Thin Place
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Thin Place

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  955 ratings  ·  230 reviews
The prize-winning author of Versailles tells the story of a small New England village unsettled by a young girl's unearthly gift. In Varennes, a town near the Canadian border, three girls come across the body of a dead man on the local lake's beach. Two of them run to get help, but twelve-year-old Mees Kipp stays with the body and somehow, inexplicably, brings it back to l...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 303 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Center Point (first published 2006)
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On the back jacket of Kathryn Davis' The Thin Place—in the area reserved for praise from critics, other authors, or any distant celebrity—is a quote from a Kirkus review. Though I don't have the actually words in front of me, if I remember right, it said "Davis, God bless her, assumes that her readers are intelligent and interested in what they are reading." End quote. I didn't know quite how I felt about that. I feel I am somewhat intelligent and that I do like to be interested in what I am rea...more
Doug Bradshaw
Reading the other reviews, I feel like a loser in that the book didn't work well for me. Somehow, I missed the genius and magic that others seemed to find and savor. The book is very fragmented, goes from the inner thoughts of animals (which to me were merely human's thoughts about what animals may be thinking versus what they are really thinking) to mundane observations about ordinary life that were rather boring and mostly unhelpful to me: An elderly 90 year old women with a son in his 60s who...more
Jennifer Ready
The premise of the story has been summarized by other reviewers, so I won't take the time to do it here, but I will note that I bought this book after reading a review, thinking that it was going to be more focused on the supernatural, the review leading me to think that the focus was the "thin place," the division between this world and the next that is thinner in Varennes than in other places. I envisioned ghosts or magical realism, of sorts. In short, this book was not what I expected.

That b...more
What a terrible book. I have a "100 Page Rule," where if I don't care about what will happen by one hundred pages into the book, I don't finish the book. I finished this book anyway, but it wouldn't have made a 200 page rule because I never managed to care about any of the characters in the book.

The final 15 pages almost earned this book two stars because it did get a little bit interesting, but since the definition of 2 stars is "it was OK" versus 1 star "didn't like it", I really had to go wit...more
This is a book to savor, which is another way of saying that it's taking me a surprisingly long time to finish for a book that is so enjoyable and so slender. Everything in this book, from the people to the cats to the corn, is alive, at least somewhat sentient, and very opinionated. I guess my only complaint is that she alludes to so many stories and plot lines, but hasn't really delved into many of them with much depth, which leaves me wanting more.

*Updated upon finishing*
I have to concur wit...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Not what I expected, and not difficult. All the pieces of the jigsaw do fit together to make a provocative picture. It's not the picture on the cover, though. One tip, if you do feel intimidated - make notes to keep track of the different characters, and try to read it in big chunks. Also, enjoy it for what it is, a collection of images and ideas, not a plot-driven package. Life is messy and sometimes 'stories' should be, too. Recommended if you're in the mood for something different and, like m...more
Jane C.
This book appears to take place in New Hampshire: we have a route 10, an Upper Valley region, and views east to Mt. Washington. It's also a place that's quiet and slow enough that people feel they can be closer to nature, and maybe in some way the spiritual world.

Especially in the beginning there were some beautifully written paragraphs, like Andrea thinking about how upset her husband gets and concludes that it's hard to be married to a romantic. But just when the writing got into a plot or a c...more
An odd, beautiful book. It's different from anything else I've ever read. In examining the course of a single summer in a small New England town, it weaves together questions about consciousness (human, animal, even plant), social interactions, the connection between humans and the natural world, the potential for catastrophe (both human-made and natural), divine intervention, and the beauty and joy found in tiny, seemingly insignificant things. "The thin place" is an expression that refers to p...more
Jan 22, 2010 Morgan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not sure
Recommended to Morgan by: nobody--a Marilyn Leinhos loaner
A puzzle of a novel. I think I like it--not sure yet. No, I'm sure, I am lukewarm about it. Expected more emphasis on the "thin place" where the boundaries between people living and desd become opaque, thinner.

