Oystercatchers
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Oystercatchers

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  400 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Sixteen-year-old Amy lies in a coma. Her elder sister, Moira, sits beside her in the evenings and tells this story seeking forgiveness and retribution. She tells of her own life—her secrets, her shameful actions, and her link to the accident that has brought her sister to this bed.

An only child until the age of eleven, Moira perceived the arrival of Amy as a betrayal. Sent...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 17th 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published February 28th 2007)
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Judy
I really liked 'Eve Green' by Susan Fletcher - her prose style is so poetic and beautiful - so couldn't resist picking her new novel up when I spotted it at the library.
After making a false start, I began the book again and found it difficult to put down, rushing through to the end. As in 'Eve Green', the descriptions of the landscapes are breathtaking.
This book is largely set at bleak stretches of coastline in both Pembrokeshire and north Norfolk, and follows the life of Moira, a quiet and stu...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Can this be as good as her Eve Green? One of the components that is the same is her ability to make the natural world a part of the story. This time it is the sea primarily, and because of that, for me, it makes this one just slightly better.

Fletcher alternates between a first person narrative - Moira - and that of third person limited. This works because it feels as if Moira only switches to telling her story in third person. We know only what Moira knows and sees. The prose is easy. Elsewhere,...more
Nadine
I don't understand why people have said this book isn't as good as her first book Eve Green, perhaps it speaks to me because I see myself (another pisces) in Moira, and I've been to Stackpole, Broad Haven and looked on Skomer Island?

The brilliance of this book is subtle and it only just hit me today as I was researching the origins of Mary Magdelene's pagan origins that it struck me, the names are important in this novel.

Miriam - an older version of Mary (origins Mari - Sea Mother)
Moira - also M...more
Alicia
Moira sits by the hospital bed of her sixteen year old comatose sister and tells her all of the things that her sister's arrival changed in her life. When Amy was born, it abruptly changed the trajectory of eleven year old Moira's existence and took her down a completely different path in life. This was another of my favorite quiet novels about sisters who never quite connect until it is too late. Beautifully written, my only wish is that I had been able to read this all in one sitting instead o...more
Andrea Homier
This book came highly recommended to me by someone with whom I share many favorite books, someone who Loved the story, Loved the writing. I did not love this book.

Moira was SO difficult a character; I know that is what the author tried to do, and she did it. But it is damn hard to hang on when the main character is a stone and you have to find compassion and insight through teeny tiny glimpses or pure guess-work. I was thinking of other dark novels I consider great - The Road, for one, and how t...more
Liz
I really enjoyed this book, I found it very engrossing and couldn't put it down.
The protagonist Moira is very quirky and she is definitely the centre of the book. A lot of the circumstances are down to her actions. I am sure the outcome would've been different had she behaved differently.
Moira is a very awkward character to like but during her childhood years a lot of her actions were understandable if a little precocious and detached for a child of her age. If I were her mother I would of enco...more
Karolina
It's haunting to read a book that literally sounds as if it's talking about me; watching Moira's life unravel in a metaphoric way to my own, and watching her take notices of things I would, and do alike things. One of the names even lines up. Reading about someone that seems like me makes me feel like my own life is more important, and less spiteful of who I am, because really, this woman talking of her life is finally forgiving herself for who she is.

The whole book is written in a cold, deadly...more
Helen
Would have given this 4.5 if I could. Anyway, you've seen the synopsis - elder daughter distraught at birth of baby sister at a time when she won a scholarship to a public school and left to go, aged 11, to the other side of the country.

She never warmed to the 'cuckoo' and never forgave her for taking her place in the family home in wild West Wales. The years spent apart while she was in Norfolk didn't help either, nor did her strange, introverted personality. We hear early on that her young si...more
Fiona
I started this book and thought it wasn't for me and was close to giving up however something wouldn't let me. It has a strange style, the writing flowed as the story progressed. A story of love, sibling rivalry, inability to form friendships and before I knew it it was finished. Although I only gave it 3 stars I would recommend that people try it for themselves.
sisterimapoet
A great start to the year.

