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Compass Rose (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – October 4, 2011
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Middle-aged Dick had an affair with nubile Elsie (in Spartina), which resulted in baby Rose. Dick, the boat-builder and sea-lover, lives primarily out on the ocean. When he is landlocked, Dick stays in the house with his wife, May, and their two sons, Charlie and Tom. Dick and May have not quite resolved the pink elephant in the boat's deck. May wants Rose to be part of their lives, and she hasn't fully forgiven Dick. She is tormented about seeing Rose, and about not seeing Rose. How to accommodate the X-factor, Elsie? And the why oh Y-factor, Dick.
"May wondered how long she'd have to go on pulling thoughts out of her head. It seemed as endless as pulling rocks out of a field."
Elsie is free-spirited and nature loving. A Natural Resources officer, she is euphemistically called "the warden of the Great Swamp." Despite her affair with Dick, she is a sympathetic, strong, and enchanting character. She is feisty and warm, as seen through her nurturing devotion to the island's aging doyenne, Miss Perry. And she still loves Dick.
"She [Elsie] looked at Dick's face.Read more ›
If U.S. literature has anything to offer the world, I think it's terms of the novel's sense of place. There's a sense in which we think of Americans as detached from place, radically mobile individuals, but the emotional strength of this novel comes from the characters' sense of location, which is why the property dispute with which the novel ends turns out to be such a motor both for introspection and action in the novel itself. You really get a sense of the Rhode Island coast here, but without show: in the matter of fact way that the characters (like most Americans) live their lives.
The novel is a lot like the garden that one of its main characters grows. It's beautiful, it repays investment, and it bears a ripe harvest.
So I was looking forward to "Compass Rose." And then I started reading it. Maybe I should say I started *forcing* myself to read it, because it was an effort.
Gone is that singular, compelling point of view. Instead, the point of view shifts every chapter from one *female* character to another. By the halfway point, we get to see things the points of view of Elsie, May, Miss Perry, and Mary. I specify from the halfway point because that's how far I am, and I don't think I'm going any further.
I emphasized female in the above paragraph for a reason. A man can certainly write female characters and a woman can certainly write male characters. I am not questioning that at all. But this book seems to be over-reaching, what with having so many female points of view: each woman comes from a different social class and has different life experiences. It just didn't work for me. I didn't believe it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer 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 on January 31, 2014 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 on November 27, 2013 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 on September 25, 2013 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