News & Politics

Stella in Heaven: Almost a Novel

“Lighthearted yet heartfelt portrait of commitment and fidelity.”

Leave it to Art Buchwald to write a comedy about a widower communicating with his deceased spouse. With cameos by Moses and Saint Peter, Buchwald’s impression of the sweet hereafter just might make you chuckle.

After the death of his wife, Stella, Roger Folger grapples with life as an aging bachelor. In a quirky twist of fate, Stella continues to communicate with him from beyond the grave—via telephone. Their initial conversation sets the tone:

“Roger! It’s me and the Divine Telephone Service—and it’s free!”

“Stella! Does this mean we can talk to each other every day?”

“Of course. I’ve got a Princess phone right in my room.”

These conversations generate a wealth of interesting exchanges while allowing Buchwald to expound on the comic nature of the human response to death.

Chapters alternate between Roger’s perspective and Stella’s—a somewhat clumsy device that allows Buchwald to offer distinct points of view on love and marriage. Although Roger clearly doesn’t want a relationship with another woman, Stella constantly pressures him to date. Almost everything he claims, she contradicts, and vice versa.

Buchwald delivers a lighthearted yet heartfelt portrait of commitment and fidelity. While it won’t win a Pulitzer, Stella in Heaven makes a good companion to a warm blanket and a cozy chair.

Art Buchwald

G.P. Putnam’s Sons