Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Summit Avenue Paperback – May 1, 2000


See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$11.50 $0.01

The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg
The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg
Parisian and iconoclast George Sand is brought to life in this historical novel which includes the writer's relationships with Frédéric Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugène Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Marie Dorval and Alfred de Musset. Learn more | See similar books
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566890977
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566890977
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Kathrin Albrecht's childhood in Germany at the turn of the century was so relentlessly grim that she endures the hardships of her new life in America--sewing flour bags for pennies, sharing a bed at a boarding house--without complaint. Eventually, she takes night classes in English. She begins to haunt second-hand book shops, and here catches the eye of a professor's widow, Violet Waverly, who turns out to be both the fairy godmother and the prince of this complex and subtle Cinderella tale. Mary Sharratt's debut has almost none of the typical faults of first novels. Her language is lush but controlled, her narrative carefully paced. Nothing is rushed or condensed. Recognizing the young woman's intelligence, and intrigued by her thirst for knowledge, Violet hires Kathrin for a few months' work translating and typing the German fairy tales that her dead husband had collected. She also offers her a room in her mansion on Summit Avenue. Kathrin enters the magical world of the fairy tales and of her beautiful new surroundings with the same breathless sense of surrender. As she works, the tales become part of her:
layers and layers inside me. What I would take with me when I left this house was far more precious than the ability to type. The tales would become my secret treasure.... I knew I was living under a spell but no longer resisted it. It covered me like a wave, sweeping me off the shore and drawing me deep into the ocean.
As with all fairy tales, there is no smooth, sunlit path for Kathrin--or even for Violet, whom she must betray--but there is at least the promise of a happy ending. --Regina Marler

From Publishers Weekly

In this remarkable debut, Minnesota native Sharratt--coordinator of the Munich Writers Workshop--weaves dark, evocative fairy tales and passionate longings into an incandescent coming-of-age story. Orphaned by the age of 16, German native Kathrin Albrecht is sent to America in 1912, where she barely ekes out a living sewing flour bags for the Pillsbury Mill in Minneapolis. Finding sanctuary in an antique bookstore, she befriends the owner, Jan Jelinik, and his nephew, John, who, as immigrants, face similar struggles. While John troubles Kathrin by reminding her of her outsider status, he also introduces the young woman to one of his wealthy American customers, Violet Waverly. A professor's widow, Violet hires Kathrin to assist her with one of her husband's unfinished projects--translating foreign fairy tales--offering her salary, room and board in the Waverly home on Summit Avenue, an upper-class enclave of St. Paul, and irrevocably transforming Kathrin's world. The two lonely women forge an unusual connection that grows into a symbiotic companionship, fulfilling needs that neither individual fully discloses until Violet crosses a line that abruptly forces Kathrin into a relationship with John. As Kathrin's emotional world crumbles around her, she finds an inner strength and discovers the answer to her yearning for a genuine loving relationship. Sharratt infuses Kathrin's story with sensuality, insight and poetic observation: "Flat-bottomed, curly-topped prairie clouds were sailing like steamships across the deep blue sky." These and other haunting images, as well as her inspired use of folklore and mythology, add depth to this potent tale. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
79%
4 star
17%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
4%
See all 24 customer reviews
It's definitely character oreintated--the plot unfolds at a leisurely pace--but a great read.
Joanna Hazelden
The story is a tender, tumultuous, very feminine meditation on love, desire, identity, self-exile, consciousness, and cultural transition and growth.
G. Hyduke
Mary Sharratt's moving and poetic novel is a paean to the healing power of story in its most timeless form as fairytale.
Elizabeth Cunningham

