***1/2 The Whole World Over By Julia Glass Six--or fewer--degrees of separation.
In New York's West Village, characters cross paths as they search for love and belonging. Greenie Duquette, who owns a small bakery, delivers pastries to her gay friend Walter's restaurant. Walter, embroiled in a confusing affair, helps Greenie's pastries catch the eye of Ray McCrae, governor of New Mexico. Greenie soon leaves Alan, her flailing therapist husband, behind, and with her young son in tow, she starts to concoct her mouthwatering cakes at the governor's mansion in Santa Fe. Back in New York, Saga, a young woman recovering from an accident, finds solace in an animal rescue group, while Alan grapples with life sans Greenie. All the while, 9/11 looms ahead.
Pantheon. 528 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 0375422749
Los Angeles Times ****
"Rather amazingly, Glass manages to avoid the maudlin in her book's last 70 pages and generally be true to that fateful Tuesday in an atmospheric sense--downtown, at least.... The Whole World Over is a generous, tentacled, ensemble novel--Glass prefers a wide lens when she works, deploying many characters, and she sacrifices some depth for range (out of necessity)." ART WINSLOW
"The same concerns come up again and again among the various characters; everyone is looking for their place in the world, and looking for the people they want to share it with them.... I foresee discussions in book groups and on blogs as readers try to decide if they think Glass's use of Sept. 11 is moving and illuminating or slightly discomfiting, and I'm looking forward to being part of those discussions." LAURIE MUCHNICK
Boston Globe ***1/2
"While the novel lacks the depth or emotional resonance of Three Junes, it is nonetheless an ambitiously realized tapestry of several intersecting lives.... Without giving anything away, I will say that the continuity of Glass's imagined world takes over at the end, and the last 70 pages of The Whole World Over nearly make up for its failings." GAIL CALDWELL
Milwaukee Jrnl Sentinel ***1/2
"With such a wide assemblage of characters, it would be easy to lose track without a scorecard, but Glass fully forms each and gives each a distinctive voice, in speech and in thoughts, certainly no mean feat.... She has a knack for making readers care about the whole lot of them, a true...