Wish You Were Here by Stewart O'Nan

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Award-winning writer Stewart O'Nan has been acclaimed by critics as one of the most accomplished novelists writing today. Now comes his finest and most complete novel to date. A year after the death of her husband, Henry, Emily Maxwell gathers her family by Lake Chautauqua in western New York for what will be a last vacation at their summer cottage. Joining is her sister-in-law, who silently mourns the sale of the lake house, and a long-lost love. Emily's firebrand daughter, a recovering alcoholic recently separated from her husband, brings her children from Detroit. Emily's son, who has quit his job and mortgaged his future to pursue his art, comes accompanied by his children and his wife, who is secretly heartened to be visiting the house for the last time. Memories of past summers resurface, old rivalries flare up, and love is rekindled and born anew, resulting in a timeless novel drawn, as the best writing often is, from the ebbs and flow of daily life.

About Stewart O'Nan

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STEWART O'NAN is the author of twelve previous novels, including Songs for the Missing, A Prayer for the Dying, and Snow Angels. In Faithful, he and Stephen King chronicled the 2004 Boston Red Sox. He was born, raised, and lives in Pittsburgh with his family.
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press. 530 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Wish You Were Here

Kirkus Reviews

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O'Nan's exceedingly low-key seventh novel (after Everyday People, 2001, etc.) depicts a family's final week in the summer cottage its widowed matriarch has just sold.

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here


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Stewart O'Nan's moodily comic novel Emily, Alone follows an 80-year-old woman as she navigates the minutia of everyday life. O'Nan explains how he got inside Emily's head — and why he wanted to write about the daily indignities of getting older.

May 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

Star Tribune

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It's hard to think of an American novelist as restlessly productive as Stewart O'Nan.

Jun 08 2002 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

Book Reporter

It is a year since the death of Henry Maxwell, the family patriarch, and Emily, his widow, has gathered the family to divvy up the household belongings before selling the beloved summer retreat.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

Entertainment Weekly

Cramming every theme of the domestic-realist novel into one week in the life of one family, O'Nan imagines the middle-class Maxwells convening for One Last Get-Together at the Old Summer House.

May 24 2002 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

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