The New York Times Book Review described Spartina as “possibly the best American novel … since The Old Man and the Sea.” Casey’s sequel, as a result, has a lot to live up to. Whereas Spartina focuses on Dick, Compass Rose centers on Rose and the women who influence her. His depictions of coastal Rhode Island are still wonderfully evocative, as are his observant renderings of small town life and extended family relationships. Only the San Francisco Chronicle felt the multiple protagonists resulted in a “splintered structure” and an “unfocused” narrative. Although critics disagreed over whether Compass Rose rises to the heights of Spartina, they all agreed that it was well worth reading, though best preceded by a reading of the latter. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In this sequel to the author’s National Book Award–winning Spartina (1989), Natural Resources warden Elsie Buttrick is forced to grapple with the fallout from her affair with Rhode Island fisherman Dick Pierce. As the novel opens, Elsie has just given birth to their daughter, Rose. Over the next 16 years, Elsie reins in her fierce love for the taciturn Dick, is grateful for his wife’s love and acceptance of Rose, must deal with the insular nature of a community well aware of her daughter’s illegitimate birth, and, finally, must convince her daughter that she is her biggest fan. Elsie also becomes consumed by her brother-in-law’s greedy development schemes, which are slowly transforming the landscape she knows and loves so well while displacing longtime residents. With its emotionally intricate interior monologues and many complicated relationships among multiple characters, this is a novel best suited to those who have read Spartina. They will most readily appreciate Casey’s rich paean to the prideful seaside residents of a Rhode Island community and their long and tangled history with the land and with each other. --Joanne Wilkinson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
I really did try to read this book. I just never got a good grasp on the characters or the story they were telling. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Carol Gustafson
I picked this book off the bargain table (when will I ever learn?). From the jacket, it seemed the author had been well reviewed for previous books and the theme of the book... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Janet Eshenroder
Compared to Spartina,. another of this authors works. This one isn't close. hard to read and follow. I regret buying this Title.Published 23 months ago by Michael V. Smith
I got more than half way through before realizing that this story goes nowhere. Just simply the daily lives of this group of people. Read morePublished on April 18, 2013 by POV
John Casey's prose is beautiful. I found myself pulled along by the pleasure of of the words.
There really isn't much of a plot to Compass Rose. Read more
compass rose by john casey
Dick Pierce is now focusing on the women in his life: his wife May.
Elsie the woman who born their daughter Rose. Read more
The author gets so involved w character development, that the plot gets diluted. It ends with a whimper and not a bang.Published on April 6, 2012 by Linda B. Langsdorf
For the curios: Sequel to Spartina. Poor editing, I would expect better from a professor of english. I could not recommend this book.Published on September 5, 2011 by Geppetto
Talk about a test of patience and an exercise in getting past two battling, jarring prose styles. Compass Rose centers on the illegitimate child of two of the characters: Elsie... Read morePublished on June 23, 2011 by Bluestalking Reader