"Klimasewiski brings the final curtain down with a satisfyingly wicked twist....A remarkable debut."Los Angeles Times Book Review
Cyrus Collingwood, age nineteen, suspects that he may be a genius without a calling. He is a year-round resident of East Sooke, Vancouver Island, and has a natural resentment for the summer cottagers who descend on its rocky beaches. When two vacationing American couples arriveold friends with a complicated historythey become his obsession. Greg and Nicholas are engaged in an academic collaboration that looks more like competition; Samina and Laurel are old friends who have grown apart and developed a strange jealousy. Cyrus spies on the cottagers through their windows, then begins to insinuate himself into their lives. When one of the cottagers goes missing, no one will look at any of the others the same way again.
Combining the eerie suspense of Patricia Highsmith and the literary fortitude of Ian McEwan, The Cottagers is about the discrepancy between the lives we live and the versions of those lives that trail behind us.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Marshall N. Klimasewiski’s stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Best American Short Stories. He teaches writing at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Cottagers is an unsettling story about two vacationing couples in a sleepy island town in Canada, and the teenage boy who tries to insinuate himself into their lives. Klimasewiski examines the fragility of relationships and how our expectations fail to mesh with reality. I thought the writing was good, although there were some flights I would have preferred not to take, and it was overall a good first novel. I found the ending a bit shaky, but I appreciated that he didn't tie things up with a neat bow.
Canada's Vancouver Island may sound like the ideal spot to escape summer heat and relax but as the characters in Klimasewiski's debut novel soon discover it really isn't a very good place for a vacation. No barbecues or idle days of boating for these people who seek to resurrect a friendship, only to find tragedy and suspicion. Nicholas, Samina and Hilda are a small, tight family. She is of Indian extraction and a beauty. He is tall, balding, in need of eye glasses, just what one expects an academician to look like. They will be sharing a cottage with Greg and Laurel, a pair who no longer love one another 'in any enlarging or passionate sense.' Former roommates, Laurel and Samina now regard each other with jealousy, while the men do not have a particularly high regard for each other's professional accomplishments. That would be quite enough to make for a tense situation but when you add 19-year-old Cyrus Collingwood, a native of the Island, who amuses himself by peeking into the inhabited summer cottages and snitching things, there is bound to be trouble. Cyrus considers himself to be quite able at spotting first timers and also gauging them. For instance, he would break into a cottage in the daytime when the inhabitants were away and if he found a mess - clothes strewn around, half empty wine glasses, wet towels tossed on chairs - he thought that a house treated this way suggested depression and corruption. He's an unhappy young man, and doesn't quite know why. Suspense heightens when Nicholas suddenly comes up missing. He had gone on a walk with Greg, moved ahead and then disappeared. A search is mounted to no avail. Klimasewiski shines with his descriptions of the local constable, an Englishman, and the search party made up of Boy Scouts. The Cottagers is a frightening yet compelling novel as the aftermath of Nicholas's disappearance is revealed. - Gail Cooke
Nineteen years old unemployed Cyrus Collingwood lives year round in East Sooke on Vancouver Island. He detests the summer rentals though the hot weather invaders are the prime source of income for the locals. Cyrus enjoys being a peeping tom spying on the temporary newcomers and in brazen moments loves to assault their rentals though besides scaring ten years off their lives, he normally does not harm them. --- This summer he obsesses over two families married Brooklyn couple Samina and Nicholas and their three-year-old daughter Hilda and their St. Louis friends Laurel and Greg. He pretends to be their friend by showing them the hidden highlights of the island. However, the brilliant teen reads his guests quite nicely as he realizes there is an undercurrent professional rivalry and resentment between the historian Nicholas, the biographer Greg, and the English professor Laurel as well as realizing Greg is a womanizer. The exotic looking Samina is the one that attracts Cyrus as she does not fit with the others and he fails to psychology profile her. When Nicholas fails to return from a walk, accusations fly everywhere encouraged by sly Cyrus who knows what happened on the solitary beach. --- The concept that the masks people wear in relationships change when the dynamics between individuals alter which can be caused by an outside party is proven in this tale. The story line is fascinating though the action is limited and the key characters never seem fully developed. Relationship drama fans will appreciate the hypothesis driven plot that unmasks visage armor, but fails to go deep into the psyche of the island visitors or even Cyrus. --- Harriet Klausner