The Story of Arthur Truluv
By: Elizabeth Berg
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 11/21/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars Top Books of 2017 An emotionally powerful novel about three people who each lose the one they love most, only to find second chances where they least expect them. “Fans of Meg Wolitzer, Emma Straub, or [Elizabeth] Berg’s previous novels will appreciate the richly complex characters and clear prose. Redemptive without being maudlin, this story of two misfits lucky to have found one another will tug at readers’ heartstrings.”—Booklist
For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. Sometimes in the evening he’ll take a walk and stop to chat with his nosy neighbor, Lucille. It’s a quiet routine not entirely without its joys. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life.
Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who often comes to the cemetery to escape the other kids at school and a life of loss. She’s seen Arthur sitting there alone, and one afternoon she joins him—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio bands together, helping one another, through heartache and hardships, to rediscover their own potential to start anew.
Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.
Loved this book! Talented storyteller Elizabeth Berg returns following The Dream Lover and Make Someone Happy: Favorite Postings with one of her most charming books yet, THE STORY OF ARTHUR TRULUV. Emotional and powerful, mixed with humor – three unlikely souls with their own loss, find solace in one another in this heartwarming tale. Arthur Moses’ wife, Nola passed six months earlier. He has a routine. He tends to his cat Gordon, his rose garden, and takes the bus to the cemetery with his fold-up chair, to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. He is 85 years old. Lucille Howard is Arthur’s neighbor. A bit nosy; however, she loves to cook and makes sure Arthur has plenty to eat. She is in love with her high school sweetheart, Frank. She is 83 years old. (very funny) She is excited about her second chance until she receives devastating news. Maddy Harris is a troubled teen who sees Arthur at the cemetery. She has a strained relationship with her dad, bullied at school, a boyfriend who does not care about her, and a mother who died when she was but a baby. She is intrigued by Arthur and his relationship with his dead wife. She is 18 years old.
A little naive, she takes the bus to the cemetery. To be with people. She loves photography; however, feels isolated and soon finds herself pregnant. With no support from her own dad, she turns to Arthur for help. Her own mother was cremated and she wished her mom had been buried at the cemetery. She finds graveyards comforting. She feels her dad blames her for his wife’s death. She lived, and her mother did not. Maddy and Arthur strike up an unlikely friendship. Arthur is a self-less man and thinks of others. He listens and offers his time. He loves talking to his wife and keeping her updated with engaging stories. The teen soon names Arthur “Truluv” due to his devotion to his wife. Maddy soon finds herself pregnant and when everyone turns against turn, Arthur is there to assist. They soon become best friends and then Lucille becomes a part of the group and the three move in together. What they did not expect was to learn something about themselves in the process. A second chance at life. An unexpected friendship. Arthur soon finds he has a housekeeper and a cook. A lively and interesting home full of love and laughter. Elizabeth Berg has a remarkable and unique talent of peaking inside the lives and hearts of people and life. Her characters are real and authentic. You feel their emotions and they jump off the page. If you have read Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge and Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove, you will see a difference in the character, Arthur. Everyone loves Arthur. He is not grumpy and is self-less. We all would love to have an Arthur in our lives! Was reminded of the movie “Our Souls at Night”, starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. A widow and widower who've lived next to each other for years, who barely spoke; ultimately make a connection. (minus the sex) with Arthur and Lucille. A light-hearted, a deeply moving novel (with a powerful takeaway), Berg once again delivers a thought-provoking tale of the resilience of the human spirit in the midst of grief and loneliness. Proof people can bond, outside of family across generations. In our world of doom and gloom, it is pleasant to read such a charming book to lift your spirits. A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. #JDCMustReadBooks
A fabulous interview with the author! Samantha Nelson
. . ." Berg loved her latest work so much that she's already penned a sequel to it, "The Night of Miracles," which will be released next year. That book is set in the same small town and features many of the same characters."
"The times are so awful," Berg said. "Everybody's so anxious and depressed. Even though the book doesn't shy away from difficult things, in the end it's incredibly life affirming. That's the place I wanted to be — in an innocent town."
'This book means a lot to me': Oak Park author Elizabeth Berg says new novel is her favorite. Read More
“For several days after [finishing The Story of Arthur Truluv], I felt lifted by it, and I found myself telling friends, also feeling overwhelmed by 2017, about the book. Read this, I said, it will offer some balance to all that has happened, and it is a welcome reminder we’re all neighbors here.”
“Not since Paul Zindel’s classic The Pigman have we seen such a unique bond between people who might not look twice at each other in real life. This small, mighty novel offers proof that they should.”
—People, Book of the Week
“Charming . . . Truluv is a novel for these contentious times. We could all use a bit of Arthur’s ego-free understanding and forgiveness of fellow human beings. When the inevitable happens in this heartwarming novel, good luck convincing yourself that the lump in your throat is just a sympathy response to one of Gordon [the cat]’s hairballs.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with these lovable people in [Elizabeth] Berg’s world of unabashed optimism. Sometimes that’s just what’s needed.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Berg is always good, but this novel is so, so good. I could not put it down. It’s so beautiful about people and life.”
“The sweet, sentimental tale of an elderly man and a teenager coming into each other’s lives at just the right moment . . . In the vein of Fannie Flagg, this life-affirming story is a definite choice for Berg’s many fans and anyone looking for a little break from the darker novels that have been so popular lately.”
“Fans of Meg Wolitzer, Emma Straub, or [Elizabeth] Berg’s previous novels will appreciate the richly complex characters and clear prose. Redemptive without being maudlin, this story of two misfits lucky to have found one another will tug at readers’ heartstrings.”
“Elizabeth Berg’s characters jump right off the page and into your heart. I dare you to read this novel and not fall in love with Arthur Truluv. His story will make you laugh and cry, and will show you a love that never ends, and what it means to be truly human.”
—Fannie Flagg, author of The Whole Town’s Talking
“I don't know if I’ve ever read a more affecting book about the natural affinity between the young and the elderly than Elizabeth Berg’s The Story of Arthur Truluv. It makes the rest of us—strivers and preeners and malcontents—seem almost irrelevant.”
—Richard Russo, author of Everybody’s Fool
“Elizabeth Berg reminds us of both the richness of any human life and the heart’s needed resilience.”
—Jane Hirshfield, author of The Beauty: Poems
About the Author
Teresa Crawford Photo Credit
Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community.
She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy. She lives outside Chicago. Read More