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Where Or When [Paperback]

Anita Shreve
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

1 Dec 1994

When Charles Callahan chances on a newspaper photograph of Sian Richards, a woman he loved when they were both only thirteen, he is hardly in a position to do anything about it. He has been faithfully married for years and his Rhode Island real estate business has been hit hard by the recession. He is scrambling to stave off bankruptcy and save his house. But Charles cannot resist the hand of fate. He writes to Sian, now a poet living with a family of her own on a farm in upstate New York.

Three decades after they last saw each other, the two lovers meet. Powerfully drawn together once again, Charles and Sian are forced to come to terms with the nature of erotic love and betrayal, moral quandaries in an age of shifting values, and the elusive nature of time. Struggling to reclaim what once they lost, they set in motion a passionate and tumultuous series of events that moves to a shocking conclusion.

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Where Or When + Resistance + Strange Fits Of Passion
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (1 Dec 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349105855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349105857
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Shreve's prose is astonishing (Sunday TIMES)

Book Description

Reissue -- with a stunning new cover -- of Anita Shreve's third novel, a powerful study of erotic love and betrayal.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay but not brilliant 28 Dec 2004
By A Customer
Having read and loved "The Pilot's Wife", I was expecting great things from this book, but unfortunately I didn't get them. While the idea of erotic obsession is a good one, it's not well realised as here the situations are highly unlikely, sometimes even laughable, and I disliked thoroughly the two main characters. The only people I warmed to were the cheated husband and the abandoned wife - at least they had some depth and I particularly wanted to know what would happen to Harriet.
I think this author is excellent at relationships, but should steer clear of the darkness of sexual obsession.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written view of a personal dilemma 18 Jun 2002
By Christine L HALL OF FAME
I thoroughly enjoy Anita Shreve's style of writing and this book is no exception. I did however have problems getting any empathy going for the characters as I found them both shallow and unlikable. The story is an interesting one that I believe many people find themselves thinking of at some point in their adult life; "What if I met so-and-so again?". While most people would manage to resist the temptation Anita Shreve lets her two protagonists do the unthinkable and it ruins their lives and the lives of those around them. I'm happy that she avoided the sugar sweet ending that might be a temptation in a story such as this as it would have made the story unbearable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and moving 19 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This is the best Anita Shreve I have read. In her other novels, Shreve has shown her strength in writing about emotion, particularly the pain of loss or unfulfilled love. This subject is at the centre of this novel: the story of how a reunion after 31 years between a man and woman who previously spent only one week together when they were teenagers. The novel examines the nature of time, of love and disappointment in life, as both characters face the mid-points in the lives with a realisation that they are not happy or fulfilled. Every sentence is beautifully written, every mood carefully evoked against the bleak weather and the gathering storm clouds of financial and emotional melt-down as the couple head towards the inevitable reckoning. A wonderful read which will leave you gasping in amazement at the sheer strength of Shreve's quiet art.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I am very surprised to read the two reviews below mine. This was my first Anita Shreve book and I found it gripping. Reading the book we learn about Charles and Sian, watch them tumble into their passionate affair and then empathise with them when they don't know how, of if they should, get out of it. How would any of us react if we were in a rut and then met our first love again? Would we risk everything for a chance to revisit the intensity of first love again?
Shreve is particlularly good at describing Charles and his imploding life. As I got more into the book I found myself feeling that I knew these characters and wanted to know how things would turn out.
