A newly-widowed woman has done a runner. She just jumped in her car, abandoned her very nice house in north London and kept on driving until she reached the Norfolk coast. Now she's rented a tiny cottage and holed herself away there, if only to escape the ceaseless sympathy and insincere concern. She's not quite sure, but thinks she may be having a bit of a breakdown. Or A newly-widowed woman has done a runner. Or perhaps this sense of dislocation is perfectly normal in the circumstances.
All she knows is that she can't sleep and may be drinking a little more than she ought to. But as her story unfolds we discover that her marriage was far from perfect. That it was, in fact, full of frustration and disappointment, as well as one or two significant secrets, and that by running away to this particular village she might actually be making her own personal pilgrimage.
By turns elegiac and highly comical, The Widow's Tale conjures up this most defiantly unapologetic of narrators as she begins to pick over the wreckage of her life and decide what has real value and what she should leave behind. Paperback , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Widow's Tale , please sign up. Lists with This Book.
Dec 15, Cheryl rated it it was amazing Shelves: Even though I'm not much like this woman, her thoughts resonate with me. Even though not much happens in the book, and we never learn details of what has happened in the past, a reader can be moved by her experiences. I will read more by the author, and, since I had to buy this as none of my libraries did, I'm gonna keep it.
It may not have universal appeal or be one the top boo Even though I'm not much like this woman, her thoughts resonate with me. It may not have universal appeal or be one the top books ever in history, but it's much better than most of my 4-star reads.
The Widow's Tale
Dec 20, Beejay rated it it was amazing Shelves: Now, I have first to tell you that I have a little problem with this book, and that problem is that we are to believe that it was written by a member of the male species. You see, the author is given as one Mick Jackson. Mick is the guy you have a pint with at the pub while the wife cooks the Sunday roast. How is it, then, that this same person can write a book which so beautifully, lucidly and intimately conveys the emotions of a woman? I am in awe. No, seriously, I am in awe. I read this book, and I took the book into my head and I took its widow into my heart.
You know I said that I was going to post my thoughts on two books today. My mate Mick has given me a friend for life. I feel that I know this woman. I can relate to her on so many levels. I know exactly what she was feeling at certain times, such as wanting to yell at inappropriate moments, to sway between the hypers and hypos without any necessity for that boring old diagnosis of bi-polarism. I want to sit down and get drunk with her. But there I have a problem also. Who is she, this new friend of mine? I have to tell you, some of her thoughts are just wonderful, as deep as if she had spent six months in a cave with a long-haired unwashed monk and found enlightenment, while at other times she is just hilarious.
I like her both ways. I just want to share a few little examples with you here. Now, as is obvious from the title, and from the blurb from Faber and Faber, the book is about a woman who is recently widowed. Here she is contemplating death: The death arrives, all done and dusted. And, frankly, how you deal with it is neither here nor there.
No higher court to whom you can appeal. Just pinched and scrawny.
Consider the following, which comes when she is checking out — for the first time in her life — the Lonely Hearts column in the newspaper: Sadly, in such exotic company, the few women who try to maintain a little dignity come across as simply frumpy. I'm afraid I had no sympathy or empathy with the narrator we never know her name of this book, the widow. Once there we endure page after page of random vignettes of things, almost none of which are to do with bereavement. The whole book is a relentless monologue of her views on many different things.
There is al Oh dear. There is almost no plot to speak of, and almost no other characters. I also became highly irritated by the author's writing style which used the word 'some' in almost every paragraph and page. Every little snippet was written along the lines of 'some woman I saw on a bus in some town', which gave the whole thing an un-specific quality, and a lack of any real feeling to it.
For example, in one random paragraph I've just found, there were four 'some' along with someone and somewhere. In only 11 lines. It feels like the author had collected a whole file of little conversations overhead, views on things, little snippets of this and that, and put them all together in one book, but with no real purpose or plot.
