Oh William!, by Elizabeth Strout

3 December 2021

Oh William!, by Elizabeth Strout, book cover

Even though their marriage ended many years ago, Lucy and William have largely remained close. Both remarried, although Lucy’s second husband died, while William, together with two children by Lucy, became father to another daughter, with his third wife. But after learning something he didn’t previously know about his mother, a disturbed William asks for Lucy’s help in finding out more about his mother’s past.

But as they travel away together, it seems it is Lucy who is on the journey of discovery. She finds herself pondering her marriage to William, and what drew them together in the first place, from their time at university. But far from simply being a story about family secrets, Oh William! is a meditation on life, the relationships that come and go, and the connections with the people around us.

Perhaps though it is life that is the mystery, rather than the sometimes unfathomable actions of loved ones. We’re left wondering how well we know those we think we’re close to, when perhaps the more pertinent question is how well we know ourselves. Oh William! (published by Viking/Penguin Books Australia, October 2021), is the ninth book by American author Elizabeth Strout, and the third in a series of novels that centres on Lucy.


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