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Sea Glass: A Novel
by Anita Shreve
ISBN 0316089699 / 9780316089692 / 0-316-08969-9
Publisher Back Bay Books
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From its opening pages, Anita Shreve's Sea Glass surrounds the reader in the surprisingly rich feeling of the New Hampshire coast in winter. Vividly evoking the life of the coastal community at the beginning of the Great Depression, Sea Glass shifts through the multiple points of view of six principal characters; it's a skillfully created story of braided lives that bounces easily (even inevitably) from character to character. We learn how these lives come together following the stock market crash of 1929 and about the struggles of mill workers on the starkly beautiful New Hampshire coast during the following year. At the novel's center is the story of Honora Beecher, a young newlywed who compulsively collects sea glass along the beach as she collects unexpected friendship in her new beachside community, and Francis, a boy who discovers a father figure in the towering character of McDermott, an Irish mill worker, at a time when he most needs direction. Each character finds unexpected new purpose beyond the struggle to survive during that turbulent year among the dunes. First their lives barely touch, then they intersect, and finally they become inextricably bound. By the powerful and unexpected final scenes of the story, every point of view, every brilliant shard of life depends deeply on all the others. It is a very satisfying read--confidently told and deeply felt--with as many subtle colors and reflections as the sea glass that permeates the narrative. --Paul Ford [via]