Modern Lit: The Whole World Over, by Julia Glass

4.0 out of 5 stars Greenie and friends

Julia Glass’s second novel has a little bit of a lot of things. Gay people, straight people, politicians, cooks, children, adults, animals, city, desert. Any one of her characters could serve as the focus of a novel, but here, the central ones are Greenie and Alan, who are having serious marital problems and, against Alan’s wishes, Greenie chooses to separate for a time, taking their obnoxiously precocious little boy with her. Shuttling between NYC and New Mexico, the action revolves around the decisions they make, but in my view, it’s the ancillary characters who generate the most human interest, especially Saga, Walter, and Fenno. Luckily, Glass is a competent writer whose prose is a pleasure to read, whose understanding of human foibles is deep. Otherwise, such a talky story, low on action and high on thoughts and feelings, might degenerate into tedium. That’s not the case, and I look forward to her next novel, in which I hope Saga and Walter play major roles.

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