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Mannen van staal

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  3,104 ratings  ·  428 reviews
De dochter van een kreeftenvisser probeert de bewoners van twee naburige eilanden voor de kust van Maine met elkaar te verzoenen.
365 pages
Published October 13th 2008 by Cargo (first published May 22nd 2000)
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Perhaps it was my love of her other book, Eat, Pray, Love, that made me not completely love this book. If 1/2 stars were an option, I would have gone with 3 1/2 stars, so I'm rounding up. It was an interesting read...characters were well written, but there was no one I was emotionally invested in (although I loved Kitty, the drunken "aunt"). It seems that perhaps there is more commonality between classes than between geographic groups...this was about a small, lower-middle class community on the ...more
I respect Elizabeth Gilbert as a writer--a lot. Her dialogue jumps off the page, her descriptions are taut and humorous. But I do feel that this book reveals a young author trying to find her groove. There are some plot points that fall short, and the character arcs only develop fully in the epilogue. About a third of the plot of the book seemed to fall into the last chapter. That being said, I'm becoming more and more interested in reading various writer's early work, mostly because the flaws s ...more
Gilbert deserves far more credit for this novel than for her much publicised 'Eat, Pray, Love' and wishy-washy 'Commited'. In 'Stern Men' she takes us into the very heart and soul of this isolated island community of lobstermen. The subject, Ruth Thomas, is a fiesty young lady who is determined to stay on the island and join the gruff seamen in pursuit of lobsters. Here Gilbert delves into the dubiuos ancestery of Ruth, the longstanding fued between the people of the neighbouring island and the ...more
Generally, when describing books I try to use more specific language, but in this case my opinion of Stern Men after reading it can be summed up in one word- Weird. I slogged through it, but the book never really completely grabbed me. It had some of the trappings of the things I look for in a good novel; artful writing, an intriguing cast of characters, enigmatic plot twists, but I never really came to a basic understanding of the character of Ruth Thomas. One moment she is full of sass and wry ...more
My wife, the daughter of a lobsterman in Maine, bought this book after seeing Elizabeth Gilbert speak. After she'd read it I picked it up casually, not really expecting to read it. I was surprised by how quickly it grabbed me and how much I loved the book. I suppose living in coastal Maine with my 20+ years of exposure to a family tied to island living and lobstering allowed me to picture each and every character perfectly. A great ending, too.
This is Elizabeth Gilbert's first fiction effort. This is not Eat, Pray, Love. Not at all. If you want Eat, Pray, Love ... read that book and not this one. The men here are not sexy. Our female protagonist doesn't travel far and wide. There is no pasta. Don't read Stern Men and complain that you're not getting Eat, Pray, Love. If you need that EPL tie-in to make it through the day, this was probably one of the books that caused Gilbert to constantly owe money to her ex-husband for the rest of he ...more
Jessica (j*&p*)
Jun 25, 2008 Jessica (j*&p*) rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone looking for modern day Charles Dickensesque storytelling
Shelves: 2008-books
Here is fair warning: If you are looking for a book to fill the hole left by Eat, Pray, Love, reading Stern Men is like trying to shove a square lobster trap into that round hole. It doesn't quite fit the bill.

I really wanted to like this book. After Eat, Pray, Love I thought it would be a pretty sure bet that I would love almost anything the Elizabeth Gilbert set down on paper, and I was eager to check out her earlier work of fiction.

What this book does well:
You can almost smell the salt air
I adore this book. It takes a little getting into - the history of lobster fishing off the shores of Maine that begins the novel is necessary to the plot, but a little dry (or perhaps it's that, as yet, we have no idea which characters to hang our hats on). But quickly it becomes one of those books that you cannot put down. The characters are utterly unique - and I think that's one of the things I enjoyed most about the book; that each character was fully formed, with backstory, a pattern of spe ...more
Rebecca Foster
I wish certain books could be fitted with a big neon light flashing “NOT WORTH IT” so I wouldn’t waste my time. There is nothing wrong with this novel, per se; however, it was likened to John Irving but has none of his spark – the characters are pointlessly, boringly idiosyncratic; the incidents felt clichéd and the language either dull or silly. Gilbert’s trying for quirky New England family comedy crossed with chick lit, but I don’t get it. Give me John Irving any day.

[With apologies for the r
Schuyler Wallace

I recently read and reviewed Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of All Things,” just finished “Stern Men,” and have “the Last American Man” waiting for me. You could say that Elizabeth Gilbert has smote me.

