The Widower’s Notebook

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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 enduring love.

“Deeply moving . . . beautifully written . . . It is such an achievement, like running uphill against a strong wind.”
—Joyce Carol Oates

“The Widower’s Notebook is a searing rendition of the complex relationship between men and grief—an intense despair that is too often starved for words. This chronicle of devastation is itself devastating, a deeply powerful and unflinchingly honest report of how painfully and strangely life continues in the wake of a sudden, tragic death.”
—Andrew Solomon, bestselling author of Far From the Tree

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Praise for The Widower's Notebook

“…a quiet stunner of a memoir… the book never loses momentum, thanks in large part to his vivid writing… This is a tender, moving, and resonant account of how life continues whether one wants it to or not.”
–Publisher’s Weekly Best Books


"His words carry with them the solemnity of death, love, and longing and a tinge of anger as he wrestles with the facts and struggles to determine what went wrong on that fateful day. Santlofer offers a man’s perspective on emotional topics, of feeling inadequate on multiple levels, of wanting to have been a better husband and his desire to be a better father to their only daughter."
-Kirkus Reviews

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Art of The Widower's Notebook

After my wife, Joy’s, sudden death I hid all of the photographs – it was too painful for me to have them around, particularly to come upon them unexpectedly. I needed to be prepared, in control, and drawing provided that. I started drawing a few weeks after Joy’s death. It was a way to stay close but have distance at the same time. I made lots of drawings, not all of them in the book (my publisher and I chose about a dozen for inclusion), and not all of them are here. Some were very quick sketches, others very complete in my typical trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) style where I have drawn in tape and tears to make the drawings look “real.” There is a chapter in the book about drawing, how I started, and how it helped me move forward.

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Events and Appearances

Event Time Place Link
Jonathan Santlofer, Dani Shapiro and Neal Thompson Thursday May 16, 2019 6:30 pm Yaddo Variations - Evening of Memoir New York, NY more info
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with Joyce Carol Oates Saturday March 23, 2019 6:30 pm Montclair Literary Festival The Sanctuary at First Congregational Church, Montclair, NJ more info
Jonathan Santlofer Reading / Q&A / Signing Monday December 10, 2018 6:30 pm BAYPORT, BLUEPOINT LIBRARY 203 Bluepoint Ave. Bluepoint, NY more info
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with Book Reporter's Carol Fitzgerald Tuesday, November 13, 2018 7:30 pm WORDS BOOKSTORE 179 Maplewood Ave. Maplewood, NJ more info
Writers Speak Southhampton Wednesday November 7, 2018 7:00 pm STONY BROOK SOUTHAMPTON Chancellor Hall, Southhampton, NY more info
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with Rachel Shteir Thursday October 18, 2018 6:30 to 8:30pm The American Museum of Writers Readers Hall, 180 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601 more info
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with Beverly Donofrio Sunday September 30, 2018 5:00pm NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE 424 Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 more info
Albany Book Festival Saturday September 29, 2018 1:00 pm University at Albany - SUNY 1400 Washington Avenue Albany, NY 12222 more info
"Writing the Personal" with Jonathan Santlofer, Neal Thompson and Wendy C. Ortiz Wednesday September 26, 2018 7:00 pm HUGO HOUSE 1021 Columbia St. Seattle, WA 98104 more info
Jonathan Santlofer Reading / Q&A / Signing Monday September 24, 2018 7:00 pm CHANGING HANDS BOOKSTORE 300 West Camelback Road Phoenix, AZ 85013 more info
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with Susan Steinberg and poet Forrest Gander Thursday September 20, 2018 7:00 pm CITY LIGHTS BOOKSELLERS 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133 more info
Brooklyn Book Festival "Writing After Loss" Jonathan Santlofer Megan O'Rouke and Joyce Carol Oates Sunday September 16, 2018 12:00 pm BROOKLYN BOOK FEST Borough Hall Courtroom, 209 Joralemon Street Brooklyn, NY more info
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with Richard Russo Wednesday August 22, 2018 7:00 pm PRINT: A BOOKSTORE 273 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101 more info
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with Joyce Carol Oates Sunday August 5, 2018 Noon BOOK HAMPTON 41 Main St, East Hampton, NY 11937 more info
Jonathan Santlofer Reading / Q&A / Signing Wednesday July 25, 2018 6:00 pm MALAPROPS 55 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801 more info
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with Joan Wickersham Monday July 23, 2018 7:00 pm HARVARD BOOKSTORE 1256 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02138 more info 
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with radio host Martha Frankel Saturday July 21, 2018 4:00 pm The Golden Notebook Bookstore 29 Tinker St, Woodstock, NY  12498 more info
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with Sarah Weinman Wednesday July 18, 2018 7:00 pm MCNALLY JACKSON 52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012 more info
Jonathan Santlofer in conversation with Joyce Carol Oates Wednesday July 11, 2018 7:00 pm 92ND STREET Y 1395 Lexington Avenue@92nd St. New York, NY 10128 more info

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