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The Country of the Pointed Firs Paperback – November 3, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Jewett's 1896 novel and selected stories about the fictional town of Dunnett Landing in rural Maine.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"Immense? It is the very life." --Rudyard Kipling --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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.
The book begins with the narrator's arrival in Dunnett Landing, a village that had thrived in the seafaring era that the Industrial Age had all but eclipsed. She had visited it as a child and has returned to it for the solitude it affords a writer. At the center of the book is her landlady, Mrs. Todd, an herbalist who does brisk business as the town's pharmacist of folk remedies. Through her the narrator comes to know aged sailors whose day has passed and the people who live even more remotely than the Dunnett Landing folks, on the outlying islands. She hears of the most extreme case, a woman who had fled to the outermost island to live as a hermit for years after a disappointment in love. At a large family reunion that serves as the book's climax, the narrator sums up what she has learned about the intersection of people, time and place.
A word about this particular edition of The Country of the Pointed Firs: It is something of an enigma. The cover begins interestingly enough, a photograph of a shoal of beached rowboats, a common sight in Maine harbor towns framed by what appears to be a handwritten page from a notebook set with a brown background to the black ink. But then it gets a bit strange, with an oddly worded, unfinished description of the contents set on the first cover, and set off by even odder punctuation. Inside, it is devoid of all publishing identification and there is no dedication, there is a plain title page, followed by a contents page followed by another plain title page in a different font, and then, the first page of the book appears on the back of that, on the left side. The paper looks and feels like copier paper; in fact, it looks like it was produced on a photocopier. There is a catalogue listing for other minor classic texts produced by the same publisher and the descriptions are, again, oddly worded. That said, aside from a couple of offset lines and odd treatment of punctuation here and there, I had the sense that the text was ultimately complete.