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Praised by the New York Times Book Review as "an...affecting morality tale," Jim Lehrer's devastating White Widow brings the reader to the brink of one man's unstoppable, ruinous passion for a complete stranger. Jack T. Oliver has a solid marriage, a cozy house in Corpus Christi, and a job he loves as a driver for the Great Western Trailways bus line. In a few weeks, Jack is going to be promoted to Master Operator in recognition of his years of perfect service and on-time driving. It's a good life. Until a White Widow boards his bus, on a one-way ticket from Victoria to Corpus Christi. A White Widow is a wild card, a woman traveling alone who can change the course of a driver's life, and not always for the best. What happens when Jack Oliver's White Widow passes through his life is as unforgettable as it is irrevocable. Within weeks, without ever even learning her name, he will fall passionately in love--and lose everything he has, a few things he never had, and some he never thought about until they were gone.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781891620416
ISBN-10: 189162041X
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x 16mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: PublicAffairs,U.S.
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 28-Apr-2000
Country of Publication: United States


US Kirkus Review » PBS newscaster Lehrer (Last Debate, 1995, etc.) gives us, in his tenth novel, all the reason a man could need for keeping clear of road trips with mysterious women. On the face of it, Jack Oliver seems to have everything worked out. It's the 1950s, and Jack, a bus driver in Texas, lives for his job (he's about to be named a "master operator"), his friends (a crazy crew of drivers with names like College, Preacher, and Progress), and his wife Loretta (who's a tad overweight). Lehrer himself, it seems, worked for the Trailways line while in college and manages vividly to convey the joys, hopes, and dangers of driving a bus through the Lone Star State in the '50s. Based on his latest novel, a reader has to assume that one of the biggest hazards of the road were the "white widows," beautiful, almost ethereal passengers who cruised bus routes and seduced the drivers, and Jack comes across one on the very first page. "Jack wasn't sure where the expression 'white widow' came from but he had heard it from his first day with Grand Western. It meant any mysterious, perfect woman passenger who was probably not available. A black widow only better." When he sees Ava, a stunning brunette who only rides on one-way tickets, he knows that he's lost, and it's only a matter of (not very much) time before she ruins him. His fantasies becomes obsessions, eventually taking control of his life. Under their spell, in the best Grand Guignol manner, Jack resorts to deception, infidelity, and murder, without ever receiving the smallest satisfaction - or even encouragement - from the woman of his dreams. The end is, unsurprisingly, lurid and incredible. A childish and embarrassing work. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Jim Lehrer

Jim Lehrer began his career as a reporter, political columnist, and editor in Dallas, Texas. Since 1975, he has been a news anchor at PBS, where he is currently the anchor and executive editor of "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." Lehrer has won numerous awards for journalism, most recently the 1999 National Humanities Medal. Lehrer is the author of eleven novels, two memoirs, and three plays. He lives with his wife, Kate, in Washington, D.C. They have three daughters.