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The Shore

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  2,066 ratings  ·  408 reviews
Welcome to The Shore: a collection of small islands sticking out from the coast of Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean. Where clumps of evergreens meet wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, storm-making and dark magic in the marshes. . .

Situated off the coast of Virginia's Chesapeake Bay, the group of islands known as the Shore ha
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Hogarth (first published March 19th 2015)
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Bridgit White I agree. I kept thinking (while reading) "What's wrong with all these men?" And were they so poor they could not afford birth control? All the women k…moreI agree. I kept thinking (while reading) "What's wrong with all these men?" And were they so poor they could not afford birth control? All the women kept getting pregnant. And the one was killing men to get pregnant. The last chapter to me was more 'romantic'. I didn't feel like it was his sexual desire that drove him, just a desire to be loved and not alone. (less)

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Average rating 3.55  · 
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 ·  2,066 ratings  ·  408 reviews

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Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free-from-work
i chose this book thinking it was going to have a Winesburg, Ohio vibe - a series of linked stories that make up a larger novel-feel in which desperate characters both love and resent their isolated hometowns and suffer beautifully.

and in some ways, that expectation panned out - structurally it holds up, although this is definitely more "novel" than "short story collection." although it is made up of short self-contained vignettes, they would lose something if this had been marketed as a collect
Angela M
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don't read short stories as a rule and I know I am missing out on some really good writing but once in a while I take the leap especially if the stories are connected. That's the next best thing to a novel for me and this collection felt like a novel - sort of . It would have felt more so if the stories in this book were in chronological order ; then the changes in the narratives spanning over 250 years might not have been as confusing . However , the appearance of people mentioned in one stor ...more
Peter Boyle
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: David Mitchell fans
"It’s a little house, our house, one room downstairs and two rooms upstairs and a porch for each, and according to the phone company and the electric company and the taxman it doesn’t exist."

The Shore is an isolated, run-down collection of islands off the coast of Virginia, populated with wild horses, witch-doctors and chicken factories. It has been home to generations of strong-willed, determined women and their haunting stories are told in this remarkable novel. From Medora, the illegitimate
Southern grit lit at its best. If you like generations of a very disturbed and disturbing family in your reading selections, this fits the bill. Murder, mayhem, mysticism, meth heads, and malevolence fill the chapters.

The lay-out of the chapters, really interconnected vignettes, would be what I first disliked and then ended up much appreciating by the end. This book makes your brain work! Something like 20 characters are introduced at different points in their lives, not chronologically and with
Rarely do I finish a book and have so little to say about it. I enjoyed The Shore, and I wanted to write an in-depth review, but I've been struggling for days with what I have to say and even what I remember about the story. The way I felt about this reminds me of the way I felt about Hannah Kent's Burial Rites , which was published (and which I read) in 2013: both books gathered a word-of-mouth buzz about them prior to publication, receiving favourable reviews and drawing comparisons to the ...more
(Nearly 4.5) Gritty and virtuosic, this novel-in-13-stories imagines 250 years of history on a set of islands off the coast of Virginia. As a Maryland native, I think of Chincoteague and Assateague as vacation destinations, but Taylor definitely focuses on their dark side here: industrial-scale chicken farms, unwanted pregnancies, domestic violence, bootleg liquor, gang rape, murders and meth labs. There’s a core of narratives set in the 1980s–90s that could easily form a novel on their own, but ...more
reading is my hustle
Oh, man. It sucks to be poor. And generational poverty? Sucks even more. These interconnected stories are bleak and compelling. Bloodlines are blurred, violence is certain, and the shore is where it all transpires.

You've been warned.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There are many characters that populate this very assured debut novel, but none of them is more enduring and unforgettable than the shore itself. Within these chapters, characters ebb and flow like the ocean itself, plunging in head first to reveal themselves to the reader and then receding to safe (or not so safe) shore.

Indeed, the structure of the book follows this ebb and flow, starting in current times, withdrawing to 1876, advancing to a horrific dystopian future in 2143, introducing differ
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
So every once in a while I take myself out of HPlandia and read what various acquaintances refer to as a "real" book - like literature even.

