Off Season

Off Season

3.5 103
by Anne Rivers Siddons
     
 

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For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly--happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story does...in loss. After Cam's death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the remote coast of See more details below

Overview

For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly--happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story does...in loss. After Cam's death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the remote coast of Maine, the place where they fell in love over and over again, where their ghosts still dance. There, she looks hard to her past--to a first love that ended in tragedy; to falling in love with Cam; to a marriage filled with exuberance, sheer life, and safety-- to try to figure out her future.

It is a journey begun with tender memories and culminating in a revelation that will make Lilly re-evaluate everything she thought was true about her husband and her marriage.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Siddons's stirring novel, the recently widowed Lily Constable returns to her childhood summer home in Maine to sift through formative memories of her parents and her first love. It's difficult to imagine a more marvelous performance than Jane Alexander's. Alexander captures the strength and vulnerability of Lily from childhood to late middle age, and perfectly renders the physical weight of Lily's grief at her losses. She skillfully navigates the novel's cast of characters, from the slow, deep and thoughtful drawl of Lily's father to the high-pitched, false charm of the vicious young neighbor whose poison darts put tragic events in motion. Alexander also brings to life the great unnamed character in the book-the natural world, giving voice to birds and even a talking cat, and intuitively understanding the life-giving power of the sea. This is an example of how a good novel can become magnificent when it is beautifully told. A Grand Central hardcover (reviewed online). (Aug.)

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Library Journal

Returning to her beloved Maine home to scatter her husband's ashes, Lilly reconstructs her past and makes peace with her future. Fourtime OscarA Award nominee Jane Alexander uses her acting chops to keep New York Times bestselling author Siddons's (Sweetwater Creek) sweetly sentimental story from toppling into sappiness. She imbues Lilly's childhood voice with selfabsorbed innocence, gradually morphing it into that of an adult. When Lilly's husband arrives, her father's importance dwindles-a good thing, since their voices were indistinguishable. While this isn't Siddons's best, her descriptions will have listeners hearing the birds and smelling the ocean. Public libraries should purchase. [Also available from Books on Tape. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11A½ hrs. ISBN 9781415958858
—Jodi L. Israel

Kirkus Reviews
A widow returns to her family cottage in Maine, her late husband's ashes and ornery cat in tow, and ponders her first experience of love and loss. Siddons frames the story around the sudden death of Cam McCall, Virginia architect, while at his wife Lilly's Maine seashore cottage, Edgewater. Though portrayed as eminently trustworthy, Cam has, unbeknownst to Lilly, visited the unheated cottage many times during the "Off Season" while supposedly traveling elsewhere on business. After wrangling about the disposition of Cam's cremains with her spoiled yuppie daughters, Lilly heads north with Silas, Cam's cranky, subliminally conversational cat, and the urn. In her cottage, Lilly revisits the pivotal summer of 1962, when, a wiry 11-year-old tomboy, she led a gang of other kids on a spate of mostly wholesome outdoor activities, occasionally ruffling feathers in this WASP-ruled vacation enclave. Lilly's preadolescence is thorny. She's overshadowed by her charismatic painter mother, who yearns to enter Jackie Kennedy's social circle, and her father, a professor at George Washington University, is too supportive to rebel against. On a lonely ramble to a nearby cliff, Lilly encounters a boy named Jon and is immediately smitten. The two are inseparable until a prissy, meddlesome neighbor child, Peaches, exposes the fact that Jon's father is Jewish, a secret his father had kept from him and his mother. Shocked by the deception, Jon sails into a fog in Lilly's sailboat, and drowns. Lilly retreats into a cocoon of denial and becomes obsessed with underwater swimming. Her isolation is exacerbated when her mother dies of breast cancer and her father keeps her cloistered in benevolent but stiflingdomesticity as the turbulent '60s unfold. In contrast to Siddons's usual heroine, who struggles to achieve self-sufficiency, Lilly is overcome by passivity, which deepens as she's repeatedly blindsided by loss. The inadequately foreshadowed surprise ending involves an ultimate betrayal that will dismay readers almost as much as it does Lilly. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh/William Morris Agency
From the Publisher
"Mix the lyricism of Siddons's prose; the intense, yet restrained voice of Oscar-winning actress Jane Alexander; and the mysteries of the untamed Maine coastline -and you have the makings of a magical voyage...."—AudioFile

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446527873
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
08/12/2008
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

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