I'm 3/4's through and still only mildly interested. I would prefer that the author choose one main character (MEES?) and follow her, with many asides for the outlook of the others --human and animal--and more emphasis on plot advancement. I have not been able to engage with or care about a...more
Kevin Lawrence
Because this book came recommended by a valued friend [thanks for the recommendation, Michael!], I very much wanted to be blown-away by this book and so perhaps I was demanding too much from my first exposure to Kathryn Davis. I found it very difficult to get a good grasp on how to navigate too deeply into the novel until about 2/3rds into the book. Davis has a kaleidoscopic way of writing where her viewpoint will very suddenly collapse and reorganize itself into not just different characters' v...more
Bookmarks Magazine

The thin place is a Celtic term used to describe the diaphanous realm where the spiritual and physical worlds combine. In her lyrically brilliant sixth novel (after Versailles, 2002), Kathryn Davis imagines a town rooted in the thin place. Every living thing is intricately connected here: humans, animals, and vegetables all have their say. Critics admit the novel is difficult to summarize, but all commend the powerful poetry in Davis's loopy, mystical examination of time, morality, and everyday

There is a lot to like in this novel. The language is fun to read--lush and lyrical. It's told in the rare-in-contemporary-writing omniscient point of view (at times more successfully than others), which makes it a good study for writers. Some of my favorite passages were in the pov of animals. There is a magical element to Davis's world that appeals to me.

Yet, I did not love this book. So much of it served as character sketches for one momentous final scene. I would have liked more building of...more
Because a friend recently mentioned this book, I decided to reread it. It is definitely odd, but if one reads a bit more slowly and is willing "to suspend disbelief," it pops out as an interesting take on everything. That's because everything acts as a character, that is, everything has a consciousness of one sort or another--even tree lichens speak. Ordinary ideas of life and death are stretched as well. If one can go along with such things, The Thin Place is full of life always and laughter at...more
Sweeping ensemble novel that takes place over the course of one summer in Vermont. Some of the characters include Mees, a 12-year-old girl who has the power to bring the dead back to life, beavers, dogs, and even lichen. A beautifully written, sometimes cryptic novel that celebrates miracles, life, death and our tiny place in the universe.
It's not that the writing is bad but the intentional disjointed puzzle like nature of the writing is over done. By the time the plot (assuming that there is one) started coming together I was weary of jumping from narrative to narrative about seemingly unrelated characters. I thought it was profound at first but then I realized that the reader must trudge through so much crap mascarading as profound metaphor before the plot thickens that when the reader finally gets to the hook which heightens i...more
This book was given to me by bumma a Christmas or two ago and I somehow avoided taking it off the shelf until recently. Having said that, I believe it has taken me longer than any book in recent memory to finish. Normally, I'm a magical realism kind of girl, but somehow I never found the flow of this book. Rather than stand as a story, the vignettes did not hold together for me. Perhaps it was because I would set the book down with one character and when I picked it up again, I was with someone...more
The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis

Random thoughts, think, think, don't emerge from your mind, just concentrate. This is the feeling I got when I first started reading this mystical, entertaining yet odd book. I was uncertain where it was going, or perhaps especially, where it was coming from. That said, there is a story here, three young girls on the threshold of leaving childhood, a unique small town population, a church, beavers, a dog, and an unexpected mystic healer are enfolded in this book, n...more
Jul 02, 2012 Darlene rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Cabin dwellers with nothing else to do
Recommended to Darlene by: Cheryl in CC NV
The font on this library hardback is too small. I made it through the first chapter and it looks to be a good book. Put in a request for the large-print or audio version at the library. Requested that it be available to Kindle at Amazon. Hopefully I can try this again someday.
Now, I have not only the large print hard cover edition from the library but I bought the Audible version with Shelly Frasier as narrator. The font on the hardback is larger but the space between lines and lack of paragr...more
Jori Richardson
Every once in awhile, I try to pick out random books that I would not normally read. Sometimes they turn out to be quite a pleasant surprise, other times... not so much.
I would definitely have to say that "The Thin Place" would fall into the latter category.

It was a jumbled, disorderly rant of scattered mess. I often felt that I was trying in vain to put together a puzzle while reading this one. Davis seemed to take nothing seriously - a cat coming home to some cream seemed to be just as importa...more
Zoe Brooks
This was an interesting read and reminded me of Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Like Bradbury's novel this is a magic realist account of life in small town over a short period of time. Don't let the description fool you: this novel has a slow and gentle start and it isn't until the last few chapters that life in the town is threatened.

