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Compass Rose

Compass Rose

3.5 9
by John Casey

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A Providence Journal Best Book of the Year
A Seattle Times Best Book of the Year 
John Casey follows up his National Book Award-winning novel Spartina with an extraordinary return to the marshes of Rhode Island’s South County.  
Elsie Buttrick, the prodigal daughter of Sawtooth Point, has just given

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Compass Rose 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Compass Rose is a novel about a small town in Rhode Island and centers around Rose. Rose is the daughter of Elsie, a free-spirited ranger, and Dick, a married and well respected local fisherman. Both are deeply entrenched in South County with ties binding them tightly on all sides. When Dick's wife unexpectedly decides to make Rose a part of her life, Rose quickly becomes the darling of their circle and the center around which everyone orbits. Compass Rose is a quiet, contemplative character study of a book. Its all about the choices the women have and the choices they make to love and grow and to be at peace with their lives. I did like the characters and often thought Casey had hit the mark on their thoughts and feelings. I haven't read Spartina, so I can't make the obvious comparisons. I do wish more had happened in Compass Rose, in the end it didn't really feel like much had occurred. It seemed as if the book started in the middle of the story and then ended in the middle too. Nothing was really resolved and it felt more like a 356 page short story than a novel. Still, nice writing and very well drawn characters make me not sorry that I read the book. I am very tempted now to pick up Spartina.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KenDahl More than 1 year ago
My eyes watered and my throat got tight as I read the last few pages. Mostly because I don't often get to read so powerful a novel. Partly because it might be the last novel I'll ever read by this amazing man, John Casey. Not because I expect to die before he finishes another, but because I imagine we both will, so slowly and painstakingly does he write. Exquisitely wrought fiction for which the reader can only be deeply grateful. Most novels, even including some literary novels, are like a Breugel painting--large emotions broadly depicted. Compass Rose is like a Morandi still life--subtle, exquisite, the nuanced rendering of human emotion in all of us, just all too seldom focused on. This novel is not about great events, nor about great people. What happens in this novel is not unlike what happens to all of us . . . I almost said "to the least of us," except that Casey shows that none of us are least. What is felt in this novel is what we all feel in the course of our ordinary lives, but in an instant it's gone, never recorded but long remembered, albeit inarticulately. John Casey's fiction is like a portrait by a painter--precise, detailed, showing rather than telling, providing the emotional records we can't keep for ourselves. John Casey's fiction is exhilarating, not because he tells magnificent stories, but because he magnifies the great beauty of ordinary people so we, at last, can see it, and thereby see ourselves. John Casey practices the very highest form of art. Compass Rose etches the richly felt lives of three ordinary women, just as Spartina did for one ordinary fisherman, with whom those three women were directly or indirectly involved. It is often mentioned that Compass Rose is a sequel to Spartina, but could be read independently. What ought to be said is that Compass Rose is a monumental novel, and that later reading Spartina would illuminate it but could hardly eclipse it--Compass Rose is THAT good!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Sawtooth Point, Rhode Island, Game Warden Elsie Buttrick gives birth to Rose. Elsie loves Rose's father her neighbor, fisherman Dick Pierce, but cannot marry him as he already has a wife May and two children. Although much of the small town condemns Elsie for having a child out of wedlock, she holds her head up high while raising her daughter as a single mom. May on the other hand feels publically humiliated by her husband's betrayal. Over the next decade and a half outgoing and optimistic Rose wins over all of those who scorned her mother; Even May loves the precocious girl. As Elsie and Dick stay attached through lust that some might say is love; a depressed May turns to her sons and Rose while dedicating her life to making their small part of the Sawtooth Point human ecosystem that they reside in better. This is a direct sequel, though it can stand alone, to the award winning Spartina. The story line is obviously character driven mostly by the three females pierced together by the man in their lives. Readers will relish the return to the Narragansett Bay estuary to visit the extended family of Dick Pierce although no one appears to be punished for their excesses; instead even Peirce seems rewarded due to sunshine Rose, a teen Mary Poppins. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Spartina. I slogged through this book, forcing myself to finish it. I found the writing rambling and awkward and the plot uninteresting.