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THE COAST OF GOOD INTENTIONS.

Byers, Michael.

ISBN 10: 0395891701 / ISBN 13: 9780395891704
Published by BOSTON: MARINER. 1998, 1998
Condition: Fine Soft cover
From WAVERLEY BOOKS ABAA (Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.)

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UNCORRECTED PROOF. Fine in plain blue & creme-colored printed wrappers. Highly praised FIRST book. Stories. (LC). Bookseller Inventory # 19126

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Bibliographic Details

Title: THE COAST OF GOOD INTENTIONS.

Publisher: BOSTON: MARINER. 1998

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Softcover

Book Condition:Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

This dazzling debut collection from a Seattle native features stories evocatively set along the Northwest coast, stories of quiet but astonishing lives. Here are ferry workers, carpenters, park rangers, living alongside crab factories, cranberry bogs, the misty ocean. Here are people puzzled by the processes of growing up, leaving home, parenting, aging. Here are people who realize there are second chances, that from illness can come hope, that from family can come a greater sense of self. Psychologically complex and glowing with warmth, these rich stories recall Tobias Wolff and Raymond Carver. A MARINER PAPERBACK ORIGINAL.

Review:

Michael Byers grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and the stories in The Coast of Good Intentions evoke that region's cloudy and caffeinated landscape with impressive ease. He gives each location the particularity of a fingerprint: "The alders were in full leaf," Byers writes in a typical bit of Sensurround prose, "and the cranberry bog was a deep russet now in the middle of the summer. Down at the end of the road another little house sat, abandoned, its door gaping open as if to breathe, a tree growing through the windows. Somewhere we could hear a tractor. The ocean was a mile away, across the highway, invisible, but I could smell it, the salty air." Yet the author never indulges in merely bucolic scene-painting. Instead, he explores how the landscape shapes his characters, who seem alternately depressed and comforted by the perpetual sight of thunderheads "piling themselves against the Olympics, like gray balloons against a ceiling." What's more, Byers has a wonderful touch when it come to rendering the middle ground of happiness. In stories like "Shipmates Down Under" and "In Spain, One Thousand and Three," his protagonists seem to stagger under their allotments of disappointment--and remain surprisingly and persuasively alive to possibility. This would be a impressive debut for a late-blooming, middle-aged master. Coming from a 28-year-old, it's an astonishing performance, which makes the word precocious sound limp and irrelevant.

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