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Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine: A Novel Paperback – May 17, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (May 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393332357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393332353
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Memorably stirring and authentic.” (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

“Accomplished and emotionally affecting.” (Chicago Tribune)

“Deals with the intricacies of infidelity, cancer, insanity, marriage, growing old, accepting death, and just plain accepting yourself.” (Elizabeth Wurtzel - Seventeen)

“Not just another 1960's novel... it is the story of life, of living, and of three unforgettable women as they struggle to find their way from one era to another.” (Judy Isenhour - Salisbury Post (N.C.))

“A lovely novel... Hood creates characters so arresting one wishes each of them were principals of longer novels.” (Peggy Constantine - Chicago Sun-Times)

“Provocative... an intriguing work.” (Publishers Weekly)

From the Publisher

5 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Ann Hood is the author of the bestselling novels THE RED THREAD, THE KNITTING CIRCLE and SOMEWHERE OFF THE COAST OF MAINE. Her memoir, COMFORT: A JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF, in which she shares her personal story of losing her 5 year old daughter Grace in 2002, was a New York Times Editor's Choice and named one of the top 10 non-fiction books of 2008. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
This book was an easy read.
A. Hendrix
They are the kind of women that I'd be interested in knowing a little better than the sketch that I was given in this book.
Busy Mom
I read this book a LONG time ago, and I have been searching for and reading Ann Hood ever since!
Carl Roebuck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By lmullowny@aol.com on May 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Spare style and quick, witty dialog all make Somewhere Off The Coast Of Maine a refreshing read. Three womens' lives have become intertwined through family and fate. Long gone are the sixties of their rebellious youth, but they still keep their memories close to their hearts as a loved one keeps a snippet of hair in a locket. We learn the values of these memorable characters through their children; family plays an important role in this novel. Sad at times, funny at other times, the novel is one to breeze through quickly and effortlessly, yet the reader is still left with a sense that they have read a classic novel of the human condition. I highly recommend this novel as a change of pace for anyone bogged down by heavy books, or not able to get "INTO" a new book. An excellent choice of reading material.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Busy Mom VINE VOICE on April 8, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though it's not my favorite book of this year, but it was a pleasant, quick read. I wish that Ms. Hood had written in depth about her characters ~~ instead, I got a fuzzy image of each one of them, which is disappointing because she could write more about Claudia, Elizabeth, Suzanne, Sparrow and Rebekah. They are the kind of women that I'd be interested in knowing a little better than the sketch that I was given in this book.
Claudia, Elizabeth and Suzanne were friends in college during the 1960s. Then one summer, each of them fell in love and got pregnant for the first time. Claudia and Elizabeth remained friends, while Suzanne moved to Boston to raise her daughter Sparrow alone. Claudia and Elizabeth married their respective lovers and raised families on a gorgeous farm ~~ with crabapple trees and daisies on that farm. Suzanne left her lover Abel because she refused to have an abortion ~~ and in turn became a hard, brittle woman whose daughter could never understand. Elizabeth also had a daughter Rebekah ~~ that she tried to understand but it wasn't till she was diagnosed with cancer that she was able to finally reach out to her daughter.
There is a thin story line here ~~ and that alone is disappointing. Ms. Hood could have written more about Elizabeth and Rebekah, Suzanne and Sparrow, and Claudia's inability to let go of her son who drowned. The ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
If you're looking for a quick read and something light, then I would recommend this book. It is well-written, but there isn't enough substance there to hold your imagination like a good author tries to do. It quite doesn't match up to my expectations of what a good book should do. It is sufficient enough if you need something light to read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Carl Roebuck on May 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book a LONG time ago, and I have been searching for and reading Ann Hood ever since! Maybe it was my age and maturity - whatever - when I read it, but I LOVED it! I'd highly recommend this or any Ann Hood to everyone. For me, it was an eye-opening look into the woman's side of things. It made me think, and changed my point of view in a big way.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By a reader on June 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Though not deep literture by any stretch of the imagination, this book made me fall in love with Ann Hood. The themes explored here (the sixties, lost idealism, familial relations, the complexity of romantic relations) are frequent themes in her novels. so much so, that they become fairly redundant after awhile. this, however, is her best outing. Rather than probing deeply into the pysches of her characters, Hood instead takes the reader on an entertaining skim of thier surafaces, which are interesting enough to make the read a pleasant one. this book is kind of like a well made tv movie: insubstantial but entertaining, impossible to turn away from once you're hooked. an earlier reviewer compared the style to those of Ann Tyler or Alice Hoffman. I think thats an accurate comparison, although Hood may even be a little more accesible due to the fact that the novel is zippier and less bogged down in ulitmately irrevelent detail.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Janet Steinberg on October 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book could have been great had the characters been better developed and their motivations better explained. Up to the last line, I kept waiting for something to happen, and felt "taken" at the end. The storyline was barely held together, and I did not like the women at all, even the ones I was supposed to sympathize with - Skip it!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this novel and Hood's "Three-Legged Horse" and "Something Blue" a few years ago. They are simple, slight novels that take only a short time to read, but they have lived with me since, becoming almost iconic.
I am not particularly good at remembering plots or names, but fragments - the lobsters that a child thinks have been brought home to be pets which are then boiled alive... the child struck dumb by the fear inspired by the bizarre death of his father, and the death itself - remain with me always.
At the time I was reading these, I was also reading Alice Hoffman and Anne Tyler, with whom Hood has similarities. I prefer Ann Hood, of the three.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Privacy, Please on March 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book has a lot of interesting characters that it tells about in short bursts of vignettes. The story focuses on three female college students in the 1960s: Suzanne, who rebels against her prim and proper upbringing by running off with a poor poet; Elizabeth, who rebels by choosing to live a responsible life true to her ideals of peace, vegetarianism and ecology; and Claudia, who's just wild and rebellious, period. Unfortunately, each of these women suffers a tragedy. Suzanne's relationship breaks up when she refuses to have an abortion and, cut off from her family support, she becomes a struggling single mom with a daughter who doesn't understand her. Claudia loses a child and loses some of her sanity as a result. Elizabeth gets cancer and also has a daughter, Rebekah, who rejects her ideals and is embarrassed by her "hippie" parents.

Hood's prose is spare, yet descriptive and is very pleasant to read, yet if you stop to think deeply about what you're reading you begin to wonder about it. For example, the descriptions of Suzanne working hard all day to be the top performer in a business management position, then picking up her baby daughter from day care and going home to work on restoring an old house all evening, simply doesn't ring true. No woman could keep up that superhuman effort on all fronts for as long as Suzanne apparently does to become a success. I also wondered why her daughter didn't seem to have any sense of how hard Suzanne had had to work to look after her - could a kid really be that un-aware? The story would have made more sense if Suzanne had cast herself back on her disapproving parents' doorstep.
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