Tom'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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's review
Sep 25, 2007

it was amazing
Read in October, 2007

No more Maine classics, I promise! But this loosely structured novel from 1896—a collection of sketches set in a fictional coastal town—is an unsung gem and fully deserving of the label "classic."

Jewett (like Miriam Colwell, author of Contentment Cove) was a Down East lady in a Boston marriage; she dedicated her life to Annie Fields, the widow of a prominent publisher. Field and Jewett (with their two maids) spent a month summering in Martinsville, Maine, believed to be the inspiration for Dunnet Landing.

Willa Cather was an important champion of Jewett; she dedicated O Pioneers! to her. The Country of the Pointed Firs is sometimes today dismissed as "local color" literature, and I can remember as a teenager seeing an edition, published by the University of Maine, on the shelf at our summer house and thinking as much myself. Now that I've finally read it, I'm delighted to report that it is lyrical, wise, and soulful: a revelation.
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