From the author of Drowning Ruth, a haunting, atmospheric novel set at the closing of the frontier about a young wife who moves to a far-flung and forbidding lighthouse where she uncovers a life-changing secret.
In 1898, a woman forsakes the comfort of home and family for a love that takes her to a remote lighthouse on the wild coast of California. What she finds at the edge of the earth, hidden between the sea and the fog, will change her life irrevocably.
Trudy, who can argue Kant over dinner and play a respectable portion of Mozart’s Serenade in G major, has been raised to marry her childhood friend and assume a life of bourgeois comfort in Milwaukee. She knows she should be pleased, but she’s restless instead, yearning for something she lacks even the vocabulary to articulate. When she falls in love with enigmatic and ambitious Oskar, she believes she’s found her escape from the banality of her preordained life.
But escape turns out to be more fraught than Trudy had imagined. Alienated from family and friends, the couple moves across the country to take a job at a lighthouse at Point Lucia, California—an unnervingly isolated outcropping, trapped between the ocean and hundreds of miles of inaccessible wilderness. There they meet the light station’s only inhabitants—the formidable and guarded Crawleys. In this unfamiliar place, Trudy will find that nothing is as she might have predicted, especially after she discovers what hides among the rocks.
Gorgeously detailed, swiftly paced, and anchored in the dramatic geography of the remote and eternally mesmerizing Big Sur, The Edge of the Earth is a magical story of secrets and self-transformation, ruses and rebirths. Christina Schwarz, celebrated for her rich evocation of place and vivid, unpredictable characters, has spun another haunting and unforgettable tale.
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Guest Review of “Edge of the Earth”
By Kate Alcott
The Edge of the Earth begins with a classic scenario for adventure or disaster: a restless young woman in 1897 Milwaukee, hungry for experience, chafes at the idea of marrying predictably and living a comfortably predictable life – so she marries a dreamer, another restless soul – and off they go to ---what?
This is where Christina Schwarz’s outstanding novel swoops into refreshingly new territory. She invites us into the lives of the young couple, Trudy and Oskar, as they arrive to work at a lonely, rugged lighthouse above the forbidding cliffs of Point Lucia, California – an isolated spot filled with marine life that few have seen before and, perhaps, a mermaid.
The only other inhabitants of the lighthouse are the sturdy members of the Crawley family, including three children living wild and free. Mrs. Crawley kindly but quickly strips away for Trudy any illusion that, at the lighthouse, there is a use for fancy tablecloths – or anything else from her former privileged existence. The human secrets begin to emerge – and as you learn what they are, you will almost hear the shouts of the children and the crashing waves. And then....
But wait. This isn’t just an adventure story. What is the truth about Point Lucia?
Though Trudy is slowly drawn to nature, collecting marine samples, studying artifacts, finding excitement in documenting the creatures within a tide pool, the real heart of her experience lies with one major discovery: that of a strange creature who lives hidden in the rocks above the crashing surf.
That discovery slowly cuts between Trudy and Oskar – who, more than they realize, are indeed poised on the edge of the earth they know. It is a convergence of discovery with the grasping need to possess that takes us into the dark, eager heart of an emerging capitalist America.
In short, it’s not just about a marriage and an isolated lighthouse. This book explores the turn-of-the-century American psyche- what is won, what is lost – when, inevitably, everything changes. Once you step onto that lonely outpost, surrounded by the sea and all the mysteries within, you are immersed. Inhale deeply – you are there, caught in the roiling energy of passion, regret, loss – and always the sea. In short, The Edge of the Earth is a bold and original story that goes beyond self-discovery.About the Author:
Christina Schwarz is the author of five novels, including The Edge of the Earth and the Oprah Book Club selection Drowning Ruth. Born and raised in rural Wisconsin, she lives in southern California.
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