Oystercatchers

Oystercatchers

5.0 2
by Susan Fletcher
     
 

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"A stunning novel...profound, beautiful, and redemptive."—The Guardian
Sixteen-year-old Amy lies in a coma. Moira, eleven years older, spends the evenings at her sister's bedside, telling the story her own life—her secrets, her shameful actions, and her link to the accident that has brought Amy to this bed. In her "riveting" (Library Journal) second

Overview

"A stunning novel...profound, beautiful, and redemptive."—The Guardian
Sixteen-year-old Amy lies in a coma. Moira, eleven years older, spends the evenings at her sister's bedside, telling the story her own life—her secrets, her shameful actions, and her link to the accident that has brought Amy to this bed. In her "riveting" (Library Journal) second novel, Susan Fletcher probes the troubled bond between two sisters: how their lives are undone by the tumultuous forces of envy and loneliness and, in the end, how love emerges as the greatest force of all. Reading group guide included.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Regret and jealousy consume the overweening protagonist of this frustrating novel by the Whitbread-winning author of Eve Green. Moira is a 27-year-old scientist whose 16-year-old sister, Amy, is in a coma, the result of a fall four years earlier. The accident is made more tragic because Moira, who was away at boarding school when her sister was born, took the new addition to the family as a personal slight and never developed a relationship with her. Instead, she ignored her family and later married Ray, an artist and doting husband. Now she would like to make amends with her sister, but it is too late. Largely told from the perspective of a fledgling adult reflecting on her childhood, the story feels like an extended therapy session, with narration alternating between third- and first-person, allowing a dissociation between the grown Moira and her lonely, moody adolescent self. Overall, there's an air of self-importance that's difficult to penetrate. (Aug.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Whitbread winner Fletcher (Alphabet of Dreams, 2006) chronicles the life of an older sister who feels very, very sorry for herself. It's somewhat unreasonable of narrator Moira, since it's 16-year-old Amy who's been in a coma for four years. But Moira's nose has been out of joint ever since Amy was born when she was 11; the very news of her mother's pregnancy, after three traumatic miscarriages, prompts the clever, angry girl to choose a scholarship at a far-off boarding school over offers from institutions closer to her just-scraping-by family's home in an English seaside town. The other students at Locke Hall Residential School for Girls aren't very nice to tall, skinny, bespectacled Moira, who excels in the classroom and endures all else, resenting the anxious, loving letters from her mother and utterly refusing to engage with baby Amy on her infrequent visits home. Readers might be more inclined to sympathize if Moira weren't already overflowing with self-pity, convinced that no one cares about her despite considerable evidence to the contrary. Indeed, it's difficult to understand why budding artist Ray would dump Heather, nastiest of the Locke Hall bullies, to write letters from his world tour to sullen, who-could-love-me Moira. She marries him instead of going to medical school, a move the author may see as a tribute to love but which comes across as another self-inflicted injury to add to Moira's pile of grievances. She rewards her talented, adoring husband by taking up with his brother, and it's darkly hinted that Amy's catastrophic fall from a huge rock is somehow related to the fact that Moira used to swim to it. Moira's monologues at Amy's hospital bedside are meant todemonstrate her new maturity and compassion, her growing love for Amy and Ray, but after her litany of miseries that seem almost entirely her own doing, few will care much about her alleged redemption. Beautiful prose, particularly the evocative descriptions of landscape, isn't enough to redeem such a sour heroine. Agent: Christy Fletcher/Fletcher & Parry

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393331981
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/28/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
354
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Susan Fletcher is the author of Eve Green, which won the Whitbread Award for First Novel, Oystercatchers, and The Highland Witch. She lives in the United Kingdom.

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Oystercatchers 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went to the libary and saw this book and I am so happy I chose it. This book takes you through a journay of her hate for her sister and the feeling of betrayal from her parents till the relization of her love for them all even though it is little to late. I love how this book is told as talking to her sister as she is in a coma and spilling all her secrets. This book is amazing I recommend it to all that is looking for a good read.