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Amy & Isabelle Paperback – 9 Jun 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; Reissue edition (9 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849833044
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849833042
  • Product Dimensions: 0.1 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

"It was terribly hot the summer Mr. Robertson left town." For Amy Goodrow and her mother, Isabelle, the heat of that summer is the least of their problems. Other citizens in the New England mill town of Shirley Falls are bothered by the heat and by "other things too: Further up the river crops weren't right--pole beans were small, shrivelled on the vine, carrots stopped growing when they were no bigger than the fingers of a child; and two UFOs had apparently been sighted in the north of the state." But Amy and Isabelle have a more private misery: a seemingly unbridgeable chasm has opened between this once-close mother and daughter and nothing will ever be the same again. For Amy has fallen in love with her high-school maths teacher, Mr. Robertson, who has gone way beyond the bounds of propriety by encouraging the crush. When Isabelle finds out, she is horrified to realise that her anger at him is dwarfed by her rage at her own daughter for "enjoying the sexual pleasures of a man while she herself had not."

Mother-daughter novels can, by virtue of their subject matter, often seem claustrophobic, a little overwrought; Elizabeth Strout masterfully avoids this problem by placing Amy and Isabelle in the larger context of the community they inhabit. Though her main focus is on the Goodrow women, Strout often detours into the lives and thoughts of her many secondary characters: Isabelle's coworkers Dottie Brown and Fat Bev; Amy's best friend, Stacy Burrows; Stacy's ex-boyfriend, Paul Bellows; and women from Isabelle's church such as Peg Dunlap and Barbara Rawley. She also introduces a chilling frisson of menace with the unsolved abduction of a12-year-old girl and a mysterious obscene phone caller. Like the best of Alice Hoffman, Amy and Isabelle offers up a moving yet resolutely unsentimental portrait of people coming to terms with their lives, finding unsuspected nobility in themselves and unexpected kindness in others along the way. Elizabeth Strout has written a gem of a novel. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'One of those rare, invigorating books that take an apparently familiar world and peer into it with ruthless intimacy, revealing a strange and startling place.' (The New York Times Book Review on Amy & Isabelle)

'A novel of shining integrity and humour' (Alice Munro on Amy and Isabelle)

'Strout's prose propels the story forward with moments of startlingly poetic clarity.' (The New Yorker on The Burgess Boys)

‘As perfect a novel as you will ever read . . . So astonishingly good that I shall be reading it once a year for the foreseeable future and very probably for the rest of my life’ (Evening Standard on Olive Kitteridge)

‘Strout animates the ordinary with astonishing force’ (The New Yorker on Olive Kitteridge)

‘Masterfully wrought’ (Vanity Fair on Olive Kitteridge)

‘Strout has a wonderful ability to turn a phrase…[these] pages hold what life puts in: experience, joy, grief, and the sometimes-painful journey to love’ (Observer on Olive Kitteridge)

'I am deeply impressed. Writing of this quality comes from a commitment to listening, from a perfect attunement to the human condition, from an attention to reality so exact that it goes beyond a skill and becomes a virtue. I have never read her before and I knew within a few sentences that here was an artist to value and respect' (Hillary Mantel on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'Strout's best novel yet' (Ann Pachett on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'An exquisite novel... in its careful words and vibrating silences, My Name Is Lucy Barton offers us a rare wealth of emotion, from darkest suffering to - 'I was so happy. Oh, I was happy' - simple joy' (Claire Messud, New York Times Book Review on My Name is Lucy Barton)

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