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Summer People Paperback – 28 Jun 1990

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (28 Jun. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140122893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140122893
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.9 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,125,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
THE NOISE from outside broke loud and sudden, as if somebody had begun cutting a superhighway through the woods. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
Superficially this thoroughly readable book deals with the triangle of relationships between the three main characters, living in what appear to be idyllic rural Cape Cod surroundings: Willie, an easy-going Southern-born political artist, his wife Susan, mother of two grown-up children and a textile designer with unfulfilled socially upward longings, and Dinah, a passionately committed avant-garde composer, who came into their lives ten years ago as a neighbour and subsequently formed a menage-a-trois with them, which has now unravelled. We learn first about the apparent reason for the break-up (Susan's growing dissatisfaction with her perceived isolation on the Cape from all that she considers intellectually and aesthetically, professionally and materially worthy in life); Piercy then chronicles their lives over the following year from the early winter blizzard that indirectly acted as a catalyst for the break-up to Christmas celebrations enjoyed by members of the various new family structures that have come into existence over that period. It soon becomes apparent that Willie and Dinah are also at an emotional and professional crossroads in their lives and each chapter is written from each main character's perspective. The underlying theme is "family" -blood or otherwise (and particularly their own local community), parent and child and the motivation that this has given each of them to become, or failed to become, what they now are - and as regards the three of them, how this affects their views on art and their take on their own, and the others' artistic talents. One of the things I enjoyed most was trying to work out which of the character(s) had the "right" view on particular events - a psychological detective story.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book years and years ago and really enjoyed it. I tried to buy it on Amazon but haven't been able to get hold of it. My daughter sometimes goes to the States and I asked her to look for it there but she had no luck either. I'd love to review it but as it's quite some time since I first read it I shouldn't pass judgement.
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Format: Paperback
Another great novel from Marge Piercy tracking the transitoriness of emotion and relationships between 3 people in a summer.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
terrifically entertaining 18 Dec. 1999
By flame - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Remember the old Agatha Christie books that began with a cast of characters/suspects? This book begins the same way -- which is fitting, since with Piercy the odd mix of characters is what propells the action, and the readers' interest. In this novel, seven or eight characters whirl through twelve-month's time in a small town on Cape Cod. Domestic bliss is challenged by the usual obstacles: envy, longing, and the common desires of the heart. Rifts arise between lovers and strangers come together. Small events set in motion the breakup of families. I didn't find the book especially deep or thought-provoking, but it's definitely entertaining -- something to read at the beach or on rainy evenings.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A great read 19 Oct. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book by Marge Piercy is one her better outings. I enjoy her work but her feminist agenda sometimes overides her work. Summer People revolves around the friends, family and lovers of three Cape Cod artists. Susan, Willie and Dinah have been involved in menage a trois that is terminated as the book's action begins. This is partly because of Susan's relationship with a rich summer resident Tyrone has veered into an unhealthy obsession that is ultimately her downfall. Ironically it is this change that allows the other characters to move forward with their lives. Peircy is a good writer and the book is full of juicy observations on the characters and and their interactions. Tyrone is a wonderfully drawn, and it is interesting how Susan never sees the true nature of the man,a selfserving and manipulative user under a polished exterior. However Susan's son Jimmy reveals a dark character as well. This is one part of the book that is very perceptive.I have personally seen the children of parents who depend on the largesse of others grow up to have an expectation things can be "bought" using yourself to pay. In all a really good read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Nurturing escape 21 Nov. 2003
By Sokste - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book when I read it several years ago, and it comes back to me from time to time. I like her take on what is sustainable and wholesome in life. I enjoyed watching the progress of their characters through the particular journeys we see them take. I loved her Pesach dinner. And the honesty with which she holds her characters. Low-key delight.
1 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Wishful Thinking on the Cape 1 May 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a novel about Cape Cod, a narrow peninsula that projects into the Atlantic from southeastern Massachusetts. Cape Cod residents depend on a freshwater aquifer that is constantly threatened by pressure from the surrounding saltwater. There is a mysterious quality about this water that makes the locals have sex frequently and in all sorts of combinations, and it is always very good. This unusual phenomenon is irresistibly appealing to a recent graduate who wants to apply the formulas learned in the creative writing seminar at Cape Cod Community College. The exercise has all the depth of an expanded version of a TV guide synopsis of the daytime soaps. One character appears to be developed with some complexity, but her problem is dismissed casually and accurately by another character as the result of menopausal depression.
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