This one is interesting in a how bleak and sad and horrible can we make things kinda way. The writing is good. The various interconnected stories were mostly well done, but srsly peeps, except for the very end story - which is set after an epic biological apocalypse and people are horribly mutated-the sheer unrelenting misery of this book makes me want to r
3.5/5. The Shore by Sara Taylor is a book that’s hard to categorize. It’s a cross between a short story collection and a novel and follows the lives of different members of a large family living on a collection of small islands on the coast of Virginia. The stories jump from branch to branch of a vast family tree in a nonlinear timeline (the first chapter is set in 1995, the second one in 1933, and so forth). These different perspectives don’t shy away from depicting quite harsh realities as mos ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I received a copy of this audiobook from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

I was quickly pulled in to this book chronicling multiple generations in the shore region of rural Virginia. Cheyenne bloodlines, herbal magic, resiliency - these themes follow throughout. I think I was most partial to the present-day stories with people having to choose between dealing drugs or picking up another job at the three chicken factory farms nearby.

I was less thrilled, and surprised by, the
Julianne (Outlandish Lit)
But like actually 4.5.

The first chapter of this book absolutely blew me away and the rest of the book did not disappoint. If you're at all interested in dark, gritty Southern Gothic literature, or perhaps think you could be but have been put off by how male-dominated those stories tend to be, grab this immediately. And if you want a little dose of magical realism, too, you're in the right place. I waited a couple weeks to read this after acquiring it, and I regret it.

The Shore is an interesting
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
The beginning read well and grabbed Chloe's personality and context of her life. But I am afraid I have to be the odd woman out again on this one.

The continuity was not there. Period.

The pictorial family charting at the beginning non-withstanding.

The place feel existed, just. But my enjoyment in the read barely made the two.

And this time, I could actually detail 4 or 5 basic reasons why. But I won't, because the mode and the writing style are exactly into current endemic forms. And they are pop
Ellie M
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for this ARC.

The Shore tells the stories of islanders living off the coast of Virginia. Many of the individuals described escape to the islands because they don't want to be found. The stories are all connected, although not told in chronological order. I didn't mind the fact that there were jumps from past to present, and future, although I enjoyed the future story the least and found it the most far fetched. I don't think though it detracted from my enjoymen
2.5 - a wildly imaginative collection of interwoven stories, full of action and characters, but slightly too much for my personal taste
Book Riot Community
The shore in question is the collective name for an ellipses of islands dotted off the Virginian coast. It is a place of magic, drug addiction, domestic abuse, doomed love, illicit distilleries, wild ponies, and shell-dappled roads. Treating time as a game of hopscotch, Sara Taylor’s debut novel traces the ebb and flow of the islands’ families over several centuries and into an imagined future. It’s an accomplished balancing act, especially for a debut novel. An incidental character in one chapt ...more
Charlotte Dann
It took some time but I really enjoyed this book. It was quiet, powerful, and affecting. Lots of different things going on, and I for one loved the conclusion. Watch my video here. ...more
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: postal-book-club
As we wrap up another Postal Book Club round, it's safe to reveal some of the selections we've read since last summer. The Shore was my pick for our group, so naturally, I loved it.

Many reviews call The Shore a collection of connected stories, but, for me, it was most definitely a novel. The main character is the setting itself, a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, that come alive through Taylor’s exquisite language and imagery, and offer solace and heartache to the generations of ch
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This collection is webbed together, following closely knit characters. From the first story (which is my favorite) I realized that I was going to be riveted and maybe horrified by the actions within. It does verge on the strange as we head into the future, but it fits. The writing is beautiful and I can't wait for a novel by Taylor. In honesty, this collection reads like a novel because being the shore, many are relatives or friends that touch each other throughout the ages, some inappropriately ...more
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on

This started off really good. It is a novel but almost feels like a series of short stories, every chapter tells a stand alone story about a female member of one family. I think this is the type of book you need to read more than once to fully understand what is going on, there is a family tree at the front of the book which helps, however flicking back and forth through the ebook version was slightly difficult.

