The Oyster Singer

Overview

On the island side of the bay, tourists flock to the beaches and every season summer residents open up their expensive beach houses. On their way, they pass a collection of rag-tag structures and accidental bungalows known as Mud City, barely noticing it. It is here, on this abandoned stretch of marshland, that lost lives wash up like driftwood. They float and intersect like debris in tidal currents, and sometimes, when conditions are just right, they connect.

In this episodic ...

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We mail daily and email you the USPS Tracking# !! HARDCOVER, Fine/Fine, Down The Shore Publishing, 2004, 491 pages, 1.4 in. H x 9.1 in. L x 6.1 in. W, 28.9 oz.. This copy has ... no signs of use, is in Excellent Condition Overall. Read more Show Less

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Overview

On the island side of the bay, tourists flock to the beaches and every season summer residents open up their expensive beach houses. On their way, they pass a collection of rag-tag structures and accidental bungalows known as Mud City, barely noticing it. It is here, on this abandoned stretch of marshland, that lost lives wash up like driftwood. They float and intersect like debris in tidal currents, and sometimes, when conditions are just right, they connect.

In this episodic novel, cats are trained to dive for fish; a boat-builder is holed up in an abandoned fish factory making old-fashioned sneakboxes by hand (even though nobody wants his craftsmanship anymore); a huge jetty boulder is stolen; and a party is held on an island that vanishes at high tide.

The protagonist, Lum, not quite a hero, quotes Lincoln a lot, tells stories a lot, can perform a kind of yodeling-bagpipe call that brings oysters up out of the bay. He thinks he's found his place in the world. People respond to Lum with their own stories, and as histories are shared a community of no-longer-lost souls forms - except for those who want to take that place away.

When a body is found floating in Mud City, a quest for the perpetrators is launched in the mysterious pinelands, and the tone is set for changes to come. Ultimately, as with all coastal property, a developer discovers Mud City and sees a huge potential in the real estate, and the squatters must chose to leave or fight.

Evocative, poetic and funny descriptions of the place and its seasons (including an almost mystical description of being lost in a sudden storm on the bay) slip between the stories as the two main characters - a man and a woman as nature would have it, even here - drift around one another, now pulled together, now pushed apart.

The Oyster Singer is a novel about second chances and soulmates, love lost and found, adventurers, drifters, developers and dreamers, in a place called Mud City on a shore bound for change. And: in the midst of change and vulnerability, the permanence that may be possible when people find each other and discover where they belong.

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Editorial Reviews

Bill Geiger
Images that are as true to the shore as golden-red sunsets over the bay....A delightful novel, with strong characters and an interesting story, reminiscent of Annie Proulx's The Shipping News.
The Beachcomber, Long Beach Island, NJ, 8/27/04
Linda Reddington
Wonderful... to be savored.
The Timse-Beacon, 9/23/04
Victoria Ford
A beautifully written collection of linked vignettes within the larger context of day-to-day life on a bay... Engaging, quirky ... laugh-aloud funny and profoundly moving.
The SandPaper, 8/25/04
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593220099
  • Publisher: Down The Shore Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Pages: 494
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Mud City was a place to go when there was no other place that fit. It seemed that the people who got there were always coming there, though perhaps unaware. They had left other ambitions behind somewhere, and other necessities. They settled, they fit, they stayed. Some, of course, didn't, wriggling and twitching like a hermit crab unable to adjust to a new shell until they moved on. But it was an eddy where lives could get snagged. You could make a living, nobody bothered you and, as resident Rev. Archambault Dinwiddie put it, you could touch God; anyhow, there was nothing to get between you and the idea.
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