Davis weaves a tapestry made up of many threads. Not only does this mean the portrayal of the, sometimes mundane, daily lives of the many residents, but also the...more
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JG (The Introverted Reader)
I really can't even tell you what this was about. There's this little town in New England where the membrane between worlds is very thin. This book tells about one summer in the town's history and some of the weird things that happen.

This sounded like exactly my kind of book. It wasn't. At all. I should have been warned when I read the book jacket and saw that the author had won some sort of Kafka prize. I've never read Kafka, but I have this vague idea that he's hard to understand and the reade...more
Fantastic. This book reminded me of The Stone Diaries in both its spare writing style and the way I took to it immediately. Often I have to digest for a while whether a book makes it onto my favorite shelves, and I weigh if it stands the test of time or not, but those two books earned an immediate place. There is a scene where a bald mentally ill woman yells Cocksucker! in church (and later becomes the lead soprano), and I felt like I'd been waiting to read this book all my life. The author says...more
This novel is masterfully woven, so much so that I feel after finishing it as though I this is only one of several readings necessary to even begin to work toward catching, let alone understanding all of its nuances and complexities. The characters of Mees, Billie, and Helen-- and also Piet, are my favorites and I wish I could have spent a bit more time with them. The animal characters, Margaret and Gigi in particular, are also beautifully done! The story made me think a lot abouot POV for this...more
Bookslut's Jessa Crispin put this as best book of the decade in the Toronto Globe & Mail's article. Thought I'd check it out.

I couldn't exactly tell you what this book was about. I could tell you what the back of the book says it's about and what the interview with the author in the back says it's about, but I'm not sure I got that much plot out of it. The ending was weird at best. But none of that seemed to matter. This book was so amazingly well written, that I just enjoyed being immersed...more
Midway through this somewhat bizarre novel, one of our narrators says, "So many things are alive: lichen, moss, grass. Also people. So many things are alive and that's what's strange, not that stones aren't, especially when you consider how everything's made from the same materials" (Davis 123). It's an idea that Davis takes to heart both thematically and in her narration, which employs cats, dogs, beavers, and a single-minded moose as narrators. Davis throws the net wide here and hopes to pull...more
I chose this book for a book group discussion based on NPR recommendations and an overall 3 rating on GoodReads and Amazon. I have to agree with earlier reviewers that it was a very different book. The author jumps around a lot, and some of that jumping and pontificating about the grandiose nature of the world was annoying, so I mostly skimmed those parts.

However, there were more things that I enjoyed about the book than I disliked, which is the reason for the 4 stars. In no particular order th...more
Multiple perspectives can do wonderful things for a narrative. When it's done well, it can help flesh out the story and give the reader more insights than can be garnered from a single character. When it's done poorly, or haphazardly, multiple perspectives only serve to impede the flow of the story, and can confuse the reader. Such is the case here, where Davis gives us the perspective of many characters, including several of the pets in the small town in which her story is set. Here, the multip...more
Celsea recommended this book to me, and I approached it with a little trepidation because I wasn't sure that I wanted a real adult novel. Then I read that Louise Gluck, this poet I love but who is very -- I can't believe I'm typing this -- transcendental loved the book and the author, and that made me wary.

True to form, this was a strange but interesting novel, told in snippets by everyone in the small town where the line between material and spiritual is very thin. A girl can bring people -- an...more
This is not an easy read but it is an interesting one. I read good things about it in various places and snapped it up at a used book sale.

I started reading it while in a waiting room during the work day, which was probably not the best idea. This book is rather lyrical and especially at the beginning jumps around in perspective between the 15 or so characters which includes dogs, beavers, bees, fish and a small village of people of all ages. It is beautifully written with layers of story that...more
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Kathryn Davis is an award-winning American novelist.

Davis has taught at Skidmore College, and is now senior fiction writer in the Writing Program in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

She is a recipient of the Kafka Prize, the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999, a 2000 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction...more
More about Kathryn Davis...
Duplex Versailles Hell The Walking Tour The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf

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