Sara's Reviews > The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories

The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories by Sarah Orne Jewett
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May 17, 11

Read from May 12 to 16, 2011

I picked up this book after reading Cranford, and if you enjoy one, I think you will enjoy the other.

This one takes you through a months-long summer visit to a small seaside town in Maine during the 19th century. It is about as eventful as a summer vacation normally would be, there is no great suspense or dramatic action. The narrator is the author, a woman writer boarding with a local herbalist (and renting the small schoolhouse as an office). Visits, meals, walks, and boat trips make up most of the narrative. There is a lot of vivid detail, and if you are going to love this book, that is likely to be what you will love: being taken back in time for a good close look around a quiet traditional village community. No-one is rich, and most of the characters are women, most of them self-sufficient and highly competent in relationships, work, and boating. The significant male characters are misfits: a very shy but sweet old man living with his mother; a retired ship's captain possessed by visions of a surreal Arctic journey that may or may not have taken place; a widowed fisherman who has never gotten over the death of his adored wife.

It is a slow paced book, and I wanted to pick up a pencil and edit her in places, but it was worth my time, and many of the images and stories have been lingering in my mind.
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