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Sea Glass: A Novel Paperback – January 21, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Joking that she could wallpaper her bathroom with rejections from magazines for her short stories ("I really could have," she says), she published her early work in literary journals. One of these stories, "Past the Island, Drifting," won an O. Henry prize. Despite this accolade, she quickly learned that one couldn't make a living writing short fiction. Switching to journalism, Shreve traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, where she lived for three years, working as a journalist for an African magazine. One of her novels, The Last Time They Met, contains bits and pieces from her time in Africa.
Returning to the United States, Shreve was a writer and editor for a number of magazines in New York. Later, when she began her family, she turned to freelancing, publishing in the New York Times Magazine, New York magazine and dozens of others. In 1989, she published her first novel, Eden Close. Since then she has written 14 other novels, among them The Weight of Water, The Pilot's Wife, The Last Time They Met, A Wedding in December, Body Surfing, Testimony,and A Change in Altitude.
In 1998, Shreve received the PEN/L. L. Winship Award and the New England Book Award for fiction. In 1999, she received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey, and The Pilot's Wife became the 25th selection of Oprah's Book Club and an international bestseller. In April 2002, CBS aired the film version of The Pilot's Wife, starring Christine Lahti, and in fall 2002, The Weight of Water, starring Elizabeth Hurley and Sean Penn, was released in movie theaters.
Still in love with the novel form, Shreve writes only in that genre. "The best analogy I can give to describe writing for me is daydreaming," she says. "A certain amount of craft is brought to bear, but the experience feels very dreamlike."
Shreve is married to a man she met when she was 13. She has two children and three stepchildren, and in the last eight years has made tuition payments to seven colleges and universities.
Top Customer Reviews
"Sea Glass" begins in 1929, when Sexton Beecher, a typewriter salesman, marries bank clerk, Honora. They decide to make their home in a rather dalipidated, but still romantic, New England beach house. Honora is a fulltime wife and homemaker and besides the usual things all wives and homemakers do, Honora loves to take long walks on the beach and collect bits of colored glass worn smooth as silk by the waves of the sea. Eventually, Honora meets and becomes friends with Vivian, a wealthy woman who happens to live nearby. The world seems, at least to Honora, to be an almost perfect place.
When things are too good, they usually don't last and Honora learns this lesson the hard way. The Great Depression causes problems for Sexton and Honora, but it brings Honora unexpected pleasures as well, in the form of handsome Quillen McDermott and his twelve year old friend, Francis.
This is a book that is told from the point of view of many of the characters involved. In almost every case this works, and it works well. The exceptions are Vivian and Francis. In the early sections of the book, Vivian plays such a prominent part that we come to believe she will be an integral part of the coming storyline as well. Instead, she seems to fade a little more with each passing scene.
Francis is also problematic. His chapters are written in long sentences that let us know he is smart, but lacks the education he should have at his age. This wouldn't be bad in and of itself.Read more ›
Told in alternating voices are a cast of wonderful character whom Shreve portrays so well that we feel as though we know them. In addition to Sexton and Honora who spends time collecting sea glass on the beach, there is also the very wealthy Vivian who meets Honora on the beach and her one time lover and once wealthy Dickie. Rounding out the characters are McDermott, a factory worker and labor organizer and his protégé 11 year old Alphonse who dreams of becoming a pilot. These are vivid characters we come to care about whose stories once set in motion, keep the reader wondering how their lives will play our and what will become of them at the end of the book.Read more ›
Her latest book tells the story of the stock market crash in 1929. We see the struggle of the mill workers and the impact of such a horrendous economic blow to all of the various social classes. Honora Beecher is at the centre of the story though the novel is told from 5 different perspectives.
Shreve is an outstanding writer in that she uses wonderful, descriptive language and she can explore the human condition and the range of emotions like few other authors. I enjoyed this part of the book, but the story was a little too slow. I felt that some of the characters just didn't come to life like they could have...Vivian, the jaded socialite especially.
Overall, this was a good book, just not her best.
Set in a New Hampshire mill town and the nearby coast just before and during the Great Depression, the novel follows several principals affected by the greed of the mill owners. This is typical Shreve territory described in her characteristic starkly beautiful prose. Impatient readers might give up on Shreve's painstaking preparation for the final half of the novel, but the rewards are worth the slow start.
Men might find this title more hospitable than other Shreve titles; her male characters here are strongly drawn and interesting. Although the women tend to be the unbreakable sea glass, the men drive the plot.
I recommend this book for readers of literary fiction and reading groups, the last because Shreve offers history, metaphor, and multidimensional issues - much to talk about. Pass on this if you are in the mood for a page-turner.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
for those of us who actually love the peace and calm of walking a beach and collecting sea glass, also called mermaid's tears by some, tied to a well written and cohesive story of... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Cindy S. Suchanek
I enjoyed Sea Glass very much, when I found it, and I've shared other copies. I'm finding more A.S. novels to be about strange men fouling up innocent lives, though and worry (I'm... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Wade Dizdar
Entertaining book. Had me rooting for certain characters for surePublished 5 months ago by Kristin K
This was the first book I have read by this author and I was disappointed. The pace of the book was slow; the character development was somewhat vapid and I found the writing style... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Soap Snob
This the first book I've read by this Author. A very moving and beautifully written book. More of her books will be landing on my KindlePublished 8 months ago by V.M.
Well I was hoping for a happy ending but I did not get it.
This was not a book for someone to read with a happy ending. It as also ended abruptly. Read more
Characters well developed and diverse. Riveting story about love, violence, betrayal, loyalty, and friendship. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Christine Sanford