The Story of Arthur Truluv
Let me say, right off the bat, that I loved this book – but would only give it four stars out of five because of its length and price. It costs $26 and runs barely over 200 pages. OK. For the sake of transparency, let me say that having started my writing career, way back, writing novels that were 200 pages selling for a fraction of that, I’m sensitive on this score. I even wondered if The Story of Arthur Truluv should be called a novella, though, by definition of novella (I just Googled it), this story is a little too long. Also for the sake of transparency, let me say that I haven’t loved all of this author’s books.
That said, Elizabeth Berg is at her best here.
The Story of Arthur Truluv tells of a man in his eighties who has lunch every day in the cemetery with his recently-deceased wife, and the friendship he strikes up with a teenager who hides out among the gravestones to escape a lonely life. Despite the business around cemeteries, this is not a dark book. I repeat, this is not a dark book! The characters are well drawn, likeable and sympathetic. And there is humor. The eponymous Arthur’s thoughts, especially, had me laughing out loud at times.
I would not call the prose literary, which is a good thing. It’s more stream of consciousness in a way that gets us into the minds of the characters, both the two I’ve mentioned and a third, a lonely woman, also in her eighties, who jumps at the chance for a new adventure. Nope. We’re not talking a love story in the traditional sense, though a deep, heart-warming love does develop between the characters.
The story is simple, perhaps too much so. If you want to be able to sink your teeth into something, The Story of Arthur Truluv may not give you that crunch. But it’s uplifting and light-hearted, great for a weekend – even a long afternoon’s read.