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The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories Unbound – Import, October 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Unbound
  • Publisher: Modern Library (October 2000)
  • ISBN-10: 0679641599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679641599
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

I bought this book because I had already read Pointed Firs and wanted the rest of Jewett's stories.
E. M. Tennessen
This in no way detracts from the work's many charms, most particularly the quirky yet endearing characters and the poetry of Jewett's language.
Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be
It's the sort of book to read on sitting alone in a graveyard while a cool breeze blows the last autumn leaves from the branches.
Eric Krupin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Mark Valentine on May 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found this to be an extraordinary novel because it really didn't seem like fiction at all. No plot, no bodice ripping, no contrived literary conventions, nothing; Sarah Orne Jewett constructs each episode to blend into the next as seamless as a conversation with a close friend, and the overall effect makes something like a landscape painting, only in print form. Each character she writes about was deformed by the weather, the soil, the isolation, the struggles, and the sea, yet in their faults, they are human and thus dignified--it is beautiful in a simple way.
I would recommend reading this book some afternoon with the telephone unplugged, sitting on a porch with a teapot full of Earl Grey nearby, with your feet propped up and your cares let down. It's as subtle and delightful as a waft of air from the garden after an afternoon shower. It's a haiku in prose--the memory of the book is better than the reading. Enjoy!
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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 13, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'd have to disagree that this title is for older readers. But I can see how, in general, a more sedate pace is required to truly enjoy the read.
I'm 27 and currently undergoing chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer. I'm an avid reader, but since treatment began I haven't been able to focus so well.
I happened to pick up this book on a whim, and I do no regret it. While there is no plot, and the chapters are really just a series of character sketches, this book is pure magic. You have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate it though.
I've been sick a lot through treatment and when I've tried to read "lighter" books, they've barely aroused my interest for long.
This book is in no way light. It is quiet and subtle and still and profoundly deep. It is exactly what I needed, a literary balm for the soul--taking me to a place and allowing me to meet people long lost to time, immersing me in a beautiful world I don't really wish to leave.
It draws you in, as if it's winter and you are welcomed into a warm room with a cozy fire--and it wraps around you with all the comfort of heaven.
I'll be disappointed when I reach the last page and thus the end of this particular journey.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Maren Robinson on April 15, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Sarah Orne Jewett's THE COUNTRY OF POINTED FIRS is a visitor's tale. Set in the fictional Maine coast town of Dunnet Landing where the author/narrator has settled for the summer to write. As a visitor, the narrator inevitably recounts only the pieces of history she comes in contact with through her landlady and the people she meets in the community. The stories are portraits, bits and pieces, of lives that exist outside the narrator's brief visit. As a result, the reader feels like a companion on this holiday. The novella moves at the pace of a quiet seacoast village, and is refreshing to read for that very reason. Like a vacation, outside cares fade while focusing on the lives, habits and landscape of this place. The writing is finely wrought. A real affection for a place and people one knows briefly shines through the work and makes one wish for a time and place when travel, life and writing unfolded at a the speed of a long walk.

Some editions incorporate other stories written about Dunnet Landing into the body of the novella. This can lead to a change in the narrator's voice that is incongruous with the rest of the work. Look for a version that preserves the order of one of the early publications with other short works in a separate section.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Miles D. Moore TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Willa Cather, a friend and protege of Sarah Orne Jewett, ranked The Country of the Pointed Firs along with Huckleberry Finn and The Scarlet Letter as the American work of fiction most likely to be acknowledged by posterity as an immortal masterpiece. While readers can easily quibble with Cather's top choices, it is easy to see that The Country of the Pointed Firs is a masterpiece--though perhaps not one for every taste. The leisurely, closely detailed novella has an unnamed narrator who describes her two summers living among the kindly, easygoing residents of Dunnett's Landing, a seaside town in Maine. It begins with an offstage funeral and ends with an offstage wedding, and very little in the conventional sense happens in the book--herb gathering, visits to neighbors, a reunion of mostly elderly family members. Very little happens--and yet the reader gets an overwhelming sense of the ties of love and gratitude that bind people on earth, as well as a keen, poignant apprehension of the passage of time and the finiteness of existence. It is somewhat reminiscent of "Our Town," but The Country of the Pointed Firs is the more profound work of art. This meditative little book could probably not be appreciated fully by any reader under the age of 40. Yet for the right kind of reader, it has a power and poignancy that outstrips its minuscule size.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sarah Orne Jewett keeps her readers interested from page to page, not through action and adventure, but through intellectual conversation. Usually I would not have picked up The Country of the Pointed Firs, because nine out of ten of the books that I read contain constant action sequences from one page to the next. Although after reading this book from beginning to end, I began to understand the characters in the book and could relate to the peaceful community that they belonged to. The narrator brings us into her everyday peaceful life through the emotion and laid-back style that she puts into every description. The narrator's love for nature helps us to understand New England as she sees it. She helps all of us "city people" to accept New England for what it is, paradise. The narrator, with the help of Mrs. Todd, Mrs. Todd's mother, and William, help give the reader some background and history of New England specifically Maine where they live. The small part that I enjoyed most though, was the narrator's discussion with the old and wise Captain Littlepage. His description of the island that he had visited while he was out at sea brought a very mysterious feeling to the book. I was upset to find out that this was where the mystery ended. I also enjoyed Jewett's ability to describe some of the close and personal family relationships in the story. At times I felt like I knew the entire life story of all the characters in the story. All in all I really enjoyed the book. I do not recommend it to a younger crowd, but I know all old and young adults will enjoy it as I did. Sarah Orne Jewett has created a masterpiece that will last for years to come.
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