The Whole World by Emily Winslow – Book Review

The Whole World by Emily Winslow

As Americans studying abroad at Oxford, Polly and Liv drifted naturally together. Shared experiences will do that to you, after all. Even so, they are quite different. Polly is often overly serious, Liv has a tendency to read things she shouldn’t on her employers computer. One thing they do have in common is Nick, a handsome grad student. When Nick disappears, though, everything the girls have begins to fall apart, and painful secrets from Polly’s past are brought to light.

I must say, I think that Emily Winslow is a highly talented debut novelist. She takes things that would come off as overly dramatic and eye-roll-inducing in most books – like Polly’s past – and makes them real and tragic instead of ridiculous.

The most interesting thing about “The Whole World” was the somewhat ambitious narrative style. Four separate characters from a range of ages and cultural backgrounds each were allowed to narrate one section. Their stories didn’t follow exactly from one another, but did fall roughly in line so that there remained a good narrative flow. What was impressive about this was not only the way that the story was plotted to make sure that each character got an interesting piece of their own story, but also Winslow’s ability to give each character a distinct and authentic voice.

Although “The Whole World” is a mystery or suspense novel, I wasn’t racing through it to find out the solution to the mystery. Instead, I was savoring the lovely language, the story Winslow created for me, and the competing ideas of just what exactly constitutes ‘the whole world.’ Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*

This review was done with a book received from Random House, at the request of the author.
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