The Whole World Over

by Julia Glass

Greenie Duquette directs her attentions mainly toward her
Greenwich Village bakery and her four-year-old son, George. She
worries about her husband Alan's pessimism: could he be passing his
attitude on to their son? Greenie supplies the old-fashioned
desserts for her good friend Walter's retro-American tavern.
Imagine her amazement when the governor of New Mexico, Ray McCrae,
calls to declare his infatuation with her coconut cake, which he
devoured at Walter's Place. Greenie is invited to move to the
governor's mansion in Santa Fe to work as the house chef.

Walter has fallen in love with a handsome, kind man. Unfortunately,
Walter's beloved is already in a long-term steady relationship.
Walter's yearnings for Gordie ultimately crush him. For, in spite
of a brief furtive and passionate affair, Gordie breaks it off with
Walter to remain coupled with Stephen, his partner. Lonely and sad,
Walter jumps at the chance to take in his 18-year-old nephew,

When Greenie meets Governor McCrae, his vitality and good looks ---
as well as his enthusiasm for her cooking --- are nearly
overwhelming. The governor, or "Ray" as he likes to be called,
assumes it's Greenie's fate to cook for him. Perhaps he's

Alan is stunned when Greenie and George move to New Mexico. Sure,
Greenie claims they are not truly breaking up; she's "attaining
distance." She suggests he may decide to join them. But for now,
Alan is full of sorrow in his too empty apartment. He's also struck
by the irony that he's counseling couples on their relationships
even as his own unravels. Alan now has the time and solitude to
contemplate the secret he guards from Greenie, which only adds to
his unrest.

Alan makes an unexpected friend in a woman named Saga, who appears
to be homeless. Yet Saga, we find, does have at least a sometime
home with her elderly uncle. Uncle Marsden helps Saga, who still
suffers the consequences of a severe head injury. In return, Saga
cooks for him. On her own, she has a mission: she retrieves stray
pets for a small private animal rescue operation.

Greenie and George settle into exotic New Mexico. In the governor's
mansion, Greenie encounters Charlie, an old classmate who once
played a pivotal role in her life. The past collides into the
present with an unforeseen impact, changing the balance of her
future and challenging the tenuous connection of her marriage. And
then September 11, 2001, arrives.

THE WHOLE WORLD OVER is a fine and ornate tapestry of interwoven
lives led by quirky yet completely real characters. You can't help
but care for these people (including Fenno, who also appeared in
THREE JUNES). Julia Glass skillfully and subtly breaks your heart
--- and then lifts you up --- in an engrossing read that is pure

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon ( on January 24, 2011

The Whole World Over
by Julia Glass

  • Publication Date: June 12, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor
  • ISBN-10: 1400075769
  • ISBN-13: 9781400075768