Published by Hogarth on May 26, 2015
Genres/Lists: Fiction, #30Authors
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I received this book for free from the publisher.
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Sara Taylor’s debut novel, The Shore, has been getting some rave reviews and I was thrilled to snag a copy of it. Set in a remote set of islands off the coast of Virginia, it offers up a series of short stories that overlap to create a wonderful novel about the importance of home, the conflicting desire to run away and stay where you are, and the joys and sorrows that come with living in a small town where everyone knows everything about you. Although the book takes place over the course of a century, it is anchored by a single location and each character’s story is rooted in the same history.
Thanks to Sarah over at Sarah’s Bookshelves, I went into this book knowing that the character flow would be a little tricky and that I should take notes about who is who and why they matter. Normally, this type of extra legwork would turn me off of a book, but in this case it was worth the effort. Even without keeping track of everyone, the book offers up richly developed characters that are able to stand on their own, but taking the time to get the complete picture upgrades the book from good to great.The Shore by Sara Taylor is a wonderfully complex novel that will grab you early on. Click To Tweet
What I loved about this book was the underlying social commentary about small town life and the impact of time, tourism, and the economy on the welfare of the shore’s inhabitants. Although this certainly isn’t something that is discussed in depth, the individual tales of the characters ultimately tell the story of a town that rode the booms and busts over the years and how they impacted the psyche of the characters. I don’t know if this was intentional or whether the author just intuitively put these things together, but it added a level of complexity to an already complex novel and I love her for it. Her insight into the changes of human behavior were on point. Here’s an example of what I mean: “But something happens in the gap between boy and man to turn all that sweetness bitter.”
Recommended for: To paraphrase (with permission) Sarah over at Sarah’s Bookshelves, anyone who appreciates an intricate novel but that isn’t afraid of commitment.