Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Hard Blue Sky” as Want to Read:
The Hard Blue Sky
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Hard Blue Sky, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Hard Blue Sky

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  157 ratings  ·  19 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Hard Blue Sky
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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???
rated it it was ok
Dec 24, 2018
rated it liked it
Dec 17, 2016
Ellen Turnbaugh
rated it really liked it
May 28, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Jun 09, 2014
rated it really liked it
Dec 19, 2016
Laura Brackett
rated it it was amazing
Dec 10, 2017
Laura Perkins
rated it it was amazing
Apr 30, 2016
Saeed Alsaud
rated it really liked it
May 20, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2015
Alison Smith
rated it liked it
Jul 23, 2019
Liz V
rated it liked it
Mar 26, 2014
rated it really liked it
Sep 08, 2019
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • All He Ever Wanted
  • When Cows Fly
  • The Darling
  • American Gods: By Neil Gaiman (Trivia-On-Books)
  • גדר חיה
  • Rule of the Bone
  • Dark Dance (Blood Opera Sequence, #1)
  • The Winter Players
  • Cyrion
  • Delirium's Mistress (Flat Earth, #4)
  • Companions on the Road
  • Death's Master (Flat Earth, #2)
  • The Monarch of the Glen (American Gods, #1.1)
  • The Book of the Damned (Secret Books of Paradys, #1)
  • Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer
  • The Birthgrave (Birthgrave, #1)
  • Night's Master  (Tales from the Flat Earth #1)
  • Tamastara, or The Indian Nights
See similar books…
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