Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine

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Overview

This novel begins in 1969, and as Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paints are splashing the latest anti-war slogans. Suzanne, a poet, lives in a Maine beach house awaiting the birth of a love child she will name Sparrow. Claudia, who weds a farmer during college, plans to raise three strong sons. And Elizabeth and Howard marry, organize protest marches, and try to raise their two children with their own earthy, hippie values. By 1985, things have changed. Suzanne, now with a M.B.A., has taken to...

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Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine: A Novel

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Overview

This novel begins in 1969, and as Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paints are splashing the latest anti-war slogans. Suzanne, a poet, lives in a Maine beach house awaiting the birth of a love child she will name Sparrow. Claudia, who weds a farmer during college, plans to raise three strong sons. And Elizabeth and Howard marry, organize protest marches, and try to raise their two children with their own earthy, hippie values. By 1985, things have changed. Suzanne, now with a M.B.A., has taken to calling Sparrow "Susan." After personal tragedy, Claudia spirals backward into her sixties world—and into madness. And Elizabeth, fatally ill, watches despairingly as her children yearn for a split-level house and a gleaming station wagon.

In this beloved, critically acclaimed first novel, Hood's clear, brave, and penetrating voice captures the spirit of three friends struggling to resolve their lives in a complicated time warp called lost youth.

Ann Hood's debut novel, the story of three friends in the 60s and the different paths their lives take as they grow older.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hood has written a provocative, uneven tale of three women who were flower-child friends at an unnamed New England college in the late 1960s. Suzanne eventually reverts to a life of which her parents would approve, earning an M.B.A., becoming an investment banker, avoiding her past and old friends, and refusing to tell her daughter, Sparrow, about Sparrow's father, Abel, a poet who lives in a house on the coast of Maine. Claudia is semicatatonic following the accidental drowning of her oldest son in the mid-'70s. And Elizabeth, who lives with her potter husband and their children, suffers a bout with cancer. This is also the story of the women's children, particularly of Sparrow's efforts to learn about her father and the love of Claudia's oldest son for Rebekah, Elizabeth's daughter. The narrative is at times rickety and self-conscious, and Hood often seems afraid to take risks with her characters' lives and motivationstoo often a single, extraordinary event rigidly determines their personality forever after. Nonetheless, this is an intriguing work by an author of promise.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312195557
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 7/15/1998
  • Series: New Fiction Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.53 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Hood is the author of six other novels: Ruby, Waiting to Vanish, Three Legged Horse, Something Blue, The Properties of Water, and Places to Stay the Night. She lives in Rhode Island.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2008

    Loved this book!

    Read this when it was first published--and found it compelling. Sure, some first novel sins, but the characters have stayed with me for years! I've read all of Ann Hood's books, and this is the one I love best

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    Lacks the depth of Knitting Circle

    After reading the Knitting Circle, I found old copies of several other books by Ann Hood. I lost myself in the Knitting Circle - something that did not happen with this book. The characters were shallow and unlikable the book felt like it didn't know where if was going or what its point was.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2004

    A light read

    I listened to this on Books on Tape. It was enjoyable to listen to while driving. It is the kind of book one could read at an airport and still not miss what is going on all around. I am not sure that I would have found it a book to just sit and read because it did not have a particularly intriguing plot that left me aching to get back to it. It was a book of many events but not a lot of depth. Yet, it would be a good read when sitting on the beach this coming suumer. One attractive feature of the book was that everything was not tied up into neat little packages at the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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