Anita Shreve passed away on Thursday, March 29 after a long and very private fight with cancer. Anita was the author of 18 novels, 14 of which were published by Little, Brown, beginning with Resistance in 1997. Her novel The Weight of Water won the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. In 1999, Oprah Winfrey selected The Pilot’s Wife for Oprah’s Book Club, and it went on to sell more than 3 million copies. In all of her work, Anita deftly explored the intricacies and nuances of relationships between men and women, often hinging on the ripple effects of a single, dramatic moment. She wrote the details of history, from the 19th century to the 1920s to World War II, as if she had lived them herself.
Of her novel Rescue, Augusten Borroughs said, “Her prose is so flawlessly disciplined and elegant; the characters seem too real to be made out of words and the story she unfolds is gripping, fiercely intelligent and deeply moving.” These words describe the work but also Anita herself. Anita was a beloved figure for all of us who had the privilege of working with her. She was both elegant and modest, kind, funny, and always observant of every nuance of human interaction. She had impeccable taste and was a thoughtful gift-giver, with a warm laugh and an abiding love for her Boston Red Sox, the Maine coastline, the occasional light beer, and, above all, her children. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend and we will miss her deeply. Our thoughts are with her family in this difficult time.