Somewhere off the Coast of Maine

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1969: As Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paint splashes the latest anti-war slogans, Suzanne lives in a Maine beach house with a poet, pregnant with their love child, Sparrow. Claudia, during college, marries a farmer and raises three strong sons. And Elizabeth and Howard, very much in love, organize protest marches, marry, and try to bring up two children with earthly, hippie values. 1985: The songs, the colors, the times have changed. Suzanne has an M.B.A. and a briefcase; she insists on ...
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Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine: A Novel

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Overview

1969: As Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paint splashes the latest anti-war slogans, Suzanne lives in a Maine beach house with a poet, pregnant with their love child, Sparrow. Claudia, during college, marries a farmer and raises three strong sons. And Elizabeth and Howard, very much in love, organize protest marches, marry, and try to bring up two children with earthly, hippie values. 1985: The songs, the colors, the times have changed. Suzanne has an M.B.A. and a briefcase; she insists on calling Sparrow 'Susan' and pretends that 1969 never existed. Claudia inches toward madness following personal tragedy, sliding ever backward to her magical 60s world. And Elizabeth, fatally ill, watches despairingly as her children yearn for a split-level house and a gleaning station wagon. In her beloved and critically acclaimed first novel, Ann Hood's clear, 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

Los Angeles Daily News
Hood is clearly a force to be reckoned with in the world of contemporary fiction.
Chicago Tribune
Accomplished and emotionally affecting.
LA Times Book Review
Memorably stirring and authentic.
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 '60s. 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 semi-catatonic 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 motivations -- too often a single, extraordinary event rigidly determines their personality forever after. Nonetheless, this is an intriguing work by an author of promise.
Daily News, Los Angeles
Hood is clearly a force to be reckoned with in the world of contemporary fiction.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Memorably stirring and authentic.”
Chicago Tribune
“Accomplished and emotionally affecting.”
Elizabeth Wurtzel - Seventeen
“Deals with the intricacies of infidelity, cancer, insanity, marriage, growing old, accepting death, and just plain accepting yourself.”
Judy Isenhour - Salisbury Post (N.C.)
“Not just another 1960's novel... it is the story of life, of living, and of three unforgettable women as they struggle to find their way from one era to another.”
Peggy Constantine - Chicago Sun-Times
“A lovely novel... Hood creates characters so arresting one wishes each of them were principals of longer novels.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553374322
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/1/1988
  • Series: New Fiction Ser.
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

Ann Hood is the author of six works of fiction, including the bestseller The Knitting Circle and, most recently, The Obituary Writer, as well as a memoir, Comfort. She is also the editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting. The winner of two Pushcart prizes as well as Best American Food Writing, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing awards, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

4 Star

(2)

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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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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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