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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  2,415 Ratings  ·  447 Reviews
When Frances accepts an invitation to visit Stiltsville, a community of houses built on pilings in Biscayne Bay, she has no idea that her simple "yes" to a new friend will determine the course of her life for the next two dozen years. Set in Miami from the late '60s to the 1990s, Stiltsville is a sweeping journey seen through the eyes of one woman as she experiences love, ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by HarperCollins e-books
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Jun 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd read that this book would make me cry at the end, and as I approached the end I stubbornly decided I wouldn't cry, but my resistance was futile. I can still tear up thinking about the loveliness of the last few lines. This book follows a woman from the moment of meeting her future husband, through their marriage, their years of childrearing and beyond, and the writing is so compelling and vivid I felt I lived those years with her. Highly recommended.
Ali Murphy
Dec 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was not what I expected at all. I was expecting light and fluffy. Instead, I found language that was clunky and ordinary and off putting. The first few pages I was disconcerted by the plainness of the story and the style of writing. But I quickly found that I wanted to read more. I wanted to know how Frances's story went. How did it all end? For me, it ended with a quiet contentedness about love and marriage, including my own.

I have often heard the phrase "marriage is hard" and it is a
Bob Mustin
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I’d become jaded about modern American fiction, and the younger crop of fiction writers. What did they have to write about? I kept asking myself. Over the past couple of decades and until the past couple of years, we of the so-called middle class all lead pretty cush lives, leading to nothing much other than pettiness and banality. So, really, what was I to have expected of thirty- or forty-somethings who had sharpened their bland writer’s chops in MFA programs? But hoping beyond hope, I keep re ...more
Aug 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Daniel herself, at her first Madison reading, almost apologetically said that her book doesn't contain any cliffhangers. This is true. It is a quiet book, but a quiet book can be incredibly powerful, and STILTSVILLE is. Susanna Daniel's anatomy of one couple's marriage was like quicksand -- it drew me in slowly at first, and then the characters she rendered so fully and artfully came to consume my thoughts. I stayed up late last night reading the last 70 pages. I had only intended to read a few, ...more
Sara Strand
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Susanna writes makes you question whether this is actually a real love story or not. Because it's not a love story like you see in movies. It's like a for real love story, where two people fall in love and get married young, and they question whether it was the right decision or not, someone thinks about infidelity, and it's the every day problems of an ordinary couple raising a daughter.

You find yourself nodding your head along because everything is so true to what it's really like to be marri
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Suzanna Daniel

When I first read the reviews and praise and hype for this book I was eager to get it immediately. It sounded like my kind of a book and I wanted to read it as soon as possible. It was a bit of a slow read at first. I liked the story and was getting interested in the characters but I started to wonder why I wanted to read it…why did I bump all of my other books down to the bottom of my queue and choose this one? But soon I was caught up in the events in the lives of t
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
This IS women's Fiction - and also so obviously the product of creative writing workshops - all the i's dotted and the t's crossed. But, it lacks grit. There really is nothing here but a fairly boring, average life of an an American woman ... who gets married (once) has a child (one) who grows up. It begins in 1970 and runs through 2004. It takes place in Miami and covers that city's growth and historical events (but not the famous 2000 election.). The tone fluctuates between low grade depressio ...more
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
i feel funny giving anything 5 stars but I really devoured this book. I actually liked the first 2/3 best, before the major "drama" started, but it was ALL beautifully written ~ and I felt it all in my gut. The narrator was someone I'd be proud to have as a friend. Great book.
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Actual rating: 4.75/5

