Review of The Story of Arthur Truluv

The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel by [Berg, Elizabeth]


The Story of Arthur Truluv

Elizabeth Berg

Random House

November 21, 2017

Blurb: For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life.

Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who visits the cemetery to escape the other kids at school. One afternoon she joins Arthur—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio band together and, through heartache and hardships, help one another rediscover their own potential to start anew.

Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.


The first book I ever read by Elizabeth Berg was Never Change, which I happened upon on vacation. It was not your normal vacation read, as it was about life and death and dying and how people interact, how they live, and how they died. And, I love it because there was compassion in the writing, in the characters, in the story that affected me.

The Story of Arthur Truluv is similar in that Berg has created characters that I care about and observes life’s truths in the way that makes one stop and intervals just to think, to absorb.

Arthur Moses visits his wife for lunch every day at the cemetery, which is how he meets Maddy, a seventeen year old, much older than her years, and who is as lonely as he is. One day, Maddy gives him the last name of “Truluv” because that is what his devotion to his wife makes Maddy think of. Arthur is a wonderfully self-aware and compassionate. He sees the loneliness in Maddy and the “otherness” because he is both as well.

The third main character in this story is Lucille, who rediscovers the man she loved in high school. They were truly in love, but an indiscretion on his part when she was away, caused him to marry another woman who only recently died. It seems Lucille will be given the chance for happiness that she never had. While Lucille, at first, is a bit of a prickly character, Berg allows her to see herself, to become more self-aware and compassionate, bringing her own observations into an already interesting blend of characters.

The novel has many great moments and observations, how families are sometimes made up of people who come together rather than people who are blood, and how that can be the best family of all.

While The Story of Arthur Truluv came to me when I was probably in the wrong frame of mind, already too melancholy, I couldn’t put it down, mainly because I adored the wonderful character of Arthur Truluv. Here is someone who embodies thoughtfulness and kindness. As I neared the end, I thought of how much this book reminded me of Fredrik Backman’s novels, told with compassion and truth, bringing the reader insights into other experiences.

If you like well-written contemporary fiction, you might want to give The Story of Arthur Truluv a try. I highly recommend Elizabeth Berg’s novels, if you haven’t yet read any.

rating: 5-butterflies

5 out of 5 butterflies


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