It's not often that a main character in a novel of general literary fiction dies in the first chapter, but that's exactly how Sally Koslow constructs The Widow Waltz. The story opens via the point of view of Ben Silver, a charming, middle-aged, seemingly successful Manhattan lawyer who goes for a run in Central Park only to suffer a massive heart attack. His sudden death comes as a complete shock to those who love him - most especially, his devoted wife, Georgia Waltz. What's even more troubling and upsetting is the news that he has left his well-to-do family practically insolvent. Financial ruin and debt now fall to his widow and their two adult daughters who had been living, thanks to Ben, an upscale, privileged existence. Ben's death might make him physically absent from the lives of his loved ones, but his presence becomes more palpable as the trio slowly begins to uncover reasons why the family's fortune might've evaporated. Was Ben the man they thought he was? Was he harboring secrets? As Georgia and the girls reinvent their lives by selling off assets and scrambling to find work to support themselves, unforeseen circumstances, people and impulses--some romantic--alter their plans in unpredictable ways.
Koslow (The Late, Lamented Molly Marx) is a skillful, meticulous writer attuned to the absurdities of life, death and the multi-generational bonds of family. Pitch-perfect details and alternating narrative voices allow her to fully explore the emotional intricacies of these richly woven characters in crisis.
Viking Adult, $27.95 Hardcover, 9780670025640, 352 pp
Publication Date: June 13, 2013
Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (6/25/13), click HERE