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Sea Glass Hardcover – Large Print, Apr 9 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (April 9 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316733733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316733731
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 717 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,826,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

From its opening pages, Anita Shreve's Sea Glass surrounds the reader in the surprisingly rich feeling of the New Hampshire coast in winter. Vividly evoking the life of the coastal community at the beginning of the Great Depression, Sea Glass shifts through the multiple points of view of six principal characters; it's a skillfully created story of braided lives that bounces easily (even inevitably) from character to character. We learn how these lives come together following the stock market crash of 1929 and about the struggles of mill workers on the starkly beautiful New Hampshire coast during the following year. At the novel's center is the story of Honora Beecher, a young newlywed who compulsively collects sea glass along the beach as she collects unexpected friendship in her new beachside community, and Francis, a boy who discovers a father figure in the towering character of McDermott, an Irish mill worker, at a time when he most needs direction. Each character finds unexpected new purpose beyond the struggle to survive during that turbulent year among the dunes. First their lives barely touch, then they intersect, and finally they become inextricably bound. By the powerful and unexpected final scenes of the story, every point of view, every brilliant shard of life depends deeply on all the others. It is a very satisfying read--confidently told and deeply felt--with as many subtle colors and reflections as the sea glass that permeates the narrative. --Paul Ford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In addition to spinning one of her most absorbing narratives, Shreve here rewards readers with the third volume in a trilogy set in the large house on the New Hampshire coast that figured in The Pilot's Wife and Fortune's Rocks. This time the inhabitants are a newly married couple, Sexton and Honora Beecher, both of humble origins, who rent the now derelict house. In a burst of overconfidence, slick typewriter salesman Sexton lies about his finances and arranges a loan to buy the property. When the 1929 stock market crash occurs soon afterward, Sexton loses his job and finds menial work in the nearby mills. There, he joins a group of desperate mill hands who have endured draconian working conditions for years, and now, facing extortionate production quotas and reduced pay, want to form a union. The lives of the Beechers become entwined with the strikers, particularly a principled 20-year-old loom fixer named McDermott and Francis, the 11-year-old fatherless boy he takes under his wing. A fifth major character is spoiled, dissolute socialite Vivian Burton, who is transformed by her friendship with Honora. As Honora becomes aware that Sexton is untrustworthy, she is drawn to McDermott, who tries to hide his love for her. The plot moves forward via kaleidoscopic vignettes from each character's point of view, building emotional tension until the violent, rather melodramatic climax when the mill owners' minions confront the strikers. Shreve is skilled at interpolating historical background, and her descriptions of the different social strata the millworkers, the lower-middle-class Sextons, the idle rich enhance a touching story about loyalty and betrayal, responsibility and dishonor. This is one of Shreve's best, likely to win her a wider audience. 6-city author tour. (Apr. 9) Forecast: Expectations of brisk sales, indicated by the one-day laydown, will likely be achieved. Readers should find timely resonance in the setting of 1920s economic turbulence.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charles Slovenski on Jan. 9 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a page turner which combines historical details and engaging characters with widely different backgrounds and motivations into a cohesive and shocking tale that reverberates with good intentions.
Set in New England during the Depression, a young salesman, Sexton Beecher marries a bank clerk, Honora. The names are important: they echo time, heritage and personality and thereby keep this story on track. She is everything her name implies, that is, honorable, lovely, intelligent, curious, and clever. She begins a collections of colorful glass that has been washed up on the beach. The salesman, a rogue, is attractive and persuasive but flawed by self delusion. Living in a beach house outside a mill town, they are beset with financial and emotional problems. Anita Shreve creates an exciting dramatic situation by uniting their upper-class neighbor, a communist trade union organizer and two mill workers, a twelve year old boy and a thoughtful, kind man with the Beechers. Their common goal is to help others cope with intense poverty, and a mill workers strike. The efforts of the strikers is rewarded by violence and death.
It is a very attractive story, rich in detail and held together most deeply by the character of Honora and the colors of her sea glass, beautiful things which endure the chaos of the time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Agusto-Cox on Sept. 9 2003
Format: Paperback
As many reviewers have noted, Sea Glass is a quiet and slow read, but that is the beauty of the novel. It creates a nostalgic feeling--I can almost see the expression on my grandmother's face when she remembered the Great Depression.
