The collection of stories in Michelle Latiolais’ Widow pull at a common thread – shading, sketching, and putting together a picture of what it is like to walk the Earth as a woman who has lost her husband. While none of these women carry any outward signs of trauma, the lens through which each of them sees the world has shifted, leaving each of them off-kilter. In many cases, the characters are left watching as life unfolds in slow motion before them, experiencing every excruciating detail with a painful clarity and the knowledge that this may not change.
Latiolais’ mastery of storytelling colors each story with a singular kind of grief, even as it offers playfulness, pain, humor, and history. The actions and thoughts of each character are imbued with meaning and weight beyond that of any casual activity. The reader is left with a sense that every choice the widows make has been somehow tagged by the death of her husband and is made in some effort to come to terms with this new view of the world.
The author walks the fine line between becoming morbid and being flippant amazingly well. Each story is told with a measure of respect and reverence, so as to engage the reader in the tale and draw out emotion without weighing so heavily that it is painful to read.
Widow is a book for anyone who has ever been in a loving relationship and felt the sting of separation. Above all, these are poignant stories of humanity, love, and life experience that ring true and leave the reader with a deeper understanding of love and loss.