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The Resource Body surfing : a novel, Anita Shreve

Body surfing : a novel, Anita Shreve

Label
Body surfing : a novel
Title
Body surfing
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Anita Shreve
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing once again, she has answered an ad to tutor the teenage daughter of a well-to-do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage. But when the Edwards' two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destructive web of old tensions and bitter divisions. As the brothers vie for her affections, the fragile existence Sydney has rebuilt for herself is threatened
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • Shreve's latest features the same seaside New Hampshire house that appears in three of her best novels (The Pilot's Wife, 1998; Fortune's Rocks, 1999; and Sea Glass, 2002). Now it's the place where 29-year-old Sydney comes to heal from her turbulent romantic life. Once divorced and once widowed, she is still reeling and feels unable to continue with graduate school. Instead, she's taken a summer job tutoring the sweet but slow youngest child of a wealthy architect; she is made to feel like a part of the family by the gracious Mr. Edwards and like a paid servant by the more status-conscious Mrs. Edwards. For her part, Sydney is almost afraid to let go of her mourning for her second husband, afraid that she will lose the only connection to him that remains. But then the Edwards' two older sons turn up, and both are intent on drawing Sydney out. They teach her to night surf and ply her with witty conversation and good food and wine. She soon becomes caught between the two brothers, who engage in an intense bout of sibling rivalry, with devastating consequences. In simple yet eloquent style, Shreve portrays the arc of a complicated romantic relationship, from infatuation to betrayal. What's more, she builds in a palpable sense of suspense as well as a deep empathy for human frailty. The ever-skillful Shreve delivers yet another gripping read that will satisfy her many fans and earn her some new ones. -- Joanne Wilkinson (Reviewed 01-01-2007) (Booklist, vol 103, number 9, p24)
  • Deceptive love and stark betrayal form the icy core of this dark 12th novel from Oprah-anointed (The Pilot's Wife ), Orange Prize finalist (The Weight of Water ) Shreve. Set adrift at 29 by the sudden death of her second husband (her first divorced her), smart, underemployed Sydney (no last name) signs on for a quiet New England oceanfront summer of tutoring 18-year-old Julie, the intellectually slow but artistically talented and strikingly beautiful daughter of the fractious Edwards clan. The family includes Julie's brothers—35-year-old Boston corporate real estate man Ben and 31-year-old M.I.T. poli-sci professor Jeff—and the three children's parents. Sydney is half-Jewish, and Mrs. Edwards is anti-Semitic. Family tensions escalate when Julie disappears, then resurfaces in Montreal as the lesbian lover of 25-year-old Helene (a body surfer who frequented the beach near the Edwardses' home). Jeff and Sydney bond during their search for Julie, nights of passion leading to plans for a joyous wedding, which get very complicated when the couple returns to Edwards central. Shreve's devastating depiction of the family's dissolution—the culmination of sublimated jealousies suddenly exploding into the open—is wrenching. Shreve's omniscience is asserted with such ease that it often feels like she's toying with her characters, but her control is masterful, particularly in the sure-handed and compassionate aftermath. (Apr.) --Staff (Reviewed February 12, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 7, p61)
  • /* Starred Review */ Already once divorced and now recently widowed, 29-year-old Sydney Sklar looks at a tutoring job at a New Hampshire beach house as the perfect escape from pain and grief. But the Edwardses offer more—and less—than she would have hoped for, in this latest from Shreve (A Wedding in December ). Helping 18-year-old Julie Edwards prepare for the SATs becomes a complex undertaking as Sydney realizes that Julie is slow and, as hard as she tries, will never be accepted at the prestigious colleges Mrs. Edwards prefers. Mr. Edwards loves his garden and his daughter, and he makes Sydney yearn to be part of a family. With the arrival of Julie's much older brothers, Ben and Jeff, the path for Sydney becomes as precarious as the shoreline where she revels in body surfing. An activity Sydney finds both distracting and exhilarating, body surfing requires precision timing that means the difference between a perfect ride and getting slammed. When both brothers show an interest in her, Sydney finds herself caught up in a giant—and unpredictable—wave that has devastating consequences. Shreve's beautifully drawn tale of family and connection will leave readers feeling a bit slammed themselves: against the vagaries of life and the rocky shoals of love. A winner; highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/06.]—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal --Bette-Lee Fox (Reviewed February 1, 2007) (Library Journal, vol 132, issue 2, p64)
  • The cottage on the New Hampshire coast that housed the protagonists of The Pilot's Wife (1998) and Sea Glass (2002) makes a poignant setting for Shreve's tale of a young widow thrown into a fraught family drama.At 29, Sydney Sklar has already been married twice. She's well aware of the irony that she divorced a pilot because of his dangerous profession, only to have her second husband, a brand-new doctor, drop dead of a brain aneurysm after eight months of marriage. Bad twists of fate lurk in Shreve's dark narrative, full of glancing references to car accidents and old tragedies the cottage has seen. Sydney is there for the summer to tutor Julie, the sweet but "slow" late-life child of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards (rarely referred to by their first names). Sydney is fond of the girl and her father; she and Mrs. Edwards share a mutual dislike. The tension ratchets up with the arrival of Julie's much older brothers: 35-year-old Ben, a corporate-real-estate agent, and 31-year-old MIT professor Jeff. Sydney doesn't care for Ben, whom she thinks groped her when the brothers took her body surfing at night, and she's disturbingly attracted to Jeff, who has a gorgeous girlfriend. The two make an emotional connection looking for Julie one night when she's late coming home; they make love for the first time (Jeff's dumped the girlfriend) on the evening Julie runs off to Montreal to live with a lesbian lover no one knew she had. Ben reacts to Sydney and Jeff's engagement with outrage that seems excessive until the novel's shocking dnouement, which leaves Sydney to remake her life for the third time. Seen exclusively through her eyes, the other characters are vivid but ultimately opaque, so the novel seems somewhat solipsistic. As a portrait of a woman belatedly coming of age after being buffeted by fate, however, it's well drawn and will satisfy Shreve's fans.Not one of this crowd-pleasing author's best, but a solid, workmanlike B-plus effort. (Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2007)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
159224
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Shreve, Anita
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3569.H7385
LC item number
B63 2007
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Divorced women
  • Widows
  • Tutors and tutoring
  • New Hampshire
Target audience
adult
Label
Body surfing : a novel, Anita Shreve
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
295 pages
Isbn
9780316067331
Lccn
2006031133
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 71800554
  • (OCoLC)71800554
Label
Body surfing : a novel, Anita Shreve
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
295 pages
Isbn
9780316067331
Lccn
2006031133
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 71800554
  • (OCoLC)71800554

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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