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The Obituary Writer

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  11,731 Ratings  ·  1,722 Reviews
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 Gr
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 7th 2013 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 2013)
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Lisa I bet the jacket was written by someone at the publishing company who only had pieces of information about the book which is why they put Jackie O.…moreI bet the jacket was written by someone at the publishing company who only had pieces of information about the book which is why they put Jackie O. The actual book never makes the mistake. Great example of "Don't judge a book by its cover." :)(less)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Rating = 3.5 stars

Warning: Prescription credulity goggles may be required.
This is one of the most predictable novels I've ever read, and I do mean eye-rollingly predictable. So much so that I'm not even going to discuss plot and characters. Whatever is in the promotional blurb is all you need to know. But it was enjoyable, nonetheless. It moves swiftly enough that I finished it in less than 24 hours. I think many female readers will appreciate it for light reading that's not quite chick lit and
There are two stories told which later become connected. Viviene the obit writer is in San Francisco and trying to find her lover still many years after the 1906 earthquake when he went missing. She has stumbled into the job of writing obits, making it an art. Such caring, lovely ... obituaries she'd written, all of them trying to capture grief, to show the world what had been lost. ... something you don't see much these days when reading obits. In writing, she dealt with her own grief, never k ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Alternating storylines between Vivian in 1919- who writes touching obituaries and Claire in 1961 who is fascinated with JFK and Jackie O. Earthquakes, lost loves, affairs, and tragedy make up this novel. I found the book interesting, but not overly memorable. Certain passages stood out and others sunk into the periphery. I found both female characters slightly weak and attribute this to the time period. It infuriated me that they stayed in unhappy relationships longing for someone/something more ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book/Bad book: "The Obituary Writer," by Ann Hood. Hood is one of my favorite writers, and has been for decades. A few years ago she lost her beautiful 5 yr. old daughter to a sudden & fierce virus or infection. Since them, her work has reflected loss, mourning and grief....themes of death. I loved "The Red Thread," about the adoption of little girls from China. Clearly I am biased in that regard, with my own 2 Chinese daughters. I can't rave about "The Obituary Writer," the way I did a ...more
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
I wanted to like this better, but I just couldn't bring myself to care about either Vivien--a woman whose life essentially stopped in 1906 when her married lover disappeared during an earthquake--and Claire, a bland 1960s suburban housewife who inexplicably has an affair. Both women, in fact, seemed oddly passionless and utterly conventional, yet they dropped trou for total strangers without a care in the world. Claire's big thing with Miles was that he listened to her but I never heard her thin ...more
Larry H
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1960, Claire is the perfect suburban housewife—she knows how to have the perfect drink ready for her husband when he comes home from work, she is up on her current events, caters to her husband's every need, and she realizes how lucky she is to have married a true provider, ensuring a good future for her family. But a crisis in their neighborhood leaves Claire out-of-sorts, and leads her into the arms of another man. As the world readies for John F. Kennedy's inauguration as president, she fi ...more
This was an enjoyable read as it followed the story of two women, Vivienne and Claire, one in 1919 and one in 1961. Both women struggled with a lost love which seemed to define who they were, or at least how they saw themselves and lived their lives.

I found it interesting that of the two women it was Vivienne in the early 1900's era who was the more "modern woman" to me. She had a "lover" and lived her life as a single independent women who did not seem to care what others thought. Her story w
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First timer reading Ann Hood. I will definitely check out a few of her other books.

What's It About:

Two women separated by decades find their stories are more closely aligned than either could possibly realize.
1919:Vivien Lowe is a sought after obituary writer. She is mourning the loss of her lover in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. She refuses to believe he is dead and clings to hope there will be a reunion between the two. Her friend, Lottie, worries about Vivien's future and there is a
Beth Van Fossen
I REALLY wanted to love this book and there were moments when I did; Ann Hood's writing is gorgeous in places. But the plot was very thin and the book felt stretched to make it almost 300 pages - the books itself is small and there is a lot of white space on each page. I'm not sure how old Ms. Hood is but she clearly wasn't comfortable with the 1960's era, she spent so much time describing things in Claire's home (the artwork, the wallpaper, etc.) and other things from the contemporary culture, ...more
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This is a very beautifully written book about Claire in 1961 struggling with having an affair and not really loving her husband, and being pregnant with possibly her lover's baby. And Vivien around 1914 who writes obituaries for people and is struggling with not knowing what happened to her lover David in the earthquake. This book covers so many different emotions and pulls the reader into both women's lives.

I listened to this as an audiobook and when the book switched between the two women it w
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Play Book Tag: The Obituary Writer - Ann Hood - 2 stars 2 14 Aug 05, 2016 08:35AM  
Ellet Branch Libr...: Opening Thoughts 2 16 Oct 07, 2015 10:38AM  
The quote for your obit 3 30 Sep 01, 2014 03:41PM  
What did Claire decide to do? 7 93 Sep 01, 2014 03:37PM  
Hamburg Book Club: The Larkin Square Author Series 4 20 Feb 19, 2014 07:01AM  
Goodreads Choice ...: Audible Deal of the Day 9 58 Nov 19, 2013 08:26PM  
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Ann Hood is the editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting and the bestselling author of The Book That Matters Most, The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, Comfort, and An Italian Wife, among other works. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, a Best American Food Writing Award, a Best American Travel Writing Award, and the Paul Bowles Prize for Shor ...more
More about Ann Hood...
“She understood that grief is not neat and orderly; it does not follow any rules. Time does not heal it. Rather time insists on passing and as it does, grief changes but does not go away.” 14 likes
“This was how to help a family who has just lost their child. Wash the clothes, make soup. Don't ask them what they need, bring them what they need. Keep them warm. Listen to them rant, and cry, and tell their story over and over.” 11 likes
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