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Where Or When


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Reissue -- with a stunning new cover -- of Anita Shreve's third novel, a powerful study of erotic love and betrayal.

About the Author

Formerly a journalist (Newsweek, US magazine) and non-fiction writer, Anita Shreve's first novel EDEN CLOSE, published in 1990, introduced a distinctively individual voice to literary fiction. She is the author of ten other bestselling novels, all available from Little, Brown and Abacus.


The author of the well-received Eden Close and Strange Fits of Passion exhibits an enhanced mastery of her craft in this potent tale of middle-aged passion. An affecting novel that will probably attract readers of The Bridges of Madison County , it offers the further rewards of psychologically nuanced characterizations and a thoughtful exploration of the relationship between sexuality and time. When 44-year-old real estate insurance salesman Charles Callahan sees a photograph of poet Sian Richards, he recognizes her as the young woman he met three decades earlier at a Catholic camp for teenagers. Impulsively, he writes Sian, and sets in motion the love affair they were destined to have. Though both are married and have children, each is unfulfilled, craving true partnership. Parallels between their lives are evident but not forced: Charles's Rhode Island fishing community is suffering badly from the recession, and he is about to lose his office building and his home; Sian's husband cannot scratch a living from their Pennsylvania onion farm. Charles attended a seminary for two years; Sian considered taking orders. Significantly, though each has fallen away from the Church, they still think and speak in religious imagery: Charles calls himself ``an insurer of life, a kind of secular priest,'' and such terms as venial sins, sacrilege, epiphany, state of grace, guilt and absolution come naturally to both of them. Shreve makes the vortex of their obsession entirely believable, controlling the narrative with authority and restraint. The haunting song of the title provides a leitmotif for a lyrical and increasingly suspenseful narrative told in clear and evocative prose. Author tour. (June)

'Anita Shreve has a knack for wry observation and for capturing the agony of emotion' DAILY TELEGRAPH; 'Shreve handles her characters with a great deal of compassion, and the ending is genuinely moving' SUNDAY TIMES; 'Offers the reader all the eroticism of a D. H. Lawrence novel. WHERE OR WHEN is more than just an exquisitely written novel. It is also a gripping yarn' NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

Sian Richards and Charles Callahan met 31 years ago at camp and had a summer romance. Charles sees Sian's picture in a newspaper advertising her new book. He is in a loveless marriage and is facing the failure of his business. Charles writes to Sian and discovers that she is in a similar situation. They decide to meet and-despite grave misgivings-soon have an affair. Predictably, the affair brings destruction instead of happiness to our lovers. The first half of this audiobook, which features the pair's correspondence, makes for great listening. However, the narrative becomes confusing shortly after the two meet: the listener must keep track of numerous conversations, letters, and remembrances about camp. Gregory Harrison and Judith Ivey alternate as narrators as the action shifts from Charles's perspective to Sian's. Both readers give creditable performances. Recommended for large audio collections or wherever Shreve is popular.-Danna C. Bell-Russel, Dist. of Columbia P.L.

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