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Casting Off

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  1,265 Ratings  ·  259 Reviews
Casting Off: 1. Ending a knitted work. 2. Releasing lines holding a boat to its mooring. 3. Letting go... On a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland, the fishermen's handmade sweaters tell a story. Each is unique-feelings stitched into rows, memories into patterns. It is here that Rebecca Moray comes to research a book on Irish knitting. With her daughter, Rowan, accom ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by New American Library (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Mar 27, 2011 Juno rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Adorable, wise Irish people existing to serve and help the fucked up American. And the knitting wasn't good. Avoid.

Apr 20, 2011 Joanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: knitting-books
I knit, so I thought I'd try some books with knitting as a theme or part of the story. I'm not sure why I thought that would make for a good book.

I liked the setting of this book, and even though the island is a creation of the author, an amalgam of real places, it seemed real.

Which is more than I can say for most of the characters. Rebecca, the main character, had some dimension to her, but everyone else in the story seemed to exist for the sole purpose of helping Rebecca overcome trauma from h
Jun 11, 2009 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Knitters and spinners, those who are interested in Ireland
Shelves: 2009-reads
I read an Advance Reader's Copy of this book, and though I was somewhat skeptical prior to reading it, I decided that it was well done by the time I was finished.

The main character is Rebecca Moray, who is traveling to an island (based on the Aran Islands, according to the author's notes) off the west coast of Ireland, to do research on a book she is writing about ganseys. As a textile archaelogist, she has been interested in the history of the sweaters and those who knit them ever since her co
Sep 30, 2014 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had been in my TBR pile for a while now. I finally decided to start it and could not put it down. I loved it! It is set on an island off the Irish coast and talks of knitting and Irish people and music so what is there not to love. It gave me that good feeling like I got when watching the TV series Ballykissangel. What is not to like with a combination like this?

Rebecca (Becky to her family) is setting off to Sharon's island with her 6 year old daughter Rowan in tow to write a book on
Oct 04, 2016 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful, magical story that takes place on a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland. The author has created this island by taking parts of the three Aran Islands and making them into one. It is an island where the women (and an occasional man) spin wool, which they then use to create beautiful handmade sweaters (fishermen's sweaters, called ganseys) each with its own special story.

Casting Off begins sixteen years after Rebecca (American) and Sharon (Irish) have met at college (UC
Jan 17, 2010 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book! It was a little confusing at first because the main character Rebecca comes to the island off of Ireland and meets a whole bunch of people at once, but as the story moves along and the characters interact with her, it becomes clearer who is who and how they are related. I especially enjoyed the way each chapter began with a definiton of a knitting stitch and explained what it looked like and how it was made. This was related to the sweaters that the families made. Then there ...more
I liked it, with some nits to pick. Nit #1: Dickson has gone out of her way to make her protagonist an "outsider" in the story, making her rather irritatingly (i.e., unbelievably) prickly about things that don't make a whole lot of sense. It's like she's stressing how much the main character is a stranger in a strange land because she doesn't think we'll get it if she's more subtle. Nit #2: Her writing style annoys me from time to time, for she is fond of using the word "for" as a conjunction. I ...more
Mar 30, 2010 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beginning is promising, with a ferry arriving at an unnamed Aran island. (I later discovered that the author has combined aspects of several Aran islands.) Having spent days on Inishmore several years ago I was thrilled to be reliving this time. But, the story doesn't keep up the bargain. There are far too many characters thrown into the mix at the beginning. This settles down to a manageable number as the book progresses. The story also becomes a ho-hum romance, with contrived tie-ins to kn ...more
David Sabala
Feb 23, 2010 David Sabala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a delightful read. And I'm not sure why. The characters, the setting and the writing I found to be really well done. I was left a little perplexed at the climax, and some of the critical points in the plot left me a bit underwhelmed. At times I thought the dramatic moments a bit indulgent.

However, the knitting theme and the whole idea of culture, family and friends came together quite nicely. I was several times caught with a knot in my throat and a flutter in my heart. A good read if
Connie Harkness
Apr 30, 2013 Connie Harkness rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is just one of those books that you want to curl up and read without interruption, and wish you could move into the place and time, having the characters for your neighbors and friends.
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Casting off was one of the warmest books I read during these holidays. In a way, it felt like a really nice Christmas present too - it was just what I needed. I liked just about everything about it - except maybe for the dialogues, as they can be a little stiff and artificial - but I've noticed that this is a very common thing in American books, so perhaps it's understandable. Other than that, the book offered a safe-feeling atmosphere which I happened to be needing at the time I received it. I ...more
Sep 14, 2014 Amie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s-fiction
I struggled with how to review this book. I'm still uncertain about how to approach it. I'm certainly not a reviewer.... What I really want is to address some of the previous reviews. The main character in this book, Rebecca, has been a victim of emotional domestic abuse. Several previous reviewers commented that it was hard to believe that she was so afraid for her daughter, about her control issues, and about the fact that it took an entire book for her to deal with those issues. Speaking from ...more
Man, I read this book in two days! I was so hooked! I SO want to go to Ireland now! I even bookmarked this website dedicated to Irish baby names just so I could look up names to know how they were pronounced.

I am a knitter; damn proud to be one too. I found the topic of ganseys so fascinating. I had heard about fisherman ohanas creating their own designs so if one were to drown identification could be done. It is so amazing how families have their own designs and it was so cool to learn about th
Jan 29, 2010 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, irish
I finished this book on Saturday morning and was delighted to leave it behind. Despite the charming setting, it was a shallow, sappy romance with a sort of a knitting theme. The "folklore" surrounding the history of Aran knitting was mostly false or speculative and I found that very annoying.

