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The Woman Who Wouldn't

Gene Wilder

St. Martin's Press

The beloved actor and screenwriter’s second novel, set in 1903, stars a young concert violinist named Jeremy Webb, who one day goes from accomplished adagios with the Cleveland Orchestra to having a complete breakdown on stage.  If he hadn’t poured a glass of water down the throat of a tuba, maybe he wouldn’t have been sent to a health resort in Badenweiler, Germany.  But it’s in that serene place that Jeremy meets Clara Mulpas, whom he tries his hardest to seduce. 

Clara is so beautiful that Jeremy finds it impossible to keep from trying to find a chink in her extraordinary reserve and elegance.  He finds himself reflexively flirting to get a reaction—after all, a tease and a wink have always worked before, with women back home.  But flirting probably isn’t the best way to appeal to a woman who was married to a dumb brute and doesn’t want to have anything more to do with men. Jeremy isn’t sure how to press his case—but he won’t give up.

Wilder’s prose is elegant, spare and affecting.  But it’s his romantic’s eye for the intense emotions that animate a real love story that makes The Woman Who Wouldn’t an unforgettable book.


BOOK EXCERPTS

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Chapter 1
It seems that the more unbelievable a story is, the more I’m able to believe it.
I’m thirty-three years old. In 1903 I had a nervous breakdown and was sent to a neuropsychiatric hospital wrapped in a straitjacket. How that came about is still hazy, but I’ll tell you what I remember.
I’m a concert violinist; at least I was before the breakdown. In May of 1903 I was in Cleveland, Ohio, playing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, when—right in the middle of the cadenza I had been working on for weeks—I suddenly put my violin down and
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Gene Wilder

  • Gene Wilder has been acting since he was thirteen and writing for the screen since the early 1970s.  His first book, about his own life, was Kiss Me Like A Stranger. His first novel, set in France in World War I, is My French Whore.  He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Karen.

  • Gene Wilder
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The Woman Who Wouldn't

Gene Wilder

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Press

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