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Piano Tide

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Do we belong to the Earth or does the Earth belong to us? The question raised by Chief Seathl almost two centuries ago continues to be the defining quandary of the wet, wild rainforests along the shores of the Pacific Northwest. It seethes below the tides of the fictional town of Good River Harbor, a little village pressed against the mountains—homeland to bears, whales, ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published December 13th 2016 by Counterpoint (first published November 21st 2016)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  186 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Having 2 kids live in the Pacific Northwest, I was hoping that this novel would catapult me into the areas rich environment. Although the book succeeded in doing so with astonishing description in and around the forests, coasts, rivers and mountains, the story fell short for me.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read! I loved this book!
Harriett Milnes
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star-books
Published in 2016, Piano Tide is a novel set in a fictional coastline town in Alaska. Interesting characters.
Sarah Trask
Feb 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
While the language is quite lovely, I find the characters neither intriguing, colorful nor nuanced. I wanted to like the book, but I struggled with it, because I felt the author essentialized certain types of people in the community, painting identities and characters' motives with broad strokes.

Although I admire the intended environmental message, I feel that it does a disservice to the cause, because the book oversimplifies a complex issue. The story is told from the perspective of young,
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a brilliant book! Especially recommended for anyone with ties to SE AK or that wants to be transported there. I loved the sense of place and characters, with just the right amount of suspense.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have long been a fan of Moore’s nature writing, so when she published a novel, I had to read it. I stumbled over the first page, heavily loaded with description. I struggled to picture Good River Harbor, a fictional town on the Southeast Alaska coast where the buildings are all on stilts so as not to get washed away when the tide comes in. But then the people and the story grabbed me. Each character is special in his or her own way: Tick, the red-bearded giant who tries so hard but keeps ...more
Matthew Walker
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This debut novel by Kathleen Dean Moore is a captivating story populated by an assortment of intriguing and likeable characters. In many respects the town of Good River Harbor feels like it is itself the main character of this novel. The descriptions of the town are vivid and visceral. One can easily picture it as a living and breathing entity, the tide waters constantly receding and expanding like it’s lungs, perpetually altering the landscape. Many of the characters are endearing and quirky as ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing

“A whale folded its back, slowly unfolded, and levered its flukes into the air. The tail stood like a black jib, streaming water, then sank as the whale dove to a seam below the reach of the sun. Water slipped into the space the whale had pressed on the sea. One by one, other whales raised their flukes and dove. The gulls, still silent, waited still. They knew that in their own time, the whales would begin the hunt again. The water rose and fell in meditative breath.”

This novel was just so
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Moore writes with so much love for the earth, for nature. Her style is lyrical, she has a musician's ear and a wild beating heart. I've read nature essays by her, but this time around, I really enjoyed the marrying of nature with humanity, with characters living on, with, beside the land. The place and characters had just the right touch of quirkiness. I liked, too, how she juxtaposed environmentalism with the human need for home, for sustenance, for work; how she explored the idea of living ...more
Esther Bos
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
The characters are interesting, the setting is unusual and unknown to me (SE Alaska coastal town), and the author obviously has a wonderful love for nature. But I felt like the characters were too sketchy, the town and surroundings were hard to visualize, and the environmental message was too central for me to fully enjoy this book. My husband liked it better than I did, though, and so did a lot of other reviewers. I may try it again, knowing the details, so I can get a better feel for the book ...more
Pamela Okano
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature, conservation
This is an eco-novel based in a SE Alaska village. Tick is a big, burly guy caring for his two young boys,while his wife works in Seattle so that the family can make ends meet. Lillian runs the local bar/laundry/public shower. Nora is a mysterious newcomer who plays a piano, seemingly not very well. Kenny, wheel-chair bound, fashions hats from squirrel and rat hides and screams at tourists. Axel is the town entrepreneur who thinks nothing of using an abandoned cistern to stage an admission-only ...more
Luanne Clark
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
“Everything a man makes starts falling apart as soon as he pounds the last nail. That’s the difference between Father Time and Mother Nature: He knocks things down, she grows things up.” The language was 4 star worthy, but the characters were two dimensional and the plot a little strained. Rather than try to make it into an eco/thriller I would have rather had her fully develop these potentially wonderful characters and their little Alaskan harbor town. The descriptive language of the natural ...more
John Benson
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novel takes place in the small fictional hamlet of Good River Harbor in Southeastern Alaska. The small place is filled with many eccentric people who in many ways feel controlled by a man named Alex Hagerman, who develops project that employ the residents but wreak havoc on the environment. Eventually, the residents begin to rebel and work at sabotaging his latest project. A great book set in an interesting locale, with eccentric characters and a good plot.
Andy Lillich
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it
This should be 3 and a half stars, really. Its characters and writing are worthy of 5, but - it needed a better editor to fulfill its promise. Some of it is over-written and the ending is not entirely satisfying.