I loved Fletcher's first book, and had high hopes for this - they weren't disappointed.

It was long and meandering, but felt like a sea walk (appropriately, as the sea is a main recurrent theme throughout)leaving me exhausted but enriched, full of little observations and big thoughts.

I felt I could have read this forever - and was genuinely sad to reach the end, no really because the plot was concluded, but because I won't spend any more time with these people and places...more
Renita D'Silva
One of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Sheer poetry. Every sentence to be treasured and savored. If I could give this book a 10, I would. A book to reread, to keep. Will be reading all of her other books too. Susan Fletcher takes words and creates magic, she paints with them, they sing off the page, they entice and enthrall. I was mesmerized, lost within the pages of this book. Didn't want it to end. Every sentence in this book is perfection and it was hard to choose but here are a fe...more
Amanda
Absolutely loved this book. The lyrical writing was just beautiful, really spot on. Interestingly shifts from first to third person. Not only that but the British seascape settings made me want to move by the sea, I felt bereft when it was over. The characters are also spot on. Moira is that dark, flawed, struggling, lost soul in all of us,desperately wanting love but rejecting it to protect her vulnerability. A story of love then, jealousy and betrayal,but redemptive.
Lorraine Surringer
Beautiful, lyrical prose as with her other novels I have read and loved. I love her writing so much I feel like I am feasting on her words which are mouthwatering and filling and leave me fully satisfied. Loved the character of Moira who I could identify with totally. Loved the storyline and the Welsh and Norfolk settings - Fletcher has the power to draw me into different worlds - long may she write!
Elizabeth Moffat
Beautiful, lyrical prose was one of the reasons I fell in love with this book. Our main character Moira is strange, troubled, and incredibly intriguing which made this a complete page-turner. Can't wait to see what Susan Fletcher has in store for us next!
Ian Mapp
Is this a case of 2nd book syndrome? How many authors or bands follow up a highly acclaimed debut with a dodgy second - I'll throw in two - Zadie Smith and the Stone Roses.

Her first book seemed to gather a lot of awards. Can't comment, as I haven't read it.

This one is very hard work and after plodding on with it, I am not sure its worth the effort.

The book annoyingly drops between 1st and 3rd person perspectives and jumps around between timeframes. All this would be OK if there was some relevati...more
Michelle
This is the story of Moira, told at her comatose sister's bedside. Moira was an only child until the age of 11, and was by all accounts, an unusual child, likely borderline autistic spectrum disorder. She is brilliant, but has trouble with relationships and her world is devastated by the birth of her sister. When the opportunity comes to leave the local village school and go to boarding school, she goes as far away as possible, feeling betrayed by her parents and unable at all to relate to her s...more
Ali
Oystercatchers is a beautifully written novel, the language often poetic, the imagery powerful, and yet I did find it harder going than Eve Green by te same author. Moira is a brittle dark character, her younger sister lies in a coma that has lasted more than 4 years. Moira looks back over her life and that of Amy's, as she visits her sister late at night in the silence of a hospital room. Moira has not been a good sister, and married young, she has not been a good wife, and it is in these late...more
Dot
I found this a compelling read but did not enjoy it quite as much as I liked the author's first book, Eve Green. Again, the novel is firmly routed in the landscape...both the rocky coast of Pembrokeshire, and the flatter countryside in Norfolk. The narrative voice is Moira, a medical student who visits the hospital where her younger sister has lain in a coma for 4 years after falling from a rock. Moira has not been kind to her sister, and her account of her life is somehow an apology for her act...more
Candice
May 28, 2012 Candice rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ellen
This is a beautifully-written book with some achingly lovely descriptions. It's easy to lose oneself in the way the author puts words together. The main character, Moira, is difficult to like, but not difficult to understand. At times I wanted to shake some sense into her. A bright but socially awkward, troubled, and lonely girl, she is granted a scholarship to a girls' boarding school at age 11, and arrives there just a few months before the birth of her younger sister, Amy. Eleven years old is...more
Laurie
I read to page 127 but decided to quit at that point. I have been reading books like Portrait of a Lady (Henry James), The Children's Book (A.S. Byatt), Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte) and other things in which the people write in an entirely different style than Fletcher. I just tired of the modern style. E.G. "She wrote them down, in pencil." "A felt-tipped monkey, on a light bulb." "How they were white, and died." So choppy. And, the very unhappy, depressing narrator is describing her l...more
Ellen
This is a beautiful book. A young woman is telling the story of her life to her younger sister, who is in a coma. Moira, the elder sister, felt betrayed when her sister Amy was born when Moira was eleven. She always considered Amy an interloper who destroyed the security and serenity of the family. Moira was sent away to school, so Amy was never really part of her life. Nevertheless, Moira always avoided Amy and, by extension, her parents. Through Moira's talking to the silent Amy, Moira reveals...more
Vivian
Not really sure if I liked this one or not. I certainly would not recommend it to anyone who is even mildly depressed. It is about as bleak a story as I've ever read. That said, the writing style was interesting as the entire story is being told by the older sister to the younger one who lies in a coma.
Lesley
The main protagonist in this book is very complex in fact she is not very likeable at all. Her antipathy towards her much younger sister is not really explained but her feeling that her boarding school would be a better place if she were the only student is a good indication of her solitary nature. Despite some of her actions - her desire to distance herself from her family, reluctance to make friends and her affairs when she believes, without real proof, that her husband is cheating - it is dif...more
Petteri Ingraeus
Jatkuu ja tiivistyy, eikä tunnelma anna hetken rauhaa. Mihin tämä päätty, mitä kamalaa tapahtuu? Hienosti kirjoitettua kaunista tekstiä, rauhaa.
Sue Hunter
Moira was jealous of her baby sister, Amy, from the moment she was born. Unlike most big sisters her feelings never changed and she was downright mean to Amy.

