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The Seventeen Widows of Sans Souci
The Seventeen Widows of Sans Souci
Author: Charlotte Armstrong
ISBN: 360012
Pages: 320
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 1 rating
Publisher: Coward-McCann, Inc. New York
Book Type: Paperback
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed The Seventeen Widows of Sans Souci on + 7 more book reviews
I don't believe this book has been reprinted as much as more suspenseful or action-packed Charlotte Armstrong novels, since I've had such difficulty finding it, and I can see why. It spends much more time on the philosophical musings that give even her most hectic novels an extra something special, and the focus of most of these musings is the decidedly unpopular population of widowed women. Women who have raised their children and outlived their husbands, trying to find a new shape to their lives. Sans Souci is a tired apartment building in a city in Southern California, shabby and small, but inexpensive and most importantly, respectable. Because of these points it seems to always end up with widows in its 17 open apartments. Being written in 1959, few of the widows have a career or consider finding a job to fill their time, and so they often spend it in the most stereotypical (and true-to-life) type of gossip and fluttering. Personalities rub, and then grate. Petty squabbles turn venomous. In the end, several crises are reached, a few stories tied up and neatly closed, and the newest widow finds herself able to contemplate a future as herself, rather than a cancelled wife or finished mother. I love Charlotte Armstrong's writing and found it well worth the time, as well as filling that nagging hole in my collection :), but I can sympathize with those who might find it a little slow or boring.