If you like a really good - but imperfect - novel of the Northwest, especially as it is lived in a small coastal town, I think you will like it, despite its flaws. And like me, you may wish it could have been just a LITTLE bit better.
Jim Corson
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kathleen Moore is a nature writer and this is her first book of fiction. Her descriptions of Southeast Alaska were, I thought, stunning. Having kayaked much of South East Alaska, the town described reminded me of both Elfin Cove and Pelican, both built on pilings at the edges of steep mountains.
I highly recommend this as a Good Read, often funny, quirky, but always engrossing.
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a community read. When I first started it, I didn't know whether to continue or not but as I read on, it grabbed me and I was hooked. The writer is quite good. I liked her characters and the Alaska setting (I lived in AK for 35+ years), plus the themes she was writing about - environment, equality - both gender and financial, etc. I would recommend this book to everyone.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
This is our town's 2019 Community Read book. I read the first two chapters and just couldn't stomach the dopiness of the plot, the absurdity of the scenes, and the one-dimensional characters. This is a polemic disguised as a novel. The author should stick to essays and editorials and leave fiction to qualified writers.
Marilyn Beyer
May 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
A naturalist conservationist with a past comes to small town Good River Harbor, Alaska, and clashes with the most powerful man in town--who will sell off an natural resource that can give him a profit. The plot should have been good. Out of generosity, I will just say I did not enjoy the book, the writing, or the characters. Had it not been a book club selection, I'd not have finished it.
Mike Dettinger
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A really beautiful novel of SE Alaska. The story sucks you in, but it’s the characters you will stay for and remember with love. So real, so wise, so flawed. And the language is beautiful without being florid. It just begged to be read aloud to someone you love.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was a nice combination of nature writing and story telling. I really came to like and care about the town and characters that the author created. Good story, with the author's love of nature evident throughout. An interesting and entertaining read.
Pamela J
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Most enjoyable read. Well-developed cast of characters create this story about a waterfront Alaskan town. Interesting to read that Moore *started* drafting characters according to various embodiments of environmental ethics, but they become whomever they become....
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: never-finished
The characters seemed too stereotyped and the theme one that has been played out, for me. I wanted to read it, as it was our Community Read, but there are too many other books in life to enjoy. I’m giving it 3 stars since many people in my book group enjoyed it.
Dec 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2017
I wanted to give this four stars for its masterful use of language but the matter of making the many characters more readily identifiable lowered my enjoyment of this otherwise wonderful book. I want to,read more of this environmentally concerned author.
Josephine Ensign
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found parts of this book interesting—mainly the descriptions of "made up but based on real" places and people in Alaska. While I appreciated the author's attempt to weave in a strong environmental message and depict characters with opposing viewpoints, it felt clunky and contrived.
Jo Moran
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a debut book set in a small coastal town in Alaska. Loved the characters.
David Kessler
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Southeastern Alaska and its islands are a special place. Why not let Ms Moore, the author, take you on a tour of its characters and secret inlets?
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really good story with interesting characters. The end was slightly anti-climactic, but it was an enjoyable journey getting there.
Sandy Bielenberg
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved her writing and the quirky characters in this small SE Alaska village.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This one just seemed lacking. I could not embrace the characters or the story line. I was excited about the Alaskan setting,but even that was a bit lack luster.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful Alaska tale. Totally believable, piano and all.
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Environmental philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore writes about moral, spiritual, and cultural relationships to the natural world. In 2000 she founded the Spring Creek Project at Oregon State, which brings together the practical wisdom of the environmental sciences, the clarity of philosophy, and the emotive power of the written word to re-imagine humankind’s relation to the natural world. In addition ...more
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