The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

13707579The Obituary Writer seemed like a good summertime read. I hadn’t really seen a bad review for it so I added it to my library holds list in eager anticipation.

Ann Hood follows a somewhat overused narrative format – a dual narrative following a woman in the past and a woman in present day. Vivien is our heroine of yesteryear. She’s an obituary writer and still struggling with the loss of her lover during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. She’s convinced he’s still alive. Claire is our modern mother – a suburbanite feeling stifled by the conformity expected of her during the turbulent 1960s.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this book and a very pleasant read. I preferred Vivien’s timeline simply because she was the more interesting character, in my opinion. But Claire is worthy of her own story. I flew through this novel in a couple of days over a recent weekend and really had no complaints. However, I don’t have too much to say in its favor either. Before starting this review, I had to go jog my memory of the plot and character names. So this isn’t something meant to blow your mind, just to give you a brief moment of literary entertainment. I would say it’s a step above what most people term ‘chick-lit’.

Goodness. That whole last paragraph sounded a bit negative, huh? I really didn’t mean it that way as I did enjoy my time with The Obituary Writer. At the end of the day, though, I’m glad I borrowed from my library as I’ll likely never revisit this one again. If you need something suitable for vacation or just looking for a lighter reading moment, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this one! Plus, the cover is pretty.

Do you like dual narratives or do you think they are way overdone at the moment?

14 thoughts on “The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

  1. I agree that dual narratives are over-done but on the whole I like them as a device. The Sandalwood Tree is an example of a very good dual narrative book.
    I think this book sounds like a Sunday afternoon kind of book.

  2. I love duel narratives, but completely agree that they are quite the flavour of the month and thus a little recycled. Shame this book didn’t wow you, but glad it wasn’t a struggle and was enjoyable at the same time.

  3. I’ve actually only recently started reading dual narrative books, so I’m still excited about them. However, it sounds like there might be some out there that are better done than this one, so I’ll probably give it a pass 🙂

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