The Opposite Shore

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Which would be worse: losing your husband or your only sister? Rose, a forty-something wife and mother, has never asked herself this question. But one Saturday afternoon, she comes upon her husband, William, and her sister, Anna, locked in a fiery kiss. And the answer to this question rings in her ears: worse still would be to lose one to the other.

Devastated by the betrayal, Rose moves with her teenage daughter to Shelter Island for the ...
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Overview

Which would be worse: losing your husband or your only sister? Rose, a forty-something wife and mother, has never asked herself this question. But one Saturday afternoon, she comes upon her husband, William, and her sister, Anna, locked in a fiery kiss. And the answer to this question rings in her ears: worse still would be to lose one to the other.

Devastated by the betrayal, Rose moves with her teenage daughter to Shelter Island for the summer. As she struggles to build a new life as an artist, Rose grows ever more isolated from her sister and her husband. Until an unexpected storm brings her face to face with the two people she loves and hates the most...
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Editorial Reviews

Hal Jacobs
Is it worse to lose your sister or your husband? That's the question Maryanne Stahl poses in The Opposite Shore (New American Library, $12.95 paperback) after a 40-some-thing woman discovers her husband and sister locked in a kiss on her husband's sailboat. Rather than confront William and Anna, Rose moves to a nearby island community with her teenage daughter and rebuilds her life around her emerging painting career.

In alternating chapters, Stahl, a native New Yorker who lives near Atlanta, shows the weight of days and weeks pressing on her characters as a result of their choices. William, an English professor in New Haven, must decide if he should leave everyone behind and accept a one-year post as visiting professor at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Anna contemplates quitting her job at a nature center to crew on schooners sailing across the Atlantic.

Slowly, a sense of balance returns. And just as a stormy kiss shattered their relationships in the first place, a stormy sea brings everyone back together in an arrangement that no one could have foreseen.
Journal-Constitution, September 7, 2003

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451215567
  • Publisher: Signet
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 4.44 (w) x 6.56 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Maryanne Stahl, a former college English teacher and native New Yorker, lives with her husband and son near Atlanta, where she is an artist.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2004

    Wonderful, full of emotion.

    I thought this was wonderful. I have to say, 'I hated Anna'. Why would someone (a sister) be so, so...stupid? That's not the word I am looking for. Why would she be selfish? There were so many things I blamed her for while reading this. I was amazed that as the story unfolds how my attitude changed and how I could see ALL the sides of the story. I wouldn't of thought I would of been somewhat sympathetic to all of these characters in different ways. I also fell in love with the island. I could smell the ocean and wished I was there. This is an amazing book and I loved feeling apart of this. I didn't find myself asking questions once I was finished...the way I do with so many books. I felt it was complete and very satisfying. I can only say that the relationship these people had was one I would never be able to handle! Great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2003

    Gentle Realism and Realistic Romance

    Maryanne Stahl¿s new novel, The Opposite Shore, begins aboard the Ariel, a sailing boat, on Memorial Day, on the first family sail of the summer. Rose and William, their sixteen year old daughter Miranda, and Rose¿s sister, Anna, have spent every summer sailing the Ariel since William inherited the boat from his father. Rose spends her time aboard the boat thinking of painting. Her husband and sister are passionate sailors; Rose sees sailing as one of the unspoken accommodations, small sacrifices, that one makes in adjusting to a partner. In the first two chapters, Stahl deftly presents a ¿pretty good¿ marriage, decent people who love each other, who have arrived at a series of unspoken compromises. They respect each others work: Rose is a painter, William is a university lecturer. They are both committed to their daughter and her welfare. They both realise they have a satisfactory life, a satisfactory marriage, and that to expect more is part of the romanticism of youth. Anna, like her sister, has settled for what is available. She has satisfactory work and the companionship of her sister and her sister¿s family. Only Miranda, a selfish and self-centered sixteen year old, still expects a ¿brave new world¿ with wonders in it. This Memorial Day, things change. Rose discovers her husband and sister exchanging their first kiss. Angry and hurt, Rose insists her husband leave the family home and refuses to speak to her sister. This novel, like Stahl¿s first novel, examines the complexities of family life. She looks at the relationship of a parent and child, of sisters, as well as that of husband and wife. The kiss, and its discovery, cannot be isolated from all that has preceded it. When her lawyer offers to lend Rose his island cottage, she takes her unwilling daughter and goes to the island. Rose settles in, paints, and tries to deal with the practical and emotional debris left by her feelings of betrayal. But Rose is not simply an innocent party in a romantic triangle. There are no `bad guys¿ in the novel. There are three adults, likeable, decent and responsible, bewildered by something they thought would never happen. The perspective of William and Anna are as important to the story as that of Rose. They attempt to balance their needs as individuals with their obligations to each other. The novel ends on the Island, during Labour Day weekend, when the characters come together once again in a satisfying ending. The Opposite Shore is more than a mid-life crisis novel, although it describes very well the somewhat flat feeling typical of the forties decade! It¿s a highly moral novel that avoids presenting moral choices in black and white. It¿s a novel that emphasizes family obligations without ignoring their cost to the individual while doing the opposite - showing how an individual¿s needs have a cost to the family. It¿s simply told, but satisfying in its complexity of character and context. I strongly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2003

    A Beautiful, Tough Look at Love Gone Astray

    In her second novel, 'The Opposite Shore,' Maryanne Stahl sets up a truly calamitous scenario: Rose discovers her husband and her sister in a romantic embrace. Thrown into the mix is Rose's teenage daughter who falls in love for the first time. Though such a set up could easily lead to soap opera cliche, Stahl's great skill never allows this to happen. Her characters are real and their reactions authentic. Stahl also has a great gift for description particularly of Shelter Island where much of the novel takes place. Indeed, at times I felt as though I were watching a movie: the characters, their actions and surroundings all felt so true and without contrivance. This is a beautiful, powerful novel that raises as many questions about love and forgiveness as it answers.

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