The island of Le Devin is shaped somewhat like a sleeping woman. At her head is the village of Les Salants, while the more prosperous village of La Houssinière lies at her feet. You could walk from one to the other in an hour, but they could not be farther apart, for between them lie years of animosity.
The villagers of Les Salants say that if you kiss the feet of their patron saint and spit three times, something you've lost will come back to you. And so Madeleine, who grew up on the island, returns after an absence of ten years spent in Paris. She is haunted by this place and has never been able to feel at home anywhere else.
But when she arrives, she finds her father -- who once built the fishing boats that fueled the village's livelihood -- has become more silent than ever, withdrawing almost completely. His decline seems reflected in the village itself, for when the only beach in Les Salants washed away, all of the tourists drifted to La Hodssinière.
Madeleine, herself adrift for a long time, soon finds herself united with the village's other lost souls in a struggle for survival and salvation.
Performed by Vivien Benesch
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After three novels which centered around gastronomic pleasures, Joanne Harris's Coastliners focuses on more astringent joys. Sea, gritty sand, and adverse weather conditions replace Chocolat, Blackberry Wine, and Five Quarters of the Orange. Set on a small, blustery fishing island off the coast of France, it tells the story of Mado, a young woman who returns to her childhood home to find the local community torn apart by family feuds, bad tides, and murky political machinations.
Passionate, stubborn Mado, whose "head is full of rocks," tries to save the livelihoods of the villagers of Les Salants by urging them to work together to save the beach from erosion, both natural and man-made. The villagers, written with endearing panache by Harris, are an eccentric, curmudgeonly bunch, who eventually cooperate with the help of Flynn, a charismatic stranger with a shady past. He's not the only man of mystery in Mado's life; her father, taciturn Grosjean, has a secretive heart that's as "prickly and tightly layered as an artichoke," and local, wealthy businessman Brismand also seems to be hiding something. Mado does her best to unravel these mysteries, while attempting to keep a hold on her own sense of self in the claustrophobic, close community. It's not only the shore line that takes a buffeting. The villagers and the island are so vividly described that it's impossible not to become engrossed in Mado's story. Coastliners is a book about longing to belong, and Joanne Harris charts that emotional voyage compellingly. --Eithne Farry, Amazon.co.ukAbout the Author:
Joanne Harris is the author of seven previous novels—Chocolat, Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, Coastliners, Holy Fools, Sleep, Pale Sister, and Gentlemen & Players; a short story collection, Jigs & Reels; and two cookbook/memoirs, My French Kitchen and The French Market. Half French and half British, she lives in England.
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Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800605178301.0