Each character may or may not be developed enough for some readers, but they characters are there to support the main plot, much like the supporting actors in many movies or the marginal actors in films.
Honora Beecher, a naive young woman, marries Sexton, a husband with less than adequate ethics and behaviors. Her struggle to find peace and joy within her home mirrors the struggles of the mill workers as they battle management in an attempt to garner higher wages and better working conditions. Honora wishes for the same things in her own life.
This book signifies the struggle of the period and its individual characters, because despite the depression, people's lives were not entirely consumed by just the larger economic state of the country.
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Format: Paperback
I wasn't sure what to expect after I read the back cover of this book but since it was a gift and I was ready to start my summer reading, I thought I would dig in. I knew if after the first 20 pages I wasn't crazy about it, I wouldn't go through with it.
I was pleasantly surprised once I began. I really enjoyed the variations of having each chapter being told through a different characters point of view, yet they weren't choppy and all intertwined to create one omnicient perspective. When I realized the time period the story was taking place in, I felt a little skeptical that I knew what was coming next. I was hoping it woulnd't be any Depression era story and my wish was granted. I felt the trials and tribulations that people had to endure from all walks of life was realistic, and tying in a few historical facts with beautifully written prose made this story a good summer read.
I never would have picked an Anita Shreve book myself but after this read I'm really looking forward to picking up another. I recommend this to people who enjoy Barbara Kingsolver's style and variation on character perspective, yet someone who is in the mood for something new, read this before the summer is over.
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Format: Paperback
I have read several Anita Shreve novels and have never been disappointed. Sea Glass has the ability to bring to life the smell of the sea and the brilliant colors of the glass. The kinetic imagery of the water and the wind is intense. I loved that!
I think Shreve is so unique in the creation of her female characters. They are such strong women. I don't know if it is the stream of consciousness narration from Vivian and Honora that makes their emotions so clear to the reader or the everyday experiences that let the reader relate to them on a common plain.
The scenes are so well-constructed that you can literally feel the tension in the characters. When Honora and Sexton are together the first time you can feel the anxiety in Honora and the urgency in Sexton. Later, in the house when they are printing the papers and everyone knows that something is going to happen with the strike, I found myself gripping the book so hard my hands hurt.
There aren't many writers who have the talent to create such heavy characters and move them through heavy scenes without overwhelming the reader. And the great thing about Shreve is she is consistent. So far, every book I have read has been perfect.
Note: This book is one of three that take place in the same house but different time periods. I am not sure in which order she wrote them but chronologically they are: Fortune's Rocks, Sea Glass, and The Pilot's Wife.
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Format: Paperback
Honora Beecher collects sea glass off the coast of New Hampshire. Fragments of clear, blue and green bottles -- boat trash, she thinks to herself -- find their way to the sandy beach where Honora is making a life with her new husband Sexton Beecher. It's the late 1920s, and they are buying into the American dream as deeply as they know how. He is a typewriter salesman. She works full-time to make their scruffy fixer-upper a home, while waiting, hopefully, to get pregnant.
Anita Shreve's latest novel, Sea Glass, starts out in these idyllic terms. Loving husband, hard-working couple, a first home, a satisfying hobby. It's a world infused with gadgets from the past, like a copiograph machine, the precursor of the photocopier, and with the habits of the past -- like making all your own dresses.
Sea Glass might, on the most superficial inspection, seem to be another one of those historical romances that view the past, especially the '20s and '50s, as the "wonder years," a safer and more innocent time than the one we live in now.
But Shreve's novel steers well clear of that shoal. Instead, this intriguing novelist seems bent on showing us that the 1920s were just as scary and unpredictable as our own times. The headlines Honora reads every morning suggest a world just as close to spinning out of control as the one most readers are familiar with today. Dozens die over the Fourth of July weekend, many in fireworks accidents. Others drown or crash their cars. With no warning, a ship explodes in the harbor, killing half a town. Soon the fragile harmony of the Beechers' perfect lives, seemingly unflawed by the kind of moral turbulence we experience in the 21st century, is blown apart by the stock market crash and a subsequent union strike.
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