Fiction Joanne Harris Coastliners: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780060198121

Coastliners: A Novel

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9780060198121: Coastliners: A Novel

Joanne Harris writes fiction that engages every one of the senses: reviewers called Chocolat "delectable" and Five Quarters of the Orange "sweet and powerful." In her new novel, she takes readers to a tiny French island where you can almost taste the salt on your lips.

The island, called 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 between the towns in an hour, but they could not feel further apart, for between them lie years of animosity.

The townspeople 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 will find that her father -- who once built fishing boats that fueled the town's livelihood -- has become even more silent than ever, withdrawing almost completely into an interior world. And his decline seems reflected in the town itself, for when the only beach in Les Salants washed away, all tourism drifted back to La Houssinière.

Madeleine herself has been adrift for a long time, yet almost against her will she soon finds herself united with the village's other lost souls is a struggle for survival and salvation.

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Review:

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.uk

About 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 William Morrow, U.S.A., 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Stated First Edition-First Printing with full number line.This is a true first edition, first printing with "FIRST EDITION" and number sequence 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 listed on the copyright page. The story takes place on the island of Le Devin, a French island shaped somewhat like a sleeping woman. At the head of the island is the village of Les Salants, while the more prosperous village of La Houssiniere lies at the foot. The towns are only an hour's walking distance apart but are much further separated by years of animosity. Madeleine, who grew up on the island, returns from Paris after a ten-year absence as she has never felt at home anywhere else. On her arrival she finds that her father has withdrawn almost completely into an interior world and that his decline seems reflected in Les Salants itself since the only beach there was washed away and all tourism drifted back to La Houssiniere. Madeleine, adrift herself for years, almost against her will finds herself united with the village's other lost souls in a struggle for survival and salvation. Bookseller Inventory # 004076

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