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Stern Men [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Gilbert
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

Ruth Thomas's life is enriched by the eccentric islanders she lives with in Elizabeth Gilbert's rewarding debut novel Stern Men. The author describes the trials and tribulations in the lives of lobstermen on a remote island off the coast of Maine as seen through the eyes of Ruth, the young daughter of a "stern man". Daily life is tough and grinding; some sink while others swim. The hothouse atmosphere creates an environment of seeming contradictions in the struggle for survival: jealousy and compassion; love and hate; life and death.
Lobstermen fight over every cubic yard of the sea. Every lobster one man catches is a lobster another man has lost. It is a mean business, and it makes for mean men. As humans, after all, we become that which we seek.

Life is also suffocatingly dull and limited, especially for someone as feisty and intelligent as Ruth. But an oddball assortment of friends and neighbours help Ruth to reconcile her mixed feelings about island life and to decide her future (and, in turn, her decisions have a rippling impact on everyone). There is the troop of loveable but not-very-bright Pommeroy brothers who live next door; the water-fearing Senator Simon Addams who spends his summers organising searches for an elephant's tusks in the mudflats; and the handsome but uncommunicative Owmey Wishell who begins to capture her heart.

"Stern Men" is almost parable-like in its plotting and the writing is solid and so evocative that the sea air blows out from the pages. It is suffused throughout with believable dialogue and gentle humour and contains a wealth of historical and practical information--including timely observations on the behaviour of the lobsters themselves. "Stern Men" is a memorable and unusual novel. --Christina McLoughlin

Amazon Review

Ruth Thomas's life is enriched by the eccentric islanders she lives with in Elizabeth Gilbert's rewarding debut novel Stern Men. The author describes the trials and tribulations in the lives of lobstermen on a remote island off the coast of Maine as seen through the eyes of Ruth, the young daughter of a "stern man". Daily life is tough and grinding; some sink while others swim. The hothouse atmosphere creates an environment of seeming contradictions in the struggle for survival: jealousy and compassion; love and hate; life and death.
Lobstermen fight over every cubic yard of the sea. Every lobster one man catches is a lobster another man has lost. It is a mean business, and it makes for mean men. As humans, after all, we become that which we seek.

Life is also suffocatingly dull and limited, especially for someone as feisty and intelligent as Ruth. But an oddball assortment of friends and neighbours help Ruth to reconcile her mixed feelings about island life and to decide her future (and, in turn, her decisions have a rippling impact on everyone). There is the troop of loveable but not-very-bright Pommeroy brothers who live next door; the water-fearing Senator Simon Addams who spends his summers organising searches for an elephant's tusks in the mudflats; and the handsome but uncommunicative Owmey Wishell who begins to capture her heart.

"Stern Men" is almost parable-like in its plotting and the writing is solid and so evocative that the sea air blows out from the pages. It is suffused throughout with believable dialogue and gentle humour and contains a wealth of historical and practical information--including timely observations on the behaviour of the lobsters themselves. "Stern Men" is a memorable and unusual novel. --Christina McLoughlin

Review

'Finding an Austen heroine in a lobster boat - an irreverent and observant young woman, reeking of bait - is one of many delights delivered by Elizabeth Gilbert in Stern Men, her beautifully wrought and very funny novel' Mirabella 'Ruth loves her island with a heroine's passionate wisdom, but she falls in love with a boy from the enemy island, the enemy clan... There's Romeo and Juliet in the drama of the young lovers' Los Angeles Times 'Elizabeth Gilbert has been described by Annie Proulx as a "writer of incandescent talent". She justifies this assessment in Stern Men... Gilbert's poise in constructing a plot and her feeling for her characters make it a worthy successor to Pilgrims which won a series of first-fiction awards' Glasgow Herald

Review

'Finding an Austen heroine in a lobster boat - an irreverent and observant young woman, reeking of bait - is one of many delights delivered by Elizabeth Gilbert in Stern Men, her beautifully wrought and very funny novel' Mirabella 'Ruth loves her island with a heroine's passionate wisdom, but she falls in love with a boy from the enemy island, the enemy clan... There's Romeo and Juliet in the drama of the young lovers' Los Angeles Times 'Elizabeth Gilbert has been described by Annie Proulx as a "writer of incandescent talent". She justifies this assessment in Stern Men... Gilbert's poise in constructing a plot and her feeling for her characters make it a worthy successor to Pilgrims which won a series of first-fiction awards' Glasgow Herald

Product Description


On two remote islands off the coast of Maine, the local lobstermen have fought savagely for generations over the fishing rights to the ocean waters between them. Young Ruth Thomas is born into this feud, the daughter of one of the greediest lobstermen in Maine. Eighteen years old, as smart as a whip, and irredeemably unromantic, Ruth returns home from boarding school determined to throw her education overboard and join the 'stern-men'. As the feud escalates, she helps work the lobster boats, brushes up on her profanity, and eventually falls for a handsome young lobsterman. A funny, sparkling novel of unlikely friendships and family ties, Stern Men captures a feisty American spirit through this unforgettable heroine who is destined for greatness despite herself.


Stern Men was a New York Times Notable Book.

Book Description

On two remote islands off the coast of Maine - Courne Haven and Fort Niles - generations of local lobstermen have fought each other over who has the right to fish the waters that divide them. Their unlikely saviour is eighteen-year-old Ruth Thomas, a smart, resilient, irredeemably romantic woman who avoids her destiny with a passion that serves only to draw it closer to her. 'Finding an Austen heroine in a lobster boat - an irreverent and observant young woman, reeking of bait - is one of many delights delivered by Elizabeth Gilbert in Stern Men, her beautifully wrought and very funny novel' Mirabella 'Ruth loves her island with a heroine's passionate wisdom, but she falls in love with a boy from the enemy island, the enemy clan . . . There's Romeo and Juliet in the drama of the young lovers' Los Angeles Times 'Elizabeth Gilbert has been described by Annie Proulx as a "writer of incandescent talent". She justifies this assessment in Stern Men . . . Gilbert's poise in constructing a plot and her feeling for her characters make it a worthy successor to Pilgrims which won a series of first-fiction awards' Glasgow Herald

Synopsis

Ruth Thomas, a spunky young woman born into the midst of a feud between two factions of Maine lobstermen, manages to negotiate an end to the conflict.

About the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Pilgrims, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. She works as writer-at-large for GQ, and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. Her stories have been published in Esquire, GQ and the Paris Review.
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