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The Hard Blue Sky

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  19 reviews
On the tiny Isle aux Chiens in the central coastal curve east of the tripartite mouth of the Mississippi, live the witty, resourceful and often inscrutable descendants of Louisiana's French-Spanish pioneers. They watch, they quarrel and they love, always beneath a hard, blue sky.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by LSU Press (first published 1955)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  157 ratings  ·  19 reviews


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Chrissie
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book. WOW!

It is for those readers who appreciate good writing rather than for those who want an exciting plot. There is excitement, but that is not why you pick this book. The ending is special; I loved it, but others may hate it. See the book like this - you pull back a curtain and glimpse another life, and then that curtain swings shut, and the book ends. Not everything is spelled out. And the future? Who knows for sure what the future will bring.

The focus is about
...more
Kirk Smith
Jun 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This is not my favorite Grau, but anyone with an interest in the barrier islands, vast grassy marshes, and intracoastal waters near the mouth of the Mississippi might think otherwise. On the surface it is a coming of age story of a teenage girl, set on a small barrier island populated by a fishing village of primarily French heritage. The writing is lovely, but the book is long-ish. There are many side stories, one a Romeo/Juliet, and another that's close to Lord of the Flies. One comparison as ...more
Denise
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one. Hard to believe it is a first novel. As the characters remark, on a small island you get to know everyone, and Grau makes sure we do. Might be the most point-of-view changes of any novel I've ever read.

Her Pulitzer-winner is a sophisticated look at black and white relations in the South. There is tribal conflict here, too, but based on ethnicity, or maybe just proximity, not race. Turns out the people we hate the most are the ones most like us - in this case, the
...more
Yoby
Oct 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
Can already give this five stars. Have no idea why she faded into nowhere instead of being up there with Welty, O'Connor and Faulkner. Her descriptions of the land and of the way people talk and their attitudes towards life and death are flawless. Springs up right in front of your eyes so's you forget you are sitting in your own chair and it's a bit chilly in the room. You break out in a sweat with the heat of the place.

Now that's what I call a good read.
Claudia
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Island Thinking

I enjoyed this book, but I also felt it dragged at times. I especially enjoyed the culture of this island and it’s inhabitants. It was difficult for me to follow the thinking of Annie; I would have guessed she had mental problems. Also, the complacency in general was foreign.
Bea
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is very good descriptive writing. It made me feel like I was living there while I was reading it. It is very slow paced, though, and the type of novel you want to sit back and take your time reading. It is kind of soap operish story of life on a small island in the bayou country of the gulf. It was written a long time ago as I could see by her descriptions of kids left alone all day, husbands occasionally beating wives and kids, no phones, computers or TVs mentioned. The ending could be a ...more
Pamela Ellis
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: regroup
3.5 stars
Debbie Macdonald
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I just cannot seem to get into this book, the writing is good characters are too but it has not hooked me. I will have try again at some point ....
Bonnye Reed
Aug 26, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
EarlyBirdBooks 199
Theresa Johnson
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting character sketches, lovely narrative, yet I kept waiting for a plot to take shape and it did not. Kind of a frustrating read.
Becky
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite of her books, but still an interesting tale of life on an island on the gulf coast of Louisiana: Hard times and tough folks, feuds, and loves.
Kath
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Depiction of community on a Gulf island

Enjoyable book after you get into the stark mood of the story and familiarize yourself with the community, its cast of characters and their peculiar way of speaking. It contained some mild suspense and some excitement, necessary to keep the reader engaged in what is a rather depressing tale. It doesn't really have a plot, as much as it provides the reader with a view of a chunk of time in an island community off the Louisiana coast and the culture of a
...more
Kathie
Aug 07, 2012 rated it liked it
The slow pace of the story is perfect for the slow pace of life on the islands on the Delta. The reader can almost feel the heat and humidity. The community of fishermen is small enough that everyone knows everyone else's business and the reader learns about many of the main families. I was startled by the abrupt ending.
Marsha Marcarian
Nov 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Colloquialisms very distracting.

I just couldn't get in to this book. Too many colloquialisms to keep my interest. Maybe if I had kept with it...?
Jessie Kelly
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Good rendition of life in coastal areas, very descriptive and good character development.
Mary Martin
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
While the description of the small island & its inhabits was interesting, the characters just aren't that memorable.
Anne
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Such a stoic look at women's lives from a time gone by.
Robbi Leah  Freeman
Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it
A totally 5 star book. The author has a true gift for words, description and writing. I love her books but there is no ending to this one. Why???
Ellen
rated it it was ok
Dec 24, 2018
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Shirley Ann Grau (b. 1929) is a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist of nine novels and short story collections, whose work is set primarily in her native South. Grau was raised in Alabama and Louisiana, and many of her novels document the broad social changes of the Deep South during the twentieth century, particularly as they affected African Americans. Grau’s first novel, The Hard Blue Sky (1958), ...more