The chapter headings included a quote from a fictitious book written in the future by one of the characters in the novel and took the form of definitions of specific Aran stitch patterns, but also included
Jan 27, 2011 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to love this book, as an Irish-American who loves both Ireland and knitting, but this just didn't work for me.

It was hard to warm up to some of the characters - I didn't even feel like I 'knew' or understood the main character, Rebecca. Nor did I understand what Fionn saw in her.

I ADORED the knitting stitch definitions at the beginning of each chapter - and thought that the whole construct had so much potential. But, alas, it just didn't come together for me. Maybe I can find s
Jan 15, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book back before the holidays and set it aside since it seemed too serious at the time. It covers a range of topics from domestic violence to historical knitting as the main character takes time to do research Irish knitting in Ireland. Picking it back up this afternoon, I was quickly drawn back into the characters until I finished it this evening. Well written and interesting cast of personalities coming together.
Jul 22, 2010 Marianne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not finish this book. There was too much going back in time with many of the people with the same names. The story line was too contrived. People showing up at the right time to take someone someplace. Too many sub plots. Main character acted like a Victorian character, "What would people think? Maybe they don't like me because of my past"
Lisa Lee
Apr 02, 2015 Lisa Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very inventive story. I love fiber art, but knew little about knitting. I really enjoyed this book.
Mary Spengler
Jan 13, 2013 Mary Spengler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Thanks for the recommendation Katie .
Kathleen Valentine
There have been a lot of novels written lately with a knitting theme, testimony to the popularity of knitting in current society - a good thing in my opinion. The reviews on them have been mixed, some are good, others are basically little more than Harlequin-type romances with a few knitting scenes thrown in. I was a little skeptical about Nicole R. Dickson's Casting Off but it proved to be quite charming.

It is essentially a romance, too, and there are no surprises to be had but there are some
Sep 24, 2016 Keanes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
31/2 stars. Just ok. Got better as the book went along. Fiona was the best character. A sequel with Rowan?
Mar 02, 2010 Kristie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all my knitter friends
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 25, 2014 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rebecca first met her best friend Sharon at UC-Berkeley. It was Sharon's stories of her island home in Ireland and the stories behind the beautifully knitted sweaters of the Irish that inspired Rebecca to specialize in textiles within her field of archaeology. Even after Sharon returned home, the two remained close and spoke to each other at least once a week.

Now, 6 years after her last visit with Sharon, Rebecca is actually going to Ireland; to visit Sharon but to record in pictures and in word
Dec 29, 2016 Judie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the book. Wonderful story!!
Want to read more by her
I must admit I didn't get the whole part about knitting. Perhaps visuals of the ganseys would have helped.

The book tells the story of two individuals, Rebecca and Sean, who experienced domestic violence in their pasts. One as the victim and one as the perpetrator.

After 40 years, Sean supposedly feels guilt or remorse at how he treated his family, but I'm not sure most perpetrators of domestic violence feel that way. I believe most go to their graves continuing to blame others for their actions
Jina Howell-Forbes
This is an absolutely fabulous story. It's set in the Western Islands off the coast of Ireland across from Galway in the present day, but there are flashbacks to 40 years ago, 20 years ago, and 6 years ago. The paranormal aspects involve the visions and conversations that one of the characters has with his dead family members.

The story begins with a cultural anthropologist from the US who comes to the island with her 6 year old daughter to research the meanings of the wool, the spinning, and th
I loved the concept of this book: a woman travels to Ireland to learn the history of the knitted sweaters, and the significance of the patterns of stitches in each.

What I didn't like (among other things) was the main character herself, Rebecca Moray. From the very start of the book she is whiny and self-centered. Her spirit has been broken by "That Thanksgiving night six years ago..."
What happened that fateful night?

By page 295 I was sick of trying to piece it together. I do like a bit of myster
Jul 17, 2014 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was another "buck book" that I picked off my local Dollar Tree shelf. I was interested in it because I'm big into knitting, and I have to say I bought it more for its cover than anything else. The little bits about knitting and Irish sweaters (which have long been known to be as complex as anything you could knit) were really interesting, along with the little bits that start each chapter. However, I just wasn't a fan of the premise that ultimately took over. Rebecca is far too overprotecti ...more
Sally Knotwell
Jun 18, 2012 Sally Knotwell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I started reading this book as a piece of fiction and ended up feeling as though it was a life lesson for everyone. Casting off is a book detailing not only a lovely little love story, it's a fabulous resource for anyone who wants to knit a gansey in the age-old patterns. Each chapter starts with a description of a pattern, including the meaning behind it. Rebecca Moray has a deep secret that she's been running from for years. She's come to Ireland to document the patterns of the islanders for h ...more
Dec 29, 2011 Staci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads
I found this little gem of a  book on my library's sale cart and for .50 cents how could I go wrong? The cover alone made me stop and take notice. After reading the back and finding out that the setting was Ireland, I was sold! There wasn't one part of this book that I didn't like. The characters are all there and so are their personalities. I swear every book that I read where the people go to the pub, knit, and are fisherman have me chomping at the bit to get my passport and board this next fl ...more
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Nicole R. Dickson is a writer residing in North Carolina. Her first novel, Casting Off, was a top ten entry in the first Amazon Breakthough Novel Award. Her second novel, Here and again, will publsh in June 2014.

Nicole R. Dickson's current focus as an author is the American South - its present and its past.

More about Nicole R. Dickson...

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