Years later Amy has an accident and lies in hospital in a coma. Moira comes to her bedside most days and talks to her unresponsive sister about the past, including the many ways in which she was mean in Amy's childhood, finally realizing how horribly she treated her.

This was well written but somewhat depressing. Moira did not seem to have...more
Mary Lou
Moira Stone is a seababy- so her father says. She was born on the Pembrokeshore coast. This novel tells of the course of her life from going to boarding school on a scholarship when she is eleven, thro marrying a boy she meets in her teens.

This is stunning and totally mesmerising. The backdrop is the sea and the many and varied sea birds.
Its a story of turning your back on love, being betrayed by the birth of a baby sister eleven years younger, and then trying to find a way back through it all....more
Andi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allison
so, i have mixed feelings about this book.
i loved it in the beginning.
the middle made me not really like it at all, but i wanted to finish it.
and then the end made me just say, okay.
i read a little blurb about it which made me think that the book was going to be centered more around amy's accident.
when instead, i feel like it was just moira complaning and feeling awful when she had a pretty great life.
when i finished, i felt like it should have been moira in the hospital instead of amy.
Relyn
Nov 02, 2009 Relyn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a lyrical writer
Recommended to Relyn by: Elizabeth Berg's blog - I think
Oh. Oh my. What can I even say about writing like this? I was in the middle of this poetic confessional of a novel when I told Jeffrey, "I haven't read a book this well written since.... Well, since History of Love."

If you read my blog, you may recall that Nicole Krauss' book, History of Love, was my number one book last year. This is an amazing novel. Elizabeth Berg says that author Susan Fletcher and her work are in a class by themselves. I have to agree.
Beth Knight
I liked this book well enough but I didn't find myself anxious to get back to it. It didn't read very fast and it's not the kind of book to read when there's a lot going on around you because it's written in both third and first person and it goes back and forth in time. I didn't find this confusing at all but I found it hard to concentrate when someone was in the room,talking around me. Usually I don't have a problem "drowning out" background noise but with this book I did.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Susan Fletcher is the author of Eve Green, which won the Whitbread Award for First Novel, Oystercatchers, and Corrag. She lives in the United Kingdom.
More about Susan Fletcher...
Eve Green Corrag The Silver Dark Sea

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