(E-)Book Read! THE WORLD WITHOUT YOU by Joshua Henkin

Title: The World without YouThe World without You

Author: Joshua Henkin

Publication date: June 19, 2012

Original Language: English

Read in: English

Number of Pages: 336


Where From: NetGalley

Five stars

First sentence: “‘Here’, she says, ‘I’ll get you a sweater.'”

P. 99: “”She’s at one baseline with a bucket at her feet, and Clarissa, at the other baseline, also has a bucket.”

Last sentence: “Then he’s there, her husband, coming down the stairs, his shoes making their syncopated beat, and she’s looking up at him, anticipating his voice, waiting to see what comes next.'”

From Amazon: It’s July 4, 2005, and the Frankel family is descending upon their beloved summer home in the Berkshires. But this is no ordinary holiday. The family has gathered to memorialize Leo, the youngest of the four siblings, an intrepid journalist and adventurer who was killed on that day in 2004, while on assignment in Iraq.
The parents, Marilyn and David, are adrift in grief. Their forty-year marriage is falling apart. Clarissa, the eldest sibling and a former cello prodigy, has settled into an ambivalent domesticity and is struggling at age thirty-nine to become pregnant. Lily, a fiery-tempered lawyer and the family contrarian, is angry at everyone. And Noelle, whose teenage years were shadowed by promiscuity and school expulsions, has moved to Jerusalem and become a born-again Orthodox Jew. The last person to see Leo alive, Noelle has flown back for the memorial with her husband and four children, but she feels entirely out of place. And Thisbe —Leo’s widow and mother of their three-year-old son—has come from California bearing her own secret.
Set against the backdrop of Independence Day and the Iraq War, The World Without You is a novel about sibling rivalries and marital feuds, about volatile women and silent men, and, ultimately, about the true meaning of family

I loved this book from the first pages and I enjoyed it all the way through.  The Frankel family certainly has its problems, but everything is so recognizable and after a real short time it seems you know all these people well and you understand completely why they feel and act the way they do.  They are real persons and they all struggle with something, be it grieve, jealousy, guilt, a bad relation, money problems, …, or themselves. 

The book has no, what is generally called, good (or fairy) tale ending, and usually I don’t like this very much.  But the ending is hopeful and it is the right one for this book, because, hey, that’s life… When human issues are involved, there can be no conclusive endings, but when everyone tries his best, there will always be hope.

Some reviews: Our Books Are Better Than We Are, Publisher’s Weekly, Chazz W.

An interview with Joshua Henkin on VerbSap.



  1. The description of the book doesn’t appeal too much but I love your explanation of why you liked this book. That makes me think I might like it too.

    • When you like reading about relations between people and all the problems that come with human interaction, you have to read this book, Judith! I liked it a lot, although of course there are not really exciting things that happen. But the language was beautiful and the characters were well described.

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