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The House by the Sea: A Journal Paperback – January 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393313905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393313901
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

May Sarton (1912-1995) was an acclaimed poet, novelist, and memoirist.

More About the Author

May Sarton is the pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton (May 3, 1912 - July 16, 1995), an American poet, novelist, and memoirist. Her parents were science historian George Sarton and his wife, the English artist Mabel Eleanor Elwes. In 1915, her family moved to Boston, Massachusetts. She went to school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and started theatre lessons in her late teens. In 1945 she met her partner for the next thirteen years, Judy Matlack, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They separated in 1956, when Sarton's father died and Sarton moved to Nelson, New Hampshire. Honey in the Hive (1988) is about their relationship. Sarton later moved to York, Maine. She died of breast cancer on July 16, 1995. She is buried in Nelson, New Hampshire.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
A sparkling gem amoung the dusty tomes!
Gina House
Simply a superb observation of everyday in an idyllic setting by an insightful and honest author.
"reader_123"
What a wonderful book, one I will share with all my friends and keep to go back to all my life.
Dona Ryan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By "reader_123" on May 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Simply a superb observation of everyday in an idyllic setting by an insightful and honest author. I agree with other reviewers that May Sarton's best work is in her journals. She allows herself to have all of her emotions, unabashedly vulnerable as they occur. She beautifully describes simple things we miss in our everyday life yet also explores to the innermost layers some of the complexities and ponderous questions life brings. I was fortunate to find a brief biography of May Sarton in a used bookstore some 15 years ago and she became an important part of my inner life since then. I have framed on my desk a card she wrote in response to letter from me. A gracious, courageous but very real woman who gave much to her art.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
The House by the Sea: A Journal
After Nelson, New Hampshire, Sarton sought what she thought would be a totally "different" life as far as neighbors, company and the like in York, Maine. She was in her mind seeking "personal space". In this succinct journal Ms. Sarton chronicles her "new home" and life in Maine with often great detail and a wide range of emotions. While I am not particularly found of Journals, this one drew me in. I, too, yearn for the harsh ocean environment that the house at York afforded Sarton; the seasons; working in the garden(s);and, relaxing in those veranda recliners and gazing out over the field of tall grass to the ocean(glass of wine in hand). A most excellent piece. If you are not a Sarton reader, this will bring you into the fold.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Dona Ryan on February 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Gina -- like you I just discoverd May Sarton with A House By the Sea. I loved every word, every page. She expressed to me how hard it is to be aging, to be alone, to be an artist but she also showed how to LIVE and savor each day, each moment. I loved the joy she took in the little things of life. I wanted to be there with her, a silent companion. What a wonderful book, one I will share with all my friends and keep to go back to all my life.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on March 24, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sarton achieved some interesting mixed results with this journal, which was intended as a journal of happiness. She positioned it as a counterweight to her book A Journal of a Solitude which was clearly, well, *not* about happiness.

I can see why some people find it irritating to read, although I never do. She contradicts herself frequently-- complains of how she never gets time to herself and then runs around the Eastern seaboard like a bandersnatch. She can be prey to muddled thinking and faulty logic and sounds as though she'd be a real pain to be around much of the time.

But still, it's inspirational to read as someone who wants to keep a journal. It's not a constantly ecstatic experience in the way that Annie Dillard can be or an idea journal in the vein of Walden, it's more like reading somebody fumbling through towards bigger ideas and willing to expose the joints and creaky bits in the process. There are moments of vision and transcendence, but also a lot of the petty crap that gets people down from day to day.

I like reading Sarton because she is so human. I feel like I miss her even though I never knew her, and reading her is like getting to know her-- in all her fulness as a flawed and talented human being.

I'd probably begin with A Journal of a Solitude, as I think it's the more complete work, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this as a follow-up.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the book which introduced me figuratively and literally to May Sarton! I saw this title in a bookstore and looked through it. WHAT A TREASURE this book became. May Sarton has the ability to cast light across darkness in such a way that the reader is revitalized and nourished. Inner strength is rediscovered. Life is redefined - routine events reclaim their original joy. What is old becomes refreshed. What a gift May Sarton continues to give through her work: life is to be lived and used and appreciated and given for as long as one can. *The House By The Sea* celebrates life, its beauty, serenity and joy. Sarton was most alive when she created life through her work. This theme resonates in all her work and teaches by demonstration the importance of exploring the inner self to find abundance.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Robuck on October 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
Sarton's masterworks are her journals -- all of them. In many respects, she defines the difference between the diary form and the journal form by exploring the great abstractions and mysteries of life itself, rather than a day-to-day exploration of events, people and places. Sarton is unflinching in exploring ugliness, loneliness, frustration, and the pain of growing older, but as she says in her introduction, writing about the negative aspects of life is much easier than exploring the beautiful aspects of life. This journal, unlike her earlier 'Journal of a Solitude,' explores, defines, and comes to grand resolutions regarding beauty. May Sarton well deserves to be classified as the major journal writer of her era.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gina House on February 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was so lucky to come across this book in the library. A sparkling gem amoung the dusty tomes! I savored every page, every image that May conveyed through her delicate, honest words. A beautiful book for anyone who seeks to know how a simple life can be so full. Highly recommended!
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