Spotlight on “Come To The Window” by Howard Norman

by LitStack Editor

A drama of murder, love, and redemption set in Nova Scotia in the final year of World War I.

Come to the Window and author Howard Norman

About Come To The Window

It’s 1918. The war in Europe grinds on, and the Spanish flu seems to be on an insatiable killing spree. But in the small fishing village of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, a more confined drama—harrowing and provocative—slowly unfolds. It begins when Elizabeth Frame murders her husband hours after their wedding and thrusts the revolver into the blowhole of a beached whale.

Crime reporter Toby Havenshaw is dispatched by the Halifax Evening Mail to cover the hearing, and his diary subsequently follows the surprising twists and turns of Elizabeth Frame’s flight from the law, accompanied as she is by a love-besotted court stenographer. But Toby’s diary also paints a vivid and deeply affecting portrait of his marriage to Amelia, a surgeon just returned from the front lines in France and Belgium. When a child is born to Elizabeth Frame on the lam, Amelia is drawn into events in ways she could never have imagined. And then everything changes.

Come to the Window explores a question both universal and timeless: How does one recover hope in a time of great bewilderment and grief?

Source: Publisher
ISBN-13: 9781324076339
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/09/2024

Editorial Review of Come To The Window

Publisher’s Weekly

Norman follows up The Ghost Clause with a stunning literary mystery set in 1918 Nova Scotia. On the same night a whale washes ashore in the small town of Parrsboro, bigamist Elizabeth Frame murders her second husband in their bed. Reporter Toby Havenshaw is assigned to cover the trial, but he’s more focused on reuniting with his wife, Amelia, a surgeon who’s just returned from the frontlines of WWI. As Elizabeth’s case wears on, Toby documents it in erudite diary entries. 

Things turn scandalous when Elizabeth and the court reporter, Peter Lear, run away together. As Amelia deals with an outbreak of Spanish flu and Toby records his efforts to track the runaway outlaws in his diary, he draws insights on the shifting world around him from sources as wide-ranging as Heraclitus, Robert Louis Stevenson, and L.M. Montgomery. 

With sensitive attunement to the grief and uncertainty of the postwar years, Norman constructs an engrossing period piece that speaks to the present moment without losing sight of the engrossing crime at its center. This is humane, original, and easy to devour in a single sitting.

Praise for Come To The Window

“Have you ever gone to hear live music and when the first note sounds you say, ‘Wow’? And when the performance is over, you look at your partner and say, ‘Holy shit.’ That’s Come to the Window. The art, the flow, the wisdom of this work are unmatched. This is Howard Norman at his best.”—Percival Everett

“Simply put, Come to the Window is a powerful, daring, eloquent and in all ways splendid novel.”—Richard Ford

About Howard Norman, Author of Come To The Window

Come To The Window author Howard Norman
Photo by Emma Norman

Howard Norman was twice a finalist for the National Book Award. He is the author of Come to the Window, The Bird Artist, What Is Left the Daughter, My Darling Detective, and other novels. He received a Lannan Award in literature. He lives in East Calais, Vermont.

You can find and follow Howard Norman on his website.

Titles by Howard Norman

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