The Obituary Writer by Porter Shreve

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Gordie Hatch is twenty-two, charmingly naive, and certain that his first job as a writer for the ST LOUIS INDEPENDENT'S obituary page will be a stepping stone to a crackerjack career in journalism. The year is 1989, and Gordie watches helplessly while dramatic events -- the very events that could be his lucky break -- unfold in the world around him. But nothing can prepare him for the call he gets from Alicia Whiting, a young widow with an accent he can't quite place. When Gordie agrees to meet Alicia, against his better judgment, his journalistic curiosity quickly turns into an obsessive search for the outrageous truth behind the Whiting family. Shot through with affectionate humor and surprising twists and turns, THE OBITUARY WRITER introduces an author of enormous talent and heart. Porter Shreve brings a deft touch to the moments that mark a young person's entrance into the world, and a sharp eye to the ways in which the lead story can be wonderfully, seductively misleading.

About Porter Shreve

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Porter Shreve was born during the Lyndon Johnson administration, grew up in Washington, D.C., and has attended three presidential inaugurations: Carter ’77, Clinton ’93, and Clinton ’97. In the 1970s his family started an alternative school called Our House Is a Very, Very, Very Fine House, and some of When the White House Was Ours is loosely based on that experience. Shreve’s first novel, The Obituary Writer, was a New York Times Notable Book, and his second, Drives Like a Dream, was a Chicago Tribune Book of the Year. He lives with his wife, the writer Bich Minh Nguyen, in Chicago and West Lafayette, Indiana, where he directs the creative writing program at Purdue University.
Published June 7, 2000 by Mariner Books. 228 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The widow, Alicia, wants a big spread, but when it becomes apparent that she wants much more, Gordie, after laying eyes on her, is only too happy to oblige.

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Publishers Weekly

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Balancing lies and reality is a complex pursuit in Shreve's first novel, a poignant coming-of-age story centering on an aspiring journalist, Gordon Hatch, eager to live up to the standard set by his l

Jun 05 2000 | Read Full Review of The Obituary Writer

Publishers Weekly

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Although the story raises compelling questions about honesty and friendship, Gordie's epiphanies lack power, often falling flat: when Gordie finally appreciates the loyalty and support of his mother and his former girlfriend, he says, ""It dawned on me that my mother and Thea were good, that they...

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