The book is sort of a historical/ modern day
Ruth P
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
I think I am on a different planet from the readers who raged about how mesmerising and powerful this book is!
For me...yawnsville
Ian Mond
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Shore is a début novel from Sara Taylor but you wouldn’t know it because the writing is so assured in tone and structure. The book is set on a small group of islands off the coast of Virginia and covers a three hundred year period that focuses on two lines of descendants stemming from Medora – half white, half Native American who was born on the islands in the mid 19th Century. The novel bounces around in time, between the mid 1990s, to the late 1800s, to the early 20th Century, to a point 1 ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Strong writing, spread over 13 chapters with 11 narrators. The individual chapters tell the story of a family line over 280 years. A few have hints of magic, some are violent, and the majority describe strong women and a connection with this particular place on the coast of Virginia.

Most of the chapters are also stories that can stand alone, and this has been described as a short story collection. A reader could easily pick up the book and read just one to get a feel for the author's voice. The
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, netgalley
Firstly, this book contains a great deal of emotional and sexual abuse so just want to put out a trigger warning.
I really did enjoy this debut novel by Sara Taylor, but it did take me a while to really get in to it. Looking back however, this may have something to do with the fact that I was reading it via Kindle.

I would definitely say that it is closer to a short story collection - rather than a novel - and I found no issues with dipping in and out, reading a chapter or two at a time. Although
David Reviews
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is a seriously good book that demands your full attention. You will be rewarded with pages of mesmerising stories and memorable characters. It blew me away and it will certainly end up being one of my favourite books of 2015.

Each chapter is a separate story which is intricately linked, by location, and to members of two families. After the first chapter I was hooked and found myself taking deep breaths and filled with anticipation at the start of each new chapter. The storytelling is delici
May 05, 2015 rated it liked it
In the synopsis, we learn that The Shore is a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia, with...clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it's a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years.

So the story begins, and we are first introduced to two young
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A curious delight from this year's Kitschies newbie list that gently SFnalizes the Virginia seashore over several generations of two families on through to near-future gentle apocalypse. Where magic realism meets Mason Dixon South, there's a tinge of what's maybe coastal Appalachia culture (?) that makes this curiouser and curiouser. With strong writing swirling with conflict, historic momentum, and minor magicks, perhaps the only objectionable piece is the too-often depiction of Native American ...more
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, arc
Original review here:

Obligatory disclaimer goes here: I received The Shore from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much to Hogarth of Crown Publishing Group for giving me the chance to read it!

The first thing you need to know about The Shore is that the setting is one of the most important characters in the story. This is no small feat, as throughout its 300+ pages, we meet more than two dozen others, nearly all of them loosely connecte
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Shore takes place on a set of small islands off the coast of Virginia, a place I’ve never been and frankly didn’t know existed. However, the destitute and desperate characters could have stepped right off the front porches of places I’m more intimately familiar with. We may not have an ocean nearby, but there’s no shortage of addiction, abuse, and family secrets in rural Kansas. So although the title of Taylor’s novel may imply that her setting is somehow singular, set apart, if you have any ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A young girl buys chicken necks to use as crab bait and returns to her dilapidated home and abusive father to try to scrape together enough food for dinner. From there, the vibrant and often bloody world of The Shore only gets bigger, following several characters across centuries in interconnected short stories that serve as chapters. The stories range from the 1800s to the distant future, from ordinary to downright bizarre. Yet life in the Shore remains oddly the same even through this vast sco ...more
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The Socratic Salon : The Shore 1 22 Jun 18, 2015 04:16AM  

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Sara Taylor is a product of the United States and the homeschooling movement. She traded her health for a BFA from Randolph College, and her sanity for an MA in Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia. Following the MA her supervisor refused to let her leave, so she remains at the UEA to chip away at a double-focus PhD in censorship and fiction. She spends an unprecedented amount of time ...more

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