OVERRIDE

The Romantic

A Novel

Barbara Gowdy

Picador

A New York Times Notable Book

Louise Kirk learns about love and loss at an early age. When she is nine years old, her former beauty queen mother disappears, leaving a note that reads only—and incorrectly—"Louise knows how to work the washing machine." Soon after, the Richters and their adopted son, Abel, move in across the street. Louise's immediate devotion to the exotic, motherly Mrs. Richter is quickly transferred to her nature-loving, precociously intelligent son.

From this childhood friendship evolves a love that will bind Louise and Abel for the rest of their lives. Though Abel moves away, Louise's attachment becomes ever more fixed as she grows up. Separations are followed by reunions, but with every turn of their fractured relationship, Louise discovers that she cannot get Abel to love her as fiercely and exclusively as she loved him. Only when Louise comes face to face with another great loss is she finally forced to confront the costs of abandoning herself to another.

Skillfully interweaving the stories of Louise and Abel at different ages, Barbara Gowdy has produced a powerful exploration of the many incarnations of love: a motherless daughter who yearns to be adopted; a husband eternally linked to a wife who has left him; a girl bewitched by the peculiar boy next door; a woman who refuses to let go of a magnetic, elusive man. The Romantic is a story about love in all its exquisite variations.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Romantic

"[A] heartbreaking and compassionate novel...Gowdy is a miraculous writer. The pages of The Romantic brim over with so much real life they practically breathe."--Chicago Tribune

"Few writers are able to meld the serious and the comic to such poignant effect...a brilliant evocation."--The Boston Globe

"[A] masterful narration that moves seamlessly back and forth in time...clear-eyed."--Los Angeles Times

"I had to admire Gowdy's elegant structure.... Louise’s descriptions of her feelings for Abel are carefully constructed and, at times, flat-out beautiful.... [Gowdy] has found a perfect vehicle for her peculiar talents."--The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Barbara Gowdy

  • Barbara Gowdy is the author of five previous books, including The White Bone. Her fiction has been published in more than twenty countries. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
  • Barbara Gowdy Sigrid Estrada
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Romantic

A Novel

Barbara Gowdy

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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