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* HistoricalDomainCharacter: John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie are quite beloved by Claire and her friends, to the point of making bets based on the color of Jackie’s appeal. Eisenhower and Nixon are also mentioned.

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* HistoricalDomainCharacter: John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie are quite beloved by Claire and her friends, to the point of making bets based on the color of Jackie’s appeal.clothes. Eisenhower and Nixon are also mentioned.


* FatalFlaw: One thing connecting both Claire and Vivien is their impulsiveness, which works into their novel-relevant affairs. [[spoiler:It also leads the former to losing her unborn baby, and the latter to discovering the man she searched for has been Dead All Along]].

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* FatalFlaw: One thing connecting both Claire and Vivien is their impulsiveness, which works into their novel-relevant affairs. [[spoiler:It also leads the former to losing her unborn baby, and the latter to discovering the man she searched for has been Dead All Along]].DeadAllAlong]].



* MeaningfulName: Vivien, a variation of Vivian, means “alive”. Quite fitting for someone who composes obituaries that celebrate the lives of the deceased, even if it also crosses into Ironic Name territory.

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* MeaningfulName: Vivien, a variation of Vivian, means “alive”. Quite fitting for someone who composes obituaries that celebrate the lives of the deceased, even if it also crosses into Ironic Name IronicName territory.


* ParanoiaFuel: In-verse, Dougie’s kidnapping and murder is signified as the moment when everyone in Claire’s neighborhood realized they were not as safe as they thought they were.


** Jack London makes an appearance in the restaurant Vivien and David meet at, whom David jokes about beating up when Vivien keeps staring at him. [[spoiler:The amnesiac man reading ‘‘Literature/TheCallOfTheWild’’ briefly convinces Vivien that she’s found David, until he reveals that he chose it at random]].

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** Jack London makes an appearance in the restaurant Vivien and David meet at, whom David jokes about beating up when Vivien keeps staring at him. [[spoiler:The amnesiac man reading ‘‘Literature/TheCallOfTheWild’’ briefly convinces Vivien that she’s found David, until he reveals that he chose it at random]].

Added DiffLines:

''The Obituary Writer'' is a 2013 novel by Ann Hood that follows the lives of two women with an adulterous history. In the early 1960s, Claire Fontaine is trying her best to be a devoted housewife and mother, but enters an affair with another man in the days before John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. And in 1919, Vivien Lowe, a talented obituary writer beloved for her ability to make the dead seem alive again, begins her search for her former lover, whom she desperately wants to believe did not perish during the Great San Francisco Earthquake. These two plotlines reflect off one another, carrying similar themes of loss, love, and coming to terms with their lives.

