Troy’s Book Club: The Obituary Writer

This short novel by Porter Shreve…I wasn’t sure what to make of it through most of the book.

It’s the story of a obituary writer in St. Louis who aspires to the heights climbed by his deceased father, a well-known reporter. This writer meets a woman 10-years his senior, recently widowed and begins a relationship with her. At that point, that seemed to be the direction of the story’s arc…quirky, ambitious obit writer woos widow and together they raise her dead husband’s Irish wolfhounds…but then it got strange and even a little worrisome…the characters’ lies started to pile, their motivations became questionable…and then it became a rather satisfying modern noir.

We learn that everyone, even those with the best intentions, have secrets. We learn that when we fall in love, we may have no idea of the edge we’ve just leapt from. Two-thirds of the way through this book, I wasn’t unhappy with it, but I wasn’t thrilled either. By the final page, I was very satisfied.

You can find The Obituary Writer at Boswell Books or at the Milwaukee Public Library.

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