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
A beautifully written novel, combined with impeccably accurate and interesting historical content! Novels timed at the turn of the century, about women loving women, are rare. Even rarer are those that are realistic, interesting, and of high quality - this book is on the mark in all three of those areas. I appreciated the twists and turns, and particularly the study of a relationship with a large age difference. Mary Sharratt is a truly gifted writer. I often found myself crying. Both feeling and relating to the emotions of the characters so intently.
From a local and historical perspective, I particularly enjoyed the story. I work in Minneapolis, right in the area referenced in the novel. From my office I look out to the beautiful, Stone Arch Bridge and St. Anthony Falls. I have also lived near the Summit Avenue area in St. Paul and it is dear to my heart. How rich it was to imagine the Twin Cities area, where I have lived my entire life, as it was at the turn of the century; and this time envisioning a story that could have been mine - a woman working through her sexuality, and falling in love with a woman.
I expected the typical morbid ending so often portraid in gay-themed literature and movies. I was pleasantly surprised that the ending leaves room for hope, and for a sequal! My hope is that there will be one!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Cunningham on July 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mary Sharratt's moving and poetic novel is a paean to the healing power of story in its most timeless form as fairytale. Kathrin, an impoverished young German immigrant arrives in pre-World War I United States to find work in the industrial mills of Minnesota. She is of course, also The Beautiful Mill Girl of fairytale. Driven by both literal and figurative hunger, she soon leaves the mill to work for an enigmatic older woman, a beautiful sorceress, as a translator of German tales. As her own story unfolds, fairytale becomes a thread to follow through a disorienting, sometimes frightening labyrinth. When her life unravels, torn apart by the conflicting demands of inner and outer life, longing and conventional morality, it is through story that she mends and makes amends, reweaving body and soul into a new, triumphant, surprising whole.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Sharratt's first book is a wonder; she manages to combine highly refined prose with a lush sensuality. Against her backdrop of history and fairy tales, Sharratt weaves a tale of the magic of everyday life. A book to become lost in.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mary Sharratt's new book , Summit Avenue , is a great novel about a German immigrant to the USA . Kathrin Albrecht, a German teenager when her mother dies, emigrates to the USA to start her American dream. The historical detail about Minneapolis is very fascinating, and the reader gets a better understanding of the living conditions of young female immigrants to the USA in the beginning of the 20th century. The details about Germans in the USA during WW1 are interesting. Also very fascinating is the use of fairy tales throughtout the book. The book is divided into 3 sections, and each section has a fairy tale that forms the backbone of this specific phase Kathrin goes through in life. The fairy tales are vry different from the fairy tales one reads a lot these days -- they are full of original images, and do not have a happy ending. They have nothing in common with the happy endings we know from Walt Disney. The real end of the book however is very beautiful, full of hope and love.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sarah D. Scalet on August 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm not often lucky enough to come across a book that has such subtle and complex underworkings and is also so compelling -- a literary page-turner. It's a beautiful piece of work with endearing and unforgettable characters. If you love fairy tales and have an open mind, don't read too much about it; just read it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A.M. Hartmann on June 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
It's refreshing to finally find a novel that tells you something new about a city that you already know. Fascinating is the journey back to the Twin Cities' past, the view of Summit Avenue from a historical perspective. Particularly unique is the foundation of traditional European fairy tales on which the novel is based and the lyrical style which envelopes it. Unlike many historical novels, the strong points of Summit Avenue include a fast-paced plot, believeable, larger-than-life characters and a surprising story line. This is not your usual sappy historical romance novel, but a strong story still full of contemporary relevance. Kudos to a first novel well-deserved of the accolades it's already received.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Hazelden on August 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
This appealed to me on a variety of levels. It was told in 1rst person, by a woman who was an immigrant, coming of age in an alien society. It was a historical novel that offered insight into America's shift from Old World to New World Values (not always a good thing!) and taught me something about people's attitudes towards WWI. It's also a love story and the intertwining of Kathrin's story with the fairy tales was wonderful. It's definitely character oreintated--the plot unfolds at a leisurely pace--but a great read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
This novel is complex and ambitious, at once a historical novel, a highly unconventional romance, and an exploration of the fairy tales that illuminate and transform the heroine's journey. This haunting story will linger with you long after you have finished reading it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Mary Sharratt is an American writer who lives with her Belgian husband in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, the setting for her acclaimed 2010 novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, which recasts the Pendle Witches of 1612 in their historical context as cunning folk and healers.

Previously she lived for twelve years in Germany. This, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medicine, inspired her to write her most recent novel, ILLUMINATIONS: A NOVEL OF HILDEGARD VON BINGEN, which explores the dramatic life of the 12th century Benedictine abbess, composer, polymath, and powerfrau.

Winner of the 2005 WILLA Literary Award and a Minnesota Book Award Finalist, Mary has also written the acclaimed novels SUMMIT AVENUE (Coffee House 2000), THE REAL MINERVA (Houghton Mifflin 2004), THE VANISHING POINT (Houghton Mifflin 2006), and co-edited the subversive fiction anthology BITCH LIT (Crocus Books 2006), which celebrates female anti-heroes--strong women who break all the rules. Her short fiction has been published in TWIN CITIES NOIR (Akashic Books 2006).

Mary writes regular articles for Historical Novels Review and Solander on the theme of writing women back into history. When she isn't writing, she's usually riding her spirited Welsh mare through the Lancashire countryside.



What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?