Thrilling Thursday: The Shore

Posted 28 May, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in books and publishing, Reviews

Thrilling Thursday: The ShoreThe Shore by Sara Taylor
Published by Crown/Archetype on May 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, Literary, Sagas
Pages: 320
Goodreads
five-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Shore: a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it's a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian's bold choice to escape an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her, to a brave young girl's determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, the characters in this remarkable novel have deep connections to the land, and a resilience that only the place they call home could create.

The Shore is a remarkable piece of fiction. I love finding debuts that are so compelling and readable. Told in a series of interwoven narratives, many of the pieces can stand alone as short stories, but when you put them all together there is something truly special to be found in the novel as a whole. It fills a hole that has been gaping in southern gothic fiction and even more delightfully it’s filled by a young woman with much promise.

This book reads a little like Rebecca Makkai’s The Hundred Year House, in the sense that it is a family saga that isn’t necessarily told in a linear order. But The Shore is something more than that as well, it’s about the deep bonds and petty hatreds that can build in a small community throughout time and the way just one resentment can destroy an entire community.

I know in the finished edition there is a family tree (or a series of family trees) but I enjoyed sketching out who was related to whom on my own. It was a fun exercise in puzzle solving, so if that’s your bag, maybe ignore those family trees and then check your work at the end.

Absolutely a must read.

What about you, Reader? Have you been needing some southern gothic in your life? Have you read The Shore? Does it sound like something you might need to get to soon? Don’t forget we’re going to have an EPIC conversation about this one on The Socratic Salon next month!

 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

15 Comments/ : , ,

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  • I would have liked to have the family tree! Or, just known in advance that this one would be a puzzle. I had no idea going in (I actually didn’t even realize it was interlinked stories rather than a coherent novel until a few chapters in) and just kept getting frustrated in the first couple chapters. Once I figured things out, though…it was such a gorgeous and compelling read. A re-read is in store for me for sure somewhere down the line.

    • I would have been totally frustrated too going in blind like that (though usually I try to do it that way). I suspect a re-read is in store for me too one day 🙂

  • I’m hoping to get to this one before the Salon discussion! Everyone is loving it!

  • I also enjoyed making my own family tree while reading, BUT it would be nice to check my work at the end! I truly can’t believe Sara Taylor is only 24… that’s some amazingness FOR SURE.

  • Why does the cover remind me of American Psycho? Hahahah

  • Oh, I love what you said about the deep bonds and petty hatreds over time – such a great theme we see through this one! I can’t wait to have a big old chat about it.

  • OK, OK, OK…I am completely humiliated to be the only TSS member who hasn’t read this but I know you won’t be surprised to know that I’m just waiting until next month when I can then swoop in and comment the hell out of the discussion. 😉 Seriously, you are making this sound so amazing.

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  • Hi, ancient review. How’s it going? 😉

    I just wanted to say that I too loved trying to figure out all the relationships and family ties on my own! It added an extra layer to the reading experience.