Cover image for Stella in heaven : [almost a novel]
Stella in heaven : [almost a novel]
Buchwald, Art.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, Me. : G.K. Hall, 2000.
Physical Description:
165 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Subtitle on cover.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print

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Roger Folger, age sixty-one, recently lost his wife, Stella, but her spirit hasn't wandered far. An all-too-corporeal Roger converses at will with her disembodied voice in the privacy of the home they shared for many years -- and you can bet Stella talks back. Roger fills her in on the latest about their kids and neighbors, while she tells Roger what heaven is like. Stella worries that Roger is lonely, and decides that what he needs is a new woman in his life. But once he begins to date, Stella grows jealous. She can't help wondering what a second Mrs. Folger will mean for her and Roger -- both in this world and the next.

Author Notes

Columnist Art Buchwald was born in Mt. Vernon, New York on October 20, 1925. At the age of 17, he dropped out of high school and joined the Marines. He served from October 1942 to October 1945 and then enrolled at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles to study liberal arts. In 1948, he left the university and traveled to Paris where he worked as a correspondent for Variety magazine and later as a columnist for the European edition of the New York Herald Tribune. He returned to the United States in 1962, wrote more than 30 books, and had a column in The Washington Post, which dealt with political satire and commentary. He won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1982, was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1986, and received the Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He died of kidney failure on January 17, 2007.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Making a foray into fiction, the famous humor columnist shares a delightful vision of life after death. Roger Folger, a sixtysomething widower, was married to the recently deceased Stella for nearly 40 years. Roger is bereft without her, not only because she was his guiding light but also because she pretty much told him what to do and when to do it. The thing is, though, Roger can still talk to Stella in Heaven, and vice versa, as if they were connected by a phone line. Stella decides that Roger needs a new wife, and even though she has to direct her matchmaking project off-site, she delves into the search with gusto, making full use of her heavenly cronies. Stella does her job too well in the end: Roger is fixed up, but she feels entirely left out of his new life. "I started to cry," Stella says, which is "something you're not supposed to do in Heaven." The action is relayed in the alternating voices of Roger and Stella, and on the whole Buchwald delivers raucous good fun, with a touch of poignancy. The author's reputation as a humorist will guarantee requests. --Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Columnist Buchwald's slim, ever-so-slight comedic tale of widowers and remarriage is more than aptly described by its wry subtitle. Its main story line is evenly divided between the seriocomic spiels of Roger Folger, a 61-year-old research scientist who's recently lost his wife, and Stella, his deceased spouse, who narrates from her new home in Heaven. Ever since Stella passed on to a better world, Roger hasn't known what to do with himself. He slowly comes to realize that he's relied upon Stella to make all of the most important decisions of his married life: without her, he's clueless, hapless and easily hoodwinked by his less-than-scrupulous housing contractor buddy, Twoey McGowan. Stella is similarly troubled, up in Heaven; she wants Roger to remarry and find happiness again, but she isn't sure how to go about orchestrating this. Fortunately, the celestial "management" has allowed her to keep a direct spiritual phone line to Roger, and the two talk endlessly, trying to figure out how to get Roger back into the marriage market. The heaven that Stella inhabits is an improbably cutesy, saccharine-dripped fantasy land, where Mary Magdalene is always on hand to dispense pithy advice, and Moses mixes drinks over by the pool. The novel itself emerges as little more than an excuse for frequent jokes on every subject from familial dysfunction to political activism to Jewish mothers. This is fine when the jokes are good, which they occasionally are. Unfortunately, the narrative largely lacks Buchwald's trademark comic edge, relying instead on clunkers like, "you are not permitted to tip here at all, which is how you know this is truly Heaven." It's hard to dislike a book so studiously inoffensive; on the other hand, there's little here to truly delight in. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Imagine that Heaven is living at the Ritz-Carlton, with Moses as the hotel manager, Saint Peter the assistant manager, and Mary Magdalene the concierge. As for God, He never allows Himself to be seen for fear that everyone there will ask Him for favors. Enter the world of Stella, deceased wife of Roger, who tries to orchestrate Roger's life from above via the Divine Telephone Service. First on her agenda is to find him a second wife. While Roger loves to talk to Stella, he finds her matchmaking attempts awkward. Then, to Stella's horror, Roger's mother, Mimi, dies and follows her to the Ritz, where unholy chaos erupts. Stella petitions King Solomon to transfer Mimi to the Palm Beach Breakers, and Mimi retaliates by organizing a "Free the Angels" day. This madcap romp by humorist Buchwald (I'll Always Have Paris) alternates between Heaven and Earth and showcases his wit at its rollicking best. Recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/00.]DMary Ellen Elsbernd, Northern Kentucky Univ., Highland Heights (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.