Whole World Over (Glass)

Book Reviews
Dejected, depressed...I'd just finished a number of books by well-known authors but couldn't recommend any of them. Then I picked up this beautiful book. Glass weaves her characters' lives together—deftly, without being overly manipulative or controlling. Her characters' stories are beautifully rendered....
A LitLovers Pick (Oct. '07)

Glass is too capable to need recipes and four-legged friends to make her fiction a pleasure. It's a tribute to this unassuming but conspicuously talented novelist that even with far too many of them, The Whole World Over so often manages to sing.
Lorraine Adams - The New York Times

Greenie Duquette loves her cozy life in the West Village, her work as a pastry chef, and her precocious young son. But she is fed up with her husband, Alan, an underemployed psychotherapist whose once passionate beliefs are ossifying into reflexive bitterness. When, in early 2000, the brash Republican governor of New Mexico offers her a lucrative job, she jumps at it; Alan is free to follow her if he chooses. In Glass’s sprawling follow-up to her award-winning novel Three Junes, a dozen or so characters are plunged into the tumultuous dissatisfactions and challenges of middle age, their paths crossing and recrossing with a pleasing mixture of chance and inevitability. Glass is fascinated by the ways people gamble both with and for their happiness, but her characters are a little too decent, generous, and forgiving. Even as we watch their dramas unfold in the shadow of 9/11, the potential horror of irrevocable choices eludes us.
The New Yorker

(Starred review.) In her second rich, subtle novel, Glass reveals how the past impinges on the present, and how small incidents of fate and chance determine the future. Greenie Duquette has a small bakery in Manhattan's West Village that supplies pastries to restaurants, including that of her genial gay friend Walter. When Walter recommends Greenie to the governor of New Mexico, she seizes the chance to become the Southwesterner's pastry chef and to take a break from her marriage to Alan Glazier, a psychiatrist with hidden issues. Taking their four-year-old son, George, with her, Greenie leaves for New Mexico, while figures from her and Alan's pasts challenge their already strained marriage. Their lives intersect with those of such fully dimensional secondary characters as Fenno McLeod, the gay bookseller from Three Junes; Saga, a 30-something woman who lost her memory in an accident; and Saga's Uncle Marsden, a Yale ecologist who takes care of her. While this work is less emotionally gripping than Three Junes, Glass brings the same assured narrative drive and engaging prose to this exploration of the quest for love and its tests—absence, doubt, infidelity, guilt and loss.
Publishers Weekly

How does one follow up a National Book Award? Glass (Three Junes) creates an array of full-bodied yet vulnerable characters whose intersecting lives converge on September 11. Greenie Duquette owns a patisserie in a basement space in Manhattan. Her husband, Alan Glazier, is a psychotherapist with a dwindling practice. Restaurateur Walter recommends Greenie to the governor of New Mexico, who is looking for a chef. Walter has the hots for lawyer Gordie, whose longtime partner, Stephen, suddenly wants a baby. The men take their troubles to Alan, now alone at home while Greenie (really Charlotte) moves their five-year-old son, George, to the wilds of Santa Fe. Saga works for an animal rescue group and suffers from memory loss following an accident; she persuades Alan to adopt a puppy. And bookstore owner Fenno returns from Junes as a foundational piece of this intriguing tapestry. As a poster in Fenno's shop declares about birds, they "fly the whole world over" but always find their way back home." Glass's long but always captivating tale is a quilt of many colors and motivations whose strongest threads are love of family and sense of self. Highly recommended for all libraries. —Bette-Lee Fox
Library Journal

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