless and plot-holey on the other.

there is just...too much. there are all these storylines that are provocative but are quickly dropped, or seem to only exist because they are supposed to be intriguing, but when they are all together in one book and not really explored, it is just the literary equiv
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Blair
A classic case of a story that sounded great and, on the face of it, seemed like something I would love, but was executed so badly that it sucked all the potential goodness out of an appealing premise. When I first read the plot summary, I thought it would be more or less impossible for me to dislike this book. Unfortunately, it did a very good job of proving me completely wrong.

The book starts off following Polly and Liv, two 20-year-old American girls studying at Cambridge university. They for
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Morgan F
When I won this on firstreads, I got excited. It looked really good.

Polly and Liv, two American friends at Cambridge University, both find themselves for Nick, the perfect English guy. The three work together on doing research for a blind professor named Gretchen Paul, who wants to write a book about her mother, a famous author. But one day Nick disappears and in the aftermath, secrets come bubbling to the surface.

I was not a big fan of this book. I did not like the characters or the writing st
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Darcia Helle
While I enjoyed Emily Winslow's writing style, I was not all that enamored with her first novel. In A Whole World, we get to know a group of characters, each from their own perspective. They interact through a series of events that eventually leads to murder. The characters themselves seemed overblown and exaggerated. The plot didn't actually move anywhere until about 2/3 through the book.

I found some things too overdone and other things just plain unbelievable. For instance, I didn't see how a
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Sharon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie
This book technically precedes The Start of Everything, which I read last week. It follows a similar style, telling the story through different voices. It also tells the story in less than chronological order, which can be confusing (for example, a character who you know is dead is suddenly narrating). I think this style works all right for her, but it's not one that I am particularly fond of.

The book itself is fine. It doesn't seem to matter much that I read the two out of order (the only thing
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Jennifer
I received an advance copy of this book free from Goodreads First Reads. Expected to be released in May 2010, this is the first of several novels by Emily Winslow that may feature similar characters. I thought this book would be very appealing because of Ms. Winslow’s experience creating logic puzzles. If you enjoy watching a story unfold from multiple perspectives, you will enjoy this novel. Unfortunately, the book reads like someone started with a puzzle outline and then tried to fit in the na ...more
Jill
I received an advance copy from Goodreads First Reads; I enjoy debut novels and this one seemed to have a lot of promise. The author herself lives in Cambridge, England, where the novel is set and indeed, the opening of the novel, which hints at the disappearance of one of the key characters, Nick, is compelling. However, the promised psychological insights and haunting mystery did not pay off -- for me. There were too many incongruities, coincidences, and unfleshed-out characters with overblown ...more
Marty
This is an excellent first novel by Emily Winslow. I found it very well written and very hard to put down.
This story starts with a love triangle that moves into a mystery, murder and mental illness. The characters are well written and defined. I think the story could move into a sequel.
There is some discussion of the whole world as it relates to the characters in the story, and how we view our own small world as relates to the larger picture.
I hope Ms. Winslow has more stories.
Christy Stewart
I wasn't expecting much from this book and began reading it with a 'Let's get this over with' state of mind but before I got to the bottom of the first page Winslow had won me over.

The story was good but that comes secondary to the authors style. I was looking forward just to see how she would phrase the next sentence. I would be willing to try and re-read some of my least favorite books if Winslow was re-writing them.
Jennifer
Blech. Sometimes you've got to wonder how books get published and reviewed so well. I couldn't even finish this book. I think it was meant to have a gothic "is-this-happening" tone, especially in the perspective of the first narrator, but I couldn't care about her, and didn't understand the point of the novel, even though there were heavy-handed clues bolted down in key places.
Shan
Is it odd that my favorite character was the grouchy workaholic police detective?* I thought the story had a lot of promise, and it was certainly a quick read, but I didn't feel like there was really anyone to root for.

*Perhaps not that odd, since he appears in Winslow's new novel too. Definitely going to give that one a whirl.
Lenore Appelhans
Polly and Liv are both Americans studying at Cambridge University. They hit it off and then become involved with Nick, a fellow student. When Nick disappears, it sets off a chain of events that show Polly and Liv how little they really know about each other.

I really enjoyed reading this one. Though it gets off to a bit of slow start, I was soon embroiled in the intrigues and secrets of the characters. The narrative is set up a bit like a puzzle, switching point of views five times through the no
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Michele
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

This was so exciting to open my front door and find that I had been selected to pre-read this book. It was on my doorstep calling my name. This was a very good book, for the first time in a long time I actually looked forward to reading a book, rather than just filling time. I have read daily for over 20 years and rarely say a book is good. My husband will say "hows that book" and my answer is usually okay. This book I was able to tell
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Eadie
Book Description
Release date: May 25, 2010
At once a sensual and irresistible mystery and a haunting work of psychological insight and emotional depth, The Whole World marks the beginning of a brilliant literary career for Emily Winslow, a superb, limitlessly gifted author.

Set in the richly evoked pathways and environs of Cambridge, England, The Whole World unearths the desperate secrets kept by its many complex characters—students, professors, detectives, husbands, mothers—secrets that lead to e
...more
Poietes
I received this book as a give-away from Goodreads. I had wanted to read this book in particular because British mysteries are among my favorites.

