Maine Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Jun 14 2011
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"You don’t want the novel to end in July. You want to stay with the Kellehers straight through to the end of August, until the sand cools, the sailboats disappear from their moorings, and every last secret has been pried up." —Lily King, The New York Times Book Review
"I have never stayed at this cottage in Maine, or any cottage in Maine, but no matter: I now feel I know what it's like being in a family that comes to the same place summer after summer, unpacking their familiar longings, slights, shorthand conversation, and ways of being together. J. Courtney Sullivan's Maine is evocative, funny, close-quartered, and highly appealing." –Meg Wolitzer, author of The Uncoupling
“An ideal summer read. . . . Gives us . . . characters we can care about, despite their sometimes too-familiar flaws.” —USA Today
“Attentive to class distinctions and hierarchies, as well as historic pressures and family dynamics, Sullivan presents women who may be stubborn and difficult, but she does so with such compassion and humor that we, too, end up rooting for them. Even if Maine weren't set on a beach, it would be a perfect beach book.” —Chicago Tribune
"Sullivan’s smarts shed light on topics all families deal with, but her tasteful approach on the tough ones (particularly modern-day religious issues) shine through. The cast of quirky characters will have you laughing out loud and aching for their regrets in the same chapter, pining for more pages when it comes to an end." —MarieClaire.com
"Maine’s brisk storytelling, and the unfurling of its central mystery . . . sweep readers along with gratifying sink-into-your-deck-chair ease." —Entertainment Weekly
"Curl up with this wry, absorbing novel and eavesdrop on a summer’s worth of secrets, feuds, and misunderstandings." —Parade magazine
"Ms. Sullivan’s follow-up to her best-selling novel, Commencement . . . follows adult children who gather at their beach cottage in Maine to sip that familial cocktail of misery and love. . . . Once the women are together, the fuse is lighted. Ms. Sullivan locks the doors and waits for the explosion." —The New York Times
"[Sullivan] validates the old adage that you can pick your friends, but you are stuck with your relatives. This is a powerful, evocative story, beautifully written to reveal raw human emotions. . . . Fresh and lively. . . . This is a well-crafted story about destructive family relationships and shameful behavior, loaded with tension, secrets, booze, marital conflict, stinging arguments, and some very funny scenes." —The New Maine Times
"Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan is a powerful novel about the ties that bind families tight, no matter how dysfunctional. Sullivan has created in the Kelleher women a cast of flawed but lovable characters so real, with their shared history of guilt and heartache and secret resentments, that I’m sure I’ll be thinking about them for a long time to come." –Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot
"Everyone has dark secrets. It’s why God invented confession and booze, two balms frequently employed in Sullivan’s well-wrought sophomore effort. Alice Brennan is Irish American through and through, the daughter of a cop, a good Catholic girl so outwardly pure that she’s a candidate for the papacy. . . . As Sullivan’s tale unfolds, there are plenty of reasons that Alice might wish to avoid taking too close a look at her life: There’s tragedy and heartbreak around every corner, as there is in every life. . . . Sullivan spins a leisurely yarn that looks into why people do the things they do—particularly when it comes to drinking and churchgoing—and why the best-laid plans are always the ones the devil monkeys with the most thoroughly. The story will be particularly meaningful to Catholic women, though there are no barriers to entry for those who are not of that faith. Mature, thoughtful, even meditative at times—but also quite entertaining." –Kirkus
"At the heart of this compelling novel of three generations of women emotionally stunted by fate and willful stubbornness is the family vacation property in Cape Neddick, ME, where the Kellehers have convened for six decades. . . . In her second novel (after Commencement), Sullivan brilliantly lays out the case for the nearly futile task of these three generations of badly damaged Irish Catholic women seeking acceptance from one another." –Library Journal
"Sullivan creates deeply observed and believable [characters]. . . . Moody matriarch Alice, her uninvolved hippie daughter Kathleen, brown-nosing daughter-in-law Mary Ann, and newly-single, thirtysomething granddaughter Maggie each has a simmering-below-the surface inner-monologue that lights a spark, and Sullivan makes sure we can only anticipate an explosion. Sullivan gracefully meets the challenge of crafting a cast clearly pulled from the same DNA soup, without a clunk or hitch in the machinery." –Booklist
About the Author
J. Courtney Sullivan is the author of the New York Times best-selling novel Commencement. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune, New York, Elle, Glamour, Allure, and Men’s Vogue, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Alice's daughter-in-law, Ann Marie, has done her best, for the 35 years of her marriage, to earn a place in the family and Alice's affections. Deep down, Ann Marie has no great affection for the Kellehers, but she is a good Irish Catholic girl----and Ann Marie covets that summer home.
Alice's first child, Kathleen, broke away from her family after her beloved father's death, and moved to California. Kathleen has been on the wagon for over 20 years and has achieved relative serenity through a good relationship with her partner of 10 years, yoga, healthy living and various self-help mantras, not to mention keeping away from her poisonous mother and the unhealthy rivalry she has with Ann Marie. Kathleen's daughter, Maggie, is notoriously bad at choosing men and finally ends her relationship with her latest disaster shortly after learning she is pregnant.
As with most family dramas, this one introduces us to the characters and gives us each one's point of view.Read more ›
Souce: Personal Ebook
Maine chronicles the paths of three generations of woman, living with family secrets and uncertain futures. Maine, is the location of the Kelleher family beach house where many memories have been made both good and bad. Four generations later and Alice, the family matriarch doesn't understand why her family is so distant. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the characters, and we see the Kelleher family through each of their eyes. As we get to know Alice, we learn that she has many grudges against her own children; her grandchildren are seen as an extension of their parents. Alice never wanted to become a mother, never felt that she was right for the role, after the death of her sister, she was married six months later to a man she grew to love. The guilt and loss of her sister remains with her to this day, a secret she wishes to keep. She raised her children the best she could, never keeping many criticisms to herself. If you were her family member, and you gained 5 pounds'you heard about it. Divorce should not be an option, even if your husband cheated on you. Kathleen is one of her children and not Alice's favorite by any means. When Kathleen's father fell sick, he confided in Kathleen, leaving Alice bitter. Daniel passed away ten years ago, but Kathleen and Alice have never been able to repair their relationship. Kathleen is now in California, running a successful business with the money her father left her while her family mock her from afar. Maggie is Kathleen's daughter- currently single, and pregnant. Maggie reluctantly goes to Maine to clear her head and figure out where she needs to go from here, the downside is seeing her grandmother but she is sure she can manage.Read more ›
The family's summer residence is in Maine, close to Ogunquit and Perkins Cove. The matriarch of the family, Alice, lives there and the various members of her family, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren visit during the long summer vacation. I know the area where this is set very well and the descriptions of the locality are totally authentic even down to the local restaurants visited, which helped me to identify quite strongly with this book.
The main narrators are Alice herself, Kathleen her daughter, Kathleen's daughter, Maggie and Ann Marie, Alice's daughter in law. The story is really about personal relationships which are explored in great depth and we gradually learn how the present day situation between the family members came about. Some of the relationships are quite tense, but somehow, and rather against the odds, they all generally seem to manage to stay on speaking terms with each other and with some semblance of politeness! The main characters are developed very well by the author and we really get under their skin and understand their personal motivations and aspirations and how these often contrast with the way they are perceived by other members of the clan.
This is a very well written family saga. It is interesting reading from the start, but I would say the interest increases as you progress through the book and understand more about the Kellehers. I was quite disappointed when I got to the end as I would happily have read a lot more about this fascinating family.
Most recent customer reviews
A little slow at first, but still good. Love this author's style.Published 16 months ago by Danielle Lalonde