I also felt the book could make a good film, say with Michelle Phiffer in it and...well actually I can't think of many fourtysomething leading men who would appear on-screen with a woman their own age. Maybe Brice Willis. But please if it is made into a film I hope they have the guts to keep the original ending.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read - if you like this kind of thing 27 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Let's face it, anyone who doesn't like romances isn't going to enjoy this book. Personally, I did enjoy it, though it was a long way off being the best of its kind I've read. What I found most unacceptable about the storyline was not the idea of two people who had been in love at 14 entering into an affair when they meet again years later (why does the book jacket say 13, I wonder?) but the idea that the man would feel more strongly than the woman about his idealised memories. Even if he is trying to escape from his present, I don't believe that type of obsession would come naturally to most men. It's a shame other reviewers have given away the ending, as I was truly kept guessing as to how it would pan out. But then, I've never read any of Anita Shreve's other books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Drawn out. 13 April 2001
Basicall a story of people who didn`t know their blessings in life. They went and made a mess of their own lives and that of their partners and families. Anita writes good prose but this story is short on real plot and bite. A letdown from just having finished reading Fortunes Rock.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit too close to home! 6 Dec 2001
By A Customer
I have enjoyed many of Anita Shreve's books and I think we can all find something in our lives that identify with what we read. This book is one that I will treasure, simply because it is something I am experiencing at the moment, without the affair, I may add. Believe me, it can happen and is - 15 years on, feelings can still be strong for that first love - on both sides. Anita writes with such eligance in all her books and I think she has written this one particularly well, considering the delicate nature of the subject. There is no set rule as to how we will react in a similar situation, even if it is going to end in tears. Another beautiful book. Thank you.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wrong place, wrong time? 3 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This is a lovely, moving novel about two people who fell in love when they were fourteen, but were separated through no fault of their own. Both marry other people and live separate lives. Sian is a writer and is married with a 3-year old girl, Lily. Charles is an insurance salesman and he has 3 children of varying ages. However, neither is happy in their marriage and neither has forgotten the other. As fate would have it, Charles sees an advertisement for Sian's latest book, along with a photograph of her, in a newspaper. He immediately knows he must see her and, when at last they meet, the flame burns brighter than ever. Deception, secrecy and hurt is in store for both of them and their families, but despite all odds, they know they were meant to be together. But have they got the timing right, or is their love destined only for tragedy? A superb novel, so poignant that events will linger in your mind long after the last page is turned.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Another success !!
I keep thinking Anita Shreve will not deliver - but she always does -
great story line - I have to pace myself, so that I will always have another
book by this author
Published 2 months ago by granny rac
4.0 out of 5 stars Passionate betrayal
I have read most of Anita Shreve's books. This one is different in style to some of her others and shorter in length. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Holly74
1.0 out of 5 stars Cold characters.
Two selfish people convince themselves they have a grand passion and meet in a hotel, which is an excuse to write some detailed mechanical sex scenes devoid of passion. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Essell.
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful
This was my introduction to Anita Shreve. I can't imagine trying another although some reviews have said Where or When is not her usual style.
Where to begin... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Helen Ducal
4.0 out of 5 stars slow burner
It took a while to get going with this story but persevere,it brings you home in the end, Anita never leaves you up the air, just a bit out of breath.
Published 9 months ago by J Juson
5.0 out of 5 stars Anticipated
Having read all Shreve's novels I am always looking for the next one. So far, though, I have struggled with this one so will take on hols with me and start again.
Published 20 months ago by BBdeedee
4.0 out of 5 stars A Heartbreaking Dilemma
One of Anita Shreve's more subtle books (written before she became famous), 'Where or When' depicts the plight of two childhood sweethearts who meet in later life. Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2012 by Kate Hopkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book.
Was pleased with the overall condition of the book and the story was very good. As all Anita Shreve books are. A good study of human qualities and failings.
Published on 25 Jan 2012 by Ms. A. Simkiss
2.0 out of 5 stars don't bother with this one
I have read a few of Anita Shreeve's books and enjoyed them [though not as much as many others I've read]. Read more
Published on 21 Sep 2011 by Ms. K. J. Waghorn
4.0 out of 5 stars What happens when you reconnect with your first love?
Shreve's books are to me like wrapping yourself up in a fluffy quilt on a cold winters day- they are so inviting and sensual and have the most amazing descriptions of people and... Read more
Published on 23 Jun 2011 by Nicola F (Nic)
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