Anita Shreve's new novel Sea Glass
represents a remarkable advance. She previously caught the attention of many readers with Fortune's Rocks
and The Pilot's Wife
, beautifully crafted novels with rich and subtly observed characterisation. But however impressive those books were, Sea Glass
has the same adroit creation of character, but the prose is even more rich and allusive. This is a story of the human heart, of the demands of the past, and of the necessity for pragmatism in human relationships. It's 1929, and Honora Beecher and her husband Sexton are enjoying their new marriage in a cottage on the coast of New Hampshire. Honora is renovating the rundown property and searching for pieces of coloured glass washed up on the beach. Sexton attempts to buy the house they both adore, but with disastrous results: like many other Americans, he is a victim of the stock market crash and is financially wiped out. He is forced to work in a nearby mill, where a labour conflict is having violent results. The couple's struggle to maintain their marriage in the face of dangerous forces that threaten to overwhelm them is vividly and poignantly told.
Shreve has written nine novels and throughout her work she has painstakingly honed her storytelling skills with elegance and intelligence. She is particularly skilful at depicting interlocking lives, as in Sea Glass, and adroitly invests each with its own portion of love and tragedy. If you want to be one of the "early adopters" of Shreve's cherishable novels, now is the time:
In the wet sand by her foot, a bit of colour catches her eye. The glass is green pale and cloudy, the colour of lime juice that has been squeezed into a glass. She brushes the sand off and presses the sea glass into her palm, keeping it for luck.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A beautifully visualised novel of emotional discovery (SUNDAY TIMES
Shreve skilfully unfolds her story of interlinking lives, displaying an intimate knowledge of the workings of the human heart (WOMAN AND HOME
A finely written story of human beings pushed to the edge (SUNDAY MIRROR
When violence erupts, the ensuing tragedy is all the more heartbreaking when described with Shreve's polished restraint (DAILY MAIL