Elizabeth Strout Reveals the Cover for Her New Novel "Oh William!": Exclusive

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Leigh Haber
·2 min read
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Photo credit: Leonardo Cendamo
Photo credit: Leonardo Cendamo


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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout, whose previous novel Olive, Again was a 2019 Oprah's Book Club selection, has a new book coming this fall.

In Oh William!, Strout revisits the protagonist she introduced to readers in 2016's My Name Is Lucy Barton, a novel which went on to become a Broadway play starring Laura Linney and directed by Richard Eyre. (It was originally produced and staged by the London Theater Company.)

Today, Oprah Daily is exclusively revealing the book's cover, which is an ode to the heroine's favorite flower, the tulip. The cover was conceived by Anna Kochman, a Brooklyn-based graphic designer.

Photo credit: Random House
Photo credit: Random House

Strout tells me that once she starts a book, she gets so into the process she usually has trouble remembering where the initial impulse for writing it came from, but in this case "when a college friend told me a story about things he found out for the first time about his family on an Ancestry.com-type website, something slowly began to form for me. So off I went," says Strout.

Oh William!, out October 19 via Random House, is narrated by Lucy, who recounts her complex, tender relationship with her first husband, recalling the couple's early years together--through college and the birth of their daughters—and then the painful dissolution of their marriage. They each rebuild their lives with new partners, but remain connected.

Through Lucy and William, Strout weaves an intimate portrait of a decades-long bond that is transformed by divorce, but not broken, and later must stand up to the discovery of secrets that rearrange everything they know about the people closest to them. In Lucy's own words: "This is the way of life. The many things we do not know until it is too late."

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