In Ken Levine’s third novel, The Widow Verses, we follow a younger Marian to far flung places like Lake Como and Mykonos as she falls in love. Later in life, we also journey with Marian to Seattle, the Berkshires, and Sanibel Island as she copes with the reverberations surrounding her husband’s death, the adjustment to dating after forty years of marriage, her unsettled daughter, declining mother, and a career and life having reached new and disorienting chapters. The novel is a meditation on love, loss, familial and marital strife, and the way we navigate our way after tragedy strikes. The story weaves back and forth from Marian’s life as a young woman to her brave new world as a widow with no handbook to guide her. She eventually meets Charles, a widowed wine importer, who is trying to find his way after his wife’s passing. Will they put their ghosts behind them or are they trapped too deep in the past?
From Kirkus Reviews
Levine shows a special talent for arranging a variety of nonsequential flashbacks from different times and places in a way that really strengthens the carefully told tale and characterizations. Marian is an utterly impassive character, and the attempt at seeking out the deep emotional connections she has to her family can make for absorbing reading. Written with a heavy dose of Midwestern realness, New York discernment, and a bit of European culture, Marian’s story is at once literary, succinct, and at times surprisingly touching.