Maybe I missed the deeper meanings. Dec 05, Sofia Hallay rated it it was ok Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Quite honestly I found the book simply boring. It's about a 63 year old woman, recently widowed, struggling through the first months of bereavement. She runs off to Norfolk, where she rents a little cottage and around the end of her stay, stalks a man she thinks is her ex lover. But the stalking begins in the last 50 pages of the book or so, and it is nothing adventurous really. The first pages are basically her doing everyday things, from going to a walk to going to the supermarket; obsessi Quite honestly I found the book simply boring.
The first pages are basically her doing everyday things, from going to a walk to going to the supermarket; obsessing about small boring things; and the occasional thinking back, her memories being the only parts that I found moderately interesting. Jul 09, Anne rated it really liked it. I don't quite know the best way to put it, but this novel was very human.
It's a woman's tale of the time she spent away from home a few months after her husband died. It's honest, touching, sad, and One of the things that I love the most about it is that there are no knights in shining armour, best chums who lift you out of the muck, or kindly strangers who offer life changing words of wisdom. It's just a woman working things out or, making things worse and trying to find I don't quite know the best way to put it, but this novel was very human. It's just a woman working things out or, making things worse and trying to find some equilibrium after her husband does.
Nov 02, Sandra Barnard rated it it was ok. Sadly this woman really irritated me. Talk about first world angst!. She had a kind and loving husband and an easy life, with a big house in London and a house in France. She has a fling with a much younger man whom she becomes obsessed about. When her husband dies, she appears to wallow in abject self pity, and sets out to stalk her previous lover, rather than actually grieving her dear departed.
She is utterly self obsessed and selfish. Go have another Sadly this woman really irritated me. Mar 16, Anna rated it really liked it. For a tale ostensibly about grieving, solitude and brushes with a breakdown, this is bizarrely enjoyable. The credit for this belongs to the voice of the narrator, a slightly caustic, eccentric woman in her early sixties.
It's three months after the death of her husband John and she has surprised herself by fleeing on impulse to a lonely stretch of the coast, where she drinks heavily, goes on long walks and struggles both to sleep and to shut off her whirling brain. Her behaviour is erratic and For a tale ostensibly about grieving, solitude and brushes with a breakdown, this is bizarrely enjoyable. Her behaviour is erratic and frequently undignified, but she's past caring, and even derives a blackly humorous, absurdist kind of glee from picturing herself as she must appear to others.
She observes her own neuroses and risky impulses with a curiosity and self-deprecation that, oddly enough, is extremely funny. Her imagination is dark and quick-leaping, and her tongue whetted sharp. Despite how very adrift the widow is, she hasn't sunk and nor will she. Jackson weaves the themes of pilgrimage, penance and retreat into his depiction of bereavement in such a way that we come to understand this strange sabbatical in the widow's life, her 'dark night of the soul', to be a step on her path back to the world.
Aug 21, Ali rated it really liked it. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I had expected it to be more sombre in tone, or a little depressing and so was pleasently surprised by the wit of our caustic, nameless widow. This strong no nonsense narrative voice made me sit up for the first twenty pages or so - as it was so not what I was expecting, yet our narrator emerges as as strong quirky character, who I found brilliantly realisitic and often very funny.
Having lost her husband around 3 months earlier she is somewhat lost, drinking too I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Having lost her husband around 3 months earlier she is somewhat lost, drinking too much, and irritated by well meaning friends. In this mood she fleas to north Norfolk, where she takes a tiny cottage, and walks on the saltmarshes, buys a tiny second hand car, and obsesses over a book of Holbein prints.
Reflecting back over her life as a wife, and even before that as a young girl, we get to know this interesting complex woman as she starts to make some sense of her life, and understand things about herself and her marriage. We come to see why that part of Norfolk has drawn her back, and how it helps to set her on a straighter path.
The Pearce Sisters
There is a lot of poignancy in this novel, a good deal about loss and grief, helped along by some really good writing. Jun 02, Michelle Nause rated it it was ok. This book was just okay. We'd love you to buy this book, and hope you find this page convenient in locating a place of purchase.
The Widow's Tale by Mick Jackson | Book review | Books | The Guardian
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The Widow's Tale by Mick Jackson
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