!!Tropes Present in the Novel
* AdultFear: That the novel begins with the abduction of Dougie Daniels, a neighborhood boy later found dead, really emphasizes the theme of loss throughout the story. [[spoiler:It only gets worse when Vivien’s friend Lotte loses her daughter, Pamela, to sickness, and Claire loses hers and Peter’s baby to a sledding accident. Said sledding accident also has a brief moment where she loses sight of Kathy and fears she may have been kidnapped like Dougie]].
* AnAesop: The novel emphasizes the importance of coping with loss, but also, [[spoiler:with the revelation that Birdy is Vivien]], the necessity to move on from the tragedies in one’s life.
* ApologizesALot: Claire picks up this habit during the novel, due to her guilt, which Peter comments on and criticizes.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Vivien’s story ends with the revelation that David has been dead all this time, but she manages to start a new life with Sebastian. And Claire’s story ends with the deaths of her unborn baby and the older Vivien, now known as “Birdy”, but there’s a chance that everyone will move on]].
* ChristmasCake: Kay Pendleton, the librarian who provides Vivien’s reading materials, is noted to be quite attractive, despite being a spinster. [[spoiler:She later marries Lotte’s husband after the grief-stricken woman drowns herself]].
* TheCobblersChildrenHaveNoShoes: Vivien has a talent for composing obituaries for her various clients. [[spoiler:But when it’s for her best friend’s daughter, whom she had a good bond with, it’s decidedly harder. She still manages to pull it off]].
* CompanionCube: Claire’s daughter Kathy has her stuffed rabbit, Mimi. After they fail to bring her along to Peter’s mother’s party, Kathy complains constantly about her absence.
* DeadAllAlong: [[spoiler:Unfortunately for Vivien, it turns out that David was killed during the Earthquake by a falling support beam.]].
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Greatly emphasized in Claire’s story. She remembers her mother’s advice about being a dutiful wife who never questions her husband, and how the societal norm dictated that adulterous women were still expected to remain in the relationship.
* DisappearedDad: Peter’s father died while he was young. [[spoiler:This is one of the things that lead to the revelation that Vivien is Birdy]].
** There’s also Miles Sullivan, whom Claire has an affair with and is seemingly the father of her unborn baby. [[spoiler:Except, as her call to Dot reveals, Miles can’t procreate, meaning it was Peter’s. Which makes its death even sadder.]]
* DoggedNiceGuy: Downplayed example, but Sebastian has been holding a torch for Vivien, who really doesn’t feel much for him after remembering her relationship with David. [[spoiler:That said, after the two make love and she finally gets closure and confirmation about David’s death, she starts a new life with him]].
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Vivien’s final conversation with Claire reveals that Lotte, unable to cope with Pamela’s death, drowned herself]].
* DueToTheDead: Vivien Lowe makes her living from composing obituaries that beautifully celebrate the deceased loved ones of her clients, putting more emphasis on their lives than their deaths.
* FatalFlaw: One thing connecting both Claire and Vivien is their impulsiveness, which works into their novel-relevant affairs. [[spoiler:It also leads the former to losing her unborn baby, and the latter to discovering the man she searched for has been Dead All Along]].
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie are quite beloved by Claire and her friends, to the point of making bets based on the color of Jackie’s appeal. Eisenhower and Nixon are also mentioned.
** Jack London makes an appearance in the restaurant Vivien and David meet at, whom David jokes about beating up when Vivien keeps staring at him. [[spoiler:The amnesiac man reading ‘‘Literature/TheCallOfTheWild’’ briefly convinces Vivien that she’s found David, until he reveals that he chose it at random]].
* HollywoodHeartAttack: One trips up Peter’s mother Birdy, [[spoiler:an older Vivien, eventually leading to her death]].
* InfantImmortality: Tragically averted. The novel begins with the abduction and murder of a child in Claire’s neighborhood. [[spoiler:And then Lotte’s daughter Pamela dies from sickness. And then Claire loses her baby when she makes the impulsive decision to go sledding and panics about losing Kathy]].
* ItsAllMyFault: A recurring attitude Vivien notes among those who consult her for composing obituaries, where they constantly blame themselves for being a few minutes too late.
** [[spoiler:Claire later, understandably feels guilt over her unborn baby killed in the sledding accident, to the point where she’s utterly baffled by everyone else accepting it and moving on]].
* KarmaHoudini: Eventually subverted with [[spoiler:Smythe, who is later caught and arrested for kidnapping and killing Dougie Daniels]].
* MeaningfulName: Vivien, a variation of Vivian, means “alive”. Quite fitting for someone who composes obituaries that celebrate the lives of the deceased, even if it also crosses into Ironic Name territory.
** Sebastian, who still holds a torch for Vivien, once relates to her that his namesake is the patron saint of athletes because of his endurance. [[spoiler:His endurance eventually pays off]].
** David means “beloved” in Hebrew. Fitting for the man Vivien still holds feelings and hope for, [[spoiler:making it sadder when he turns out dead]].
* ParanoiaFuel: In-verse, Dougie’s kidnapping and murder is signified as the moment when everyone in Claire’s neighborhood realized they were not as safe as they thought they were.
* PosthumousCharacter: [[spoiler:David, Vivien’s paramour, turns out to be an example. She even bemoans how she spent thirteen years believing he was still alive]].
* TheSixties: Claire’s story is set in 1960 and 1961, with John F. Kennedy’s inauguration as a major event of the novel
* SympatheticAdulterer: Both Claire and Vivien enter relationships with married men (the former being married, herself), and their rather sad life experiences are explored. Especially when the former becomes pregnant, and the latter pursues what may or may not be her hopefully-not-deceased lover.
* TranquilFury: When Peter discovers Miles in bed with Claire, he calmly (but forcefully) tells Miles to get out. Claire herself is surprised when he acts as though he’ll hit her, but doesn’t act on it.
* TwoLinesNoWaiting: Claire’s narrative in the 1960s and Vivien’s in 1919 are interconnected by similar themes [[spoiler:and the revelation that Vivien is Peter’s mother Birdy]].
* WhamLine: [[spoiler:When Birdy comes to around Claire and Peter, she asks for David. And, in case the revelation wasn’t clear, she expresses sadness over Lotte’s loss of Pamela]].
* YourCheatingHeart: The novel deals with the aftermath of Vivien Lowe and Claire Fontaine’s affairs with David Gardner and Miles Sullivan, respectively.

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