“Stern Men” is her first novel, published in 2000, and is very different from “Signature.” It’s an earthy, profane, and witty study of Maine lobstermen, a total contrast to her intense account of a brilliant woman botanist who is at odds with the normal world. This book is about an equally dri
Jennifer D
having just read gilbert's newest novel, 'the signature of all things', i wanted to go back and re-read this book, her novel that came out in 2000. it's fine. there are some similarities to the newer novel: strong female lead; a family with money, working in/with, & understanding nature. but this earlier works is not a fully realized and kinda bumpy along the way. the setting is so interesting and gilbert has a few characters i really enjoyed.
Elizabeth Gilbert is, truly, an amazing writer. She has developed some colorful, lifelike characters, and you can see the journalist in her with the meticulous research she did for the book. Its only shortfall in my mind is in the storytelling...the yarn at the center of it isn't developed well enough to make it the page-turner I think it might otherwise be.
Josh Gould
Reading other reviews, I have a feeling that (completely by accident) I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert's books in the right order. It seems that a lot of people who read Eat Pray Love first are disappointed in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, I agree with the comparisons to John Irving, one of my favorites. My only wish is that she had written out the plot rather than taking it to a climax and then stuffing half of the plot line into an epilogue. I would have been completely satisfie ...more
This is really a 2.5. I can only relate it to eating sunflower seeds.....a whole lot of work for very little pleasure. True to lobster men vocab the conversations are liberally seasoned with the mother of all words. So, I became quite efficient at reading over them as well as the Lords name in vain. ugh.... I hate that. The story is "artistically" choppy. The stories of the islanders are intertwined and then smooshed together to give you an "inside" look into their complex (or simple) lives. By ...more
Having spent summers since my birth on a small Maine coast island similar to Fort Niles, I am very familiar with the lobster wars, and eagerly anticipated listening to this book. But what I found was a monotonous chronology of events which left me completely unengaged. What little personal conversation occurred between the characters often involved a prolonged litany of expletives, as if the author could not think of anything else for them to say. Although the author repeatedly made a point of t ...more
Excellent story! I really like Ruth and his father. I am so glad that their relationship improved after Ruth's pregnancy.
The book taught me a lesson. You can make a way out when you are smart and determined. Nearly all people expect and want Ruth to go to college. But no, she doesn't. She like her hometown and she likes fishing lobster. And in the end with her wit, she is very successful. She even makes other villagers successful. I am very proud of her confrontation with her influential grandf
I wanted to read more Elizabeth Gilbert after Eat, Pray, Love, so randomly chose this book to read next. I'm glad I didn't look at the reviews, because I might have been dissuaded. It took awhile to get into, but once I did, I loved it. The main character is very likable and funny, and there were many hilarious moments throughout. It was an unusual book, and it impressed me that she made lobster fishing, something I would have thought would be very boring, very interesting and entertaining. Ther ...more
Rachel Bremer
I bought this book from a decide hand book shop in the town of Cape Coast, Ghana, because I had left the other book I was reading on the plane. I wasn't expecting much, but I liked Eat, Pray, Love so I thought I'd give it a try. It's not going to win any awards but the writing was very smart and I laughed out loud all the way through. Very sarcastic, witty, entertaining dialogue and you really get a good picture of these tiny lobster obsessed islands off the coast of Maine, and the odd people wh ...more
Stern Men is classic Liz Gilbert. On the surface, it’s a light-hearted, funny coming of age story, but there are some serious themes. Set in the 1970s on a remote New England island, the story wrestles with ideas of place, belonging, and rural culture. Ruth Thomas is finally home after four disappointing years at a stuffy boarding school and she’s determined to find her niche on the tiny island where she grew up. The only problem is that nobody else, not her cutthroat lobster fisherman father, o ...more
More thoughts to come, but for now I'll just say that I did enjoy this story and style of prose, but wasn't a particular fan of the pacing. Most of the novel felt like backstory and though the pace of the plot did pick up in the second half, the conclusion felt comparatively rushed, lacking the careful attention to detail that the first 2/3rds received. I'm glad I got this from the library and found it to be a fine one-time read.
Kelly Griffin
I like Liz Gilbert. I heard her speak this year, and am a huge fan of her luminous TED talk, so I really wanted to like this novel too.