This debut novel by Emily Winslow is purported to be similar to early Elizabeth George. Sorry to say I have to disagree. One of the stylistic elements that I most admire about George is her ability to weave her main plot and subplots remarkably well without losing any of the characters and all the while maintaining a keen sense of place. In The Whole W
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Lindsay Heller
I honestly don't know what to say about this book. It wasn't bad, per se, it's just that it wasn't that great. Some parts felt well written and carried a decent plot, and other parts seemed to meander all over the place with no real sense of what the hell. The multiple narrator trick is one that's used to death, and not particularly my favorite of narration tactics, but often gives the reader a full idea of an incident. I didn't feel like that was the case here. Clearly we're seeing what happene ...more
Lindsey
I received this book for free as a First Reader. This was actually my third First Read, and I have to admit that it was my favorite so far. I felt like it got off to a relatively slow start, but the action picked up quickly.

The story is told from the perspective of 5 different characters. I've seen this device used before, but I don't believe I've ever seen it used as well. It was not hard to follow the plot, though it proved very difficult to predict the end. I kept thinking that I knew exactl
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Gina
I am going to start off by saying that I didn't finish this book. I read almost 2/3rds of the way through and just wasn't interested. The book took a long time to get started and then never really went anywhere. I expected a murder mystery and the cover is so cool...but this book goes to show you that you can't judge a book by it's cover. It was really a mystery/psychological study...heavy on the study. The story is told from 5 different perspectives which got confusing. The plotline was falling ...more
Ella K
When a popular graduate student goes missing from Cambridge University, the students, professors, and police in his small slice of the world get swept up in the investigation.

Emily Winslow’s debut novel THE WHOLE WORLD features an intricately woven and psychologically wrenching puzzle-within-a-puzzle of as told through the eyes of five characters, each providing equal measures of insight and misguided assumption.

I found myself going through the first quarter of this book slowly, relishing the w
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Alexandrea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
PSmith
I didnot know it was a mystery novel when I started with the book. It turned out to be psychological study cum murder mystery rolled into one. This is my first book by this author and I enjoyed the slow to medium pace and the juggling between various characters. The end was a surprise. The gist of the story is such: two American girls, who meet in Cambridge, who are pursuing various courses, end up being friends. They are attracted towards an English student, Nick, the paradigm of all English vi ...more
Dee
I'm trying as hard as I can to be objective in this review, as I am a real-time friend of the author. (She's a lovely person, I can assure you!) So, I'll start with the lost star and establish my editorial integrity!

I do agree with some of the other reviewers that there is a plot twist regarding the disappearance that slightly strains the bonds of believeability.

This novel is very much a character study. In a very interesting way, the most significant clues in this unusual mystery are the actu
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Sharon
Won a copy of this on Goodreads Firstreads!

I was so excited to win this book and here I am reading it - on page 175 out of 292 and I'm still not all that interested. It's a bit confusing how the author jumps from one person to the other with no warning. I'll update more when I finish.

Well, I just realized that I wouldn't have been nearly as confused if I would've seen the changing of the characters name in the new "Parts". For example: Under Part 4, it says Gretchen - I didn't see this in the ea
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Mimi Cross
The title is one of the things I love about this book; it's evocative and makes a promise.
That promise is kept—the book delivers.

Emily Winslow has written a novel of suspense that includes a fabulous setting.
If you want to go to Cambridge, read this, you'll be there.

I got caught up in the story immediately, but it was the characters that made this book #unputdownable. I read it over a weekend.

As in any good story, all of the characters have unique voices, and Emily Winslow's characters have some
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Maria
This book provides an atypical mystery novel to add to my collection. There are several plot twists that I found compelling and unexpected and Winslow's technique of writing only once from each character's perspective was fresh and happily frustrating. This was not the novel I expected, but I was happily pleased. While the book has its flaws, I enjoyed the conversational tone and storytelling. I found Liv's character most interesting. While her actions were unexpected and seemed to come from now ...more
Alexandra
The Whole World was an interesting read. After having finished it, I'm not sure I really understood it though. There was a part in the book where I was like, Okay, I get it, I see where this is going. But no. Liv's character deeply disturbed me. But then pretty much all of the other characters disturbed me as well. Except for Morris. But I digress. Even though this book was a bit manic and crazy, I did appreciate the setting. Cambridge, England. Specifically Cambridge University and the surround ...more
Carla Buckley
This is Winslow’s debut novel, set in Oxford, England, about the mysterious disappearance of Nick, a graduate student, as told from the perspectives of five narrators whose stories are strung like gleaming beads on a chain. Winslow writes exquisitely and with great honesty, each character picking up the narrative and adding his or her own complex history so the result is a rich, multi-layered tale. The imagery is compelling: you can see the cascade of paper snowflakes, the shine of lights in the ...more
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Every minute is astonishing.Nick takes Polly to his office, they start kissing. Polly pushes Nick off Polly is sick then bolts from the office. Nick, Polly, Liv help blind professor Gretchen organising photographs of her mother. Gretchen's mother was a novelist.
Nick disappears. Policeman Morris questions Polly but the last time she see Nick was in his office two days ago.

The Whole World has lots of twist and turns. Full on family secrets, suspense and surprises. A masterful who done it. Emily Wi
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Karen
I liked the conceit of the Whole World: a story told from the perspective of five characters with intertwined lives in Cambridge, England, that illustrates how our view of the "whole world" varies depending on our focus, our perspective, things we experience.

The book deals with several events: two friends who like the same graduate student, his subsequent disappearance, and several murders. The writing is top-notch but the pacing is uneven -- a not unexpected result when five narratives are inv
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Emily Winslow is an American writer living in Cambridge, England. She's the author of THE WHOLE WORLD (Delacorte Press/Random House, 2010) and THE START OF EVERYTHING (Delacorte Press/Random House, January 2013). The UK editions of these books launch from Allison & Busby on June 24th.
More about Emily Winslow...
The Start of Everything

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