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Jonathan Santlofer, "The Widower's Notebook" in conversation with Woodstock Booktalk's Martha Frankel

Written with unexpected humor and great warmth, The Widower’s Notebook is a portrait of a marriage, an account of the complexities of finding oneself single again after losing your spouse, and a story of the enduring power of familial love.

“This is deeply moving … beautifully written and modulated, with a dollop of droll, black humor. It is such an achievement, like running uphill against a strong wind.”–Joyce Carol Oates

On a summer day in New York Jonathan Santlofer discovers his wife, Joy, gasping for breath on their living room couch. After a frenzied 911 call, an ambulance race across Manhattan, and hours pacing in a hospital waiting room, a doctor finally delivers the fateful news. Consumed by grief, Jonathan desperately tries to pursue life as he always had–writing, social engagements, and working on his art–but finds it nearly impossible to admit his deep feelings of loss to anyone, not even his to beloved daughter, Doria, or to himself. 

As Jonathan grieves and heals, he tries to unravel what happened to Joy, a journey that will take him nearly two years.

Jonathan Santlofer is is a writer and artist. His debut novel, The Death Artist, was an international bestseller, translated into seventeen languages, and is currently in development for screen adaptation. His fourth novel, Anatomy of Fear, won the Nero Award for best novel of 2009. His short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. He is also the creator and editor of several anthologies including It Occurs to Me That I Am America, a collection of original stories and art. His paintings and drawings are included in many public and private collections. He lives in New York City.

Matha Frankel, executive director of Woodstock Bookfest, counts writing as the only real job she’s ever had, other than a brief stint as a clown at a gas station. However, she was so good at that, even her mother didn’t recognize her. Martha’s writing career started at the original Details magazine with her column on plastic surgery, called “Knifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” She went on to write book reviews, essays and celebrity profiles for other magazines, such as Movieline, Cosmopolitan and Redbook. Her memoir, Hats & Eyeglasses, chronicling her family’s lifelong love affair with gambling and her own later addiction to online gambling, was published in 2008 (Tarcher/Penguin Group). Martha has contributed essays to several anthologies, the latest being My Body, My Words,edited by Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman, Big Table Publishing, March 2018. She finds friendship and laughter in all sorts of places, including her radio show, Woodstock Booktalk, available online anytime, at Woodstock Booktalk. Also available on iTunes.


Event Date: 
Saturday, July 21, 2018 - 4:00pm
29 Tinker Street
Woodstock, NY 12498
The Widower's Notebook: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780143132493
Published: Penguin Books - July 10th, 2018