And I do, despite myself. The pacing is woeful – the beginning is excruciatingly slow, then the story meanders along forever, and crams a novel’s worth of action into the last 50 pages. I found the main character Ruth to be contradictory and often found her motives unclear (although perhaps that makes sense for an 18-year-old?? But I didn’t see why someone with h
Antoaneta Mitrusheva
Добра идея, интересни герои и хубав като замисъл сюжет, но толкова зле изпълнени. Сякаш това е била първата чернова и Гилбърт никога повече не се е върнала да работи по книгата, нито пък някой редактор се е докоснал до нея. Разпиляна като повествование, неубедителна на много места, недоработена. Прочетох я докрай, но не си заслужаваше.
Laura Williams
I had a similar reaction to this novel, as I did to her other novel, "The Signature of All Things". I loved the writing and the characters, but the story left me unsatisfied. Ruth was a fun character: smart, witty and stubborn. It was frustrating to see her rebuke so many opportunities, but I think it did make sense for her character.

The thing that was really frustrating though was how this novel only felt like the beginning of a much more interesting story. It followed Ruth during the summer s
Ron Charles
It turns out Annie Proulx went too far in "The Shipping News." You don't have to go all the way to Newfoundland to find irresistibly quirky people living off the cold sea. Elizabeth Gilbert found them in Maine.

In "Stern Men," her first novel, Gilbert describes the contentious battles between lobstermen living on Fort Niles and Courne Haven, two almost identical islands 20 miles off the coast. These are places inhabited by quiet men who carry a big claw.

As Gilbert wittily suggests at the start of
I love the character of Ruth Thomas. If I had a daughter, I wouldn't mind if she was a little like Ruth. I'd even take the stubbornness.

Well written story of Ruth Thomas, a feisty, determined, and self-guided young woman, who is surrounded by hidebound lobstermen on the islands of Courne Haven and Fort Niles, Maine.

In a couple of spots things get somewhat repeated that definitely don't need repeating, but that doesn't really mar the enjoyment of the story. The epilogue starts off a little too tidy but gets interesting soon enough to keep the light, funny, mysterious tone of the novel moving along.

For those who love Elizabeth Gi
Plamen Miltenoff
is there something like "neo-Thoreau" style? certainly a good book to convince me in going back to nature and avoiding the 20th century urbanization plague. And much more, of course. I very soft and gentle way to forward daily and disputable ideas and to keep reader's interest during the entire plot. Marxist believers also find their satisfaction, feminists reading in content. Stern men definitely should have been the subtitle; it should have been the "Young Woman and the Sea," whereas the young ...more
Marian la Contrarian
This book took a while to get into. It's an odd little mix of the 1970's, a couple of quirky Northeastern islands and their cultures, and a fairly headstrong girl who turns out to have quite a unique ancestry on an island inhabited largely by men who catch lobsters for a living. It was okay as entertainment, but there weren't any transcendent moments to be had here, and it's not a book that particularly needs to be on anybody's "read before I die" list. I've just started The Signature of All Thi ...more
Elizabeth Gilbert does not get enough credit as a novelist, mainly due to the over-commercialization of her memoir, of which I'm not fond either.

While "Stern Men" wasn't as ambitious or illuminating as "The Signature of All Things," the murky and windswept (and sometimes downright bleak) mood of this isolated New England community is simultaneously provocative and endearing.

(I'd also highly recommend Gilbert's recent appearance on The New Yorker's Comment podcast in which she discussed the conce
I liked The Signature of All Things so much I knew I would enjoy another Elizabeth Gilbert novel and Stern Men did not disappoint! Thinking back on the plot there wasn’t too much of one… mostly just the back story of the characters, but the way she unraveled the story was fascinating to me. I’m surprised other reviewers mentioned being bored- maybe it’s because I was listening to the audio book and the narrator did a great job with the accents, I never lost interest. I also enjoy strong female c ...more
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Stern Men 5 39 Apr 20, 2013 11:05AM  
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Elizabeth Gilbert is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and her novel Stern Men was a New York Times notable book. Her 2002 book The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award.

Her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, spent 57 weeks in the #1
More about Elizabeth Gilbert...
Eat, Pray, Love The Signature of All Things Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage The Last American Man Pilgrims and Other Stories

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“It was the Senator's opinion that a good, peppery chicken soup could cure anything, even childbirth, so he cooked up a nice batch for Stanley Thomas's wife.” 1 likes
“As humans, after all, we become that which we seek. Dairy farming makes men steady and reliable and temperate; deer hunting makes men quiet and fast and sensitive; lobster fishing makes men suspicious and wily and ruthless.” 1 likes
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