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Amy and Isabelle

Strout, Elizabeth

13,898 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0375501347 / ISBN 13: 9780375501340
Published by Random House, New York, 1998
Condition: Near Fine Soft cover
From Row By Row Bookshop (Sugar Grove, NC, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

A Near Fine copy in pink tape-bound paper covers (as issued) of this galley proof, preceding the ARC. The front cover bears the Random House masthead, and (in apparent facsimile) the handwritten note of an early in-house reviewer: "A A+ novel about a mother and her daughter (illegitimate) trying to come to terms with their straitened emotional and material circumstances. Author a personable Brooklynite, some small literary experience, teaches English at Manhattan Community College-- a charming, funny person." A scarce early state of the first novel by Pultizer Prize winner Strout. Signed by the author. Bookseller Inventory # 020537

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Amy and Isabelle

Publisher: Random House, New York

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Trade Paperback

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: No Dust Jacket

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Amy and Isabelle

Review:

"It was terribly hot the summer Mr. Robertson left town." For Amy Goodrow and her mother, Isabelle, the heat of that summer is the least of their problems. Other citizens in the New England mill town of Shirley Falls are bothered by the heat and by "other things too: Further up the river crops weren't right--pole beans were small, shriveled on the vine, carrots stopped growing when they were no bigger than the fingers of a child; and two UFOs had apparently been sighted in the north of the state." But Amy and Isabelle have a more private misery: a seemingly unbridgeable chasm has opened between this once-close mother and daughter and nothing will ever be the same again. For Amy has fallen in love with her high-school math teacher, Mr. Robertson, who has gone way beyond the bounds of propriety by encouraging the crush. When Isabelle finds out, she is horrified to realize that her anger at him is dwarfed by her rage at her own daughter for "enjoying the sexual pleasures of a man while she herself had not."

Mother-daughter novels can, by virtue of their subject matter, often seem claustrophobic, a little overwrought; Elizabeth Strout masterfully avoids this problem by placing Amy and Isabelle in the larger context of the community they inhabit. Though her main focus is on the Goodrow women, Strout often detours into the lives and thoughts of her many secondary characters: Isabelle's coworkers Dottie Brown and Fat Bev; Amy's best friend, Stacy Burrows; Stacy's ex-boyfriend, Paul Bellows; and women from Isabelle's church such as Peg Dunlap and Barbara Rawley. She also introduces a chilling frisson of menace with the unsolved abduction of a 12-year-old girl and a mysterious obscene phone-caller. Like the best of Alice Hoffman, Amy and Isabelle offers up a moving yet resolutely unsentimental portrait of people coming to terms with their lives, finding unsuspected nobility in themselves and unexpected kindness in others along the way. Elizabeth Strout has written a gem of a novel. --Alix Wilber

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