The Hoarder's Wife
Deborah S. Greenhut
It wasn’t quite Marie Kondo meets Grey Gardens in The Women’s Room, but it was close. Professor Ludwig Berg hoarded; Grace Berg gave away as much as she could. During their thirty-five years of marriage, Luddy was all about the concrete, while abstract Grace sidelined her career in music because marriage and the family required it. At sixty, Grace divorced him to claim her space in the arts, but, by taking his own life, it seemed that Luddy had written the last movement of their relationship. Or did he? A symphony can have a coda. Following Luddy’s tragic suicide, Grace reunites with her sons in the house where her husband hoarded, reclaiming the literal journal of her adult life to make sense of how she came to be The Hoarder’s Wife so she can complete her abandoned concerto. Without this painful reckoning, she knows the music will never come. Every caregiver must reckon with the question of how much to give, if only Grace can learn to keep time.
“Debut novelist Greenhut offers a moving and memorable chronicle of the unraveling of a woman’s long and troubled marriage to an emotionally distant hoarder. I savored every page of this deeply engaging book, as it flashes back and forward, in a set of journal entries recorded by the wife about her life with a man whose motto might well be 'My kingdom for a hoard.'”
—Shelley Frisch, translator
— Name, Title
About the Author
At age eight, Deborah S. Greenhut announced her ambition to become an author. Her mother replied, “Become a teacher instead to make a living.” Crestfallen, ten-year-old Deborah perfected her skill with a spangled baton to twirl solo as her school’s mascot. A one-time concert-pianist-in-training, Deborah longed to trade up for a conductor's baton, but that career path seemed closed to women in the 1960s. After earning her B.A. in English from Middlebury College then a PhD from Rutgers University, she pursued her original dream by becoming a writer, a teacher, and, later, a dean. Her poems and cultural reviews have appeared in print and online at www.oobr.com , medium.com , and Red Booth Review. Her way-off Broadway production of "Difficult Subjects," was selected for the Best Plays of the Strawberry Festival, Volume 2. A multi-genre work, How I Live. With Terror, developed as an artist-in-residence at 92 Street Y/Makor, appeared in www.Zeek.net. In 2017, she received the Princemere Poetry Prize. The Hoarder's Wife is her first novel. Deborah now lives in a clean house in New Jersey where she can focus on making art in a room of her own.