Joanne Harris Coastliners

ISBN 13: 9780385601726

Coastliners

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9780385601726: Coastliners
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When Grosjean's estranged daughter Mado returns to Le Devin, a tiny island caught like a crab in the shallow seas of northern France, she brings with her an air of energy and change that ruffles the crusty local fisherman. Divided squarely into two warring communities, the people from La Houssiniere on the near side and those from Les Salants on the far side, the islanders' traditional feuds and superstitions persist. More menacing is the powerful Brismand, whose ruthless interests threaten the very survival of Les Salants, the community to which Mado belongs. In enterprising spirit, Mado arranges to build a huge reef diverting the tide that has been gradually shifting the Salannais' beach towards their rivals, the Houssins, on the other side of the island, and steals it back. In doing so, she sparks off a chain of events that brings not only hope to the dying Salannais community, but also revelations of a past tragedy that still haunts the elderly Grosjean. Mado is determined to find out what plagues her mute father, and to stop the cunning Brismand whose business plans threaten her family's land. But her head is turned by the attractive, free-spirited Flynn. How far can she trust this flame-haired stranger, who claims he is without roots, yet whose connections with the island seem to run so deep? Inspired by the island Joanne Harris used to visit as a child, good battles against evil in this tale of bitter poetry that proves no man is ever an island. Rich with coastal imagery and smells, its twists and turns are salty and powerful, and utterly compelling.

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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 SLEEP, PALE SISTER, THE EVIL SEED, the international bestselling Whitbread-shortlisted CHOCOLAT (now a major film starring Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Aifred Molina, Lena Olin and Johnny Depp), BLACKBERRY WINE and FIVE QUARTERS OF THE ORANGE. She lives in Barnsley, Yorkshire, with her husband and small daughter.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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