Marisa de los Santos. Anna Quindlen. Kate Maloy. Elizabeth Berg. Jeanne Ray. These talented authors have all written beautiful novels that take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Their books explore the everyday life of mothers, wives and friends, depicting scenes of domestic life with believable situations and authentic voices. These "comfort" reads are the sort that don't involve wars or murders. There are no car chases, no mysteries to solve, no supernatural disturba
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
From page one, Daniel draws the reader into the exotic and glittery Miami milieu that makes up her debut novel's setting. In Frances, we have a narrator we can admire and sympathize with and cheer on--her voice is compelling in its even-toned compassion for the people around her. In a mere 300 pages, Daniel creates a rich and many-layered world around Frances and Dennis DuVal. Frances, a Georgia native, meets Dennis in Stiltsville, falls in love, and moves to Miami. In an instant, the trajectory ...more
Aug 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not the type of book that I am normally drawn to. I like my books a bit more strange, to have a bit more intrigue. Sometimes I say I don't like to read books that are "just" about people. This, however, was a treat to read, as it was written by a woman Jon and I know in Madison (mainly through poker and ultimate frisbee games with her husband).

I really enjoyed reading it and in fact read it very quickly. I thought the sections were paced absolutely perfectly -- setting up or hinting at s
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: at-library-link
This is the story of a marriage told from the wife's point of view. Written so slice of life real that the reader is immersed in the lives of this family. Not much action, no high drama, just life happening between Frances and Dennis from the day they meet until the sad ending. The relationships of each one and their daughter Margo are so normal and ring so true that there is no questioning their reality. This family during the 20+ years of the marriage, lived and loved near Miami, amongst famil ...more
Aug 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looking for the perfect end of summer read? Look no further than the debut novel Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel. Opening in 1969, in the small community of houses called Stitlsville, built on pilings in the middle of Biscayne Bay, the reader is immediately captivated by the main character, Frances, as she meets the man that will become her husband. The young couple’s house in Stiltsville serves as an object lesson about the precarious nature of life, marriage, and the passage of time. Stiltsville ...more
Stiltsville is firmly in the Anne Rivers Siddons and Maeve Binchey school: a saga (although this one is shorter than most) of a person's life. It's not deep reading, but a good solid beach read.

Frances' life is rather, well, unfixed. She seems to drift in and out of things - her job, her relationship with Dennis, her moving to Miami, her marriage, etc.. There's no sense that she's really passionate about anything that happens to her or her family. Even her husband Dennis' ALS and eventual death
Sep 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: adultfiction
I don't know if I liked it. I appreciated it very much, but I don't know that I liked it. Although it wasn't emotionally manipulative at all, I still sort of knew where this story was heading, which maybe made me feel a distance from it. It seemed to be chronicling the mundane nature of love and marriage, and I appreciated that idea and how that idea was executed, but mundane is sort of...well, mundane, when you get right down to it. I am not a person that needs a flowery love story, far from it ...more
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5. I read this for its Florida setting - the title is based on a community of somewhat rickety stilt houses perched on Biscayne Bay. And oh, Florida was a mega dose of Vitamin D.

A young woman on vacation meets a Floridian, falls in love and marries into a Coral Gables family and circle of friends. Years pass, storms blow through, a daughter grows up. A deceptively quiet novel that reads like anyone’s story. It is at the end of a chapter or after time passed in the sections of this book that t
Lydia Presley
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love being surprised by a book. When I first cracked open Stiltsville and read the opening chapter, I formed an opinion of the book and was a little hesitant to move forward. The actions by the key character touched close to home for me and I didn't know if this was a book I'd be able to get into, let alone give a fair shot.

But then I kept reading, because I needed to know more. I needed to know why people were still talking about this book. Plus, there was something about Frances and her fri
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-set-in-usa
Novel set in Miami (a cracking good book)

The best book I have read so far this year!

Sensitively and well written, Susanna develops her characters in a manner that makes you feel that you have met them. The book is written through the eyes of cool collected Frances taking us with her as she recounts various events in her life, starting with meeting her husband Dennis.

The book simply follows her life and those around her. Meetings, friendship, marriage, motherhood. Other characters stay throughout
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Much has been said about this novel. That it, "stands out due to its lovely, unexpected normalcy,” that it has lush descriptions, honest characterization and that the language is quiet and compelling in its power. All of these things are true. This book is hard to put down and maybe one of the best I've read in months. All at once you want to get to the end but you don't want it to be over. Each event, an event that could happen in your own life, is purposefully and perfectly placed giving the b ...more
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely terrific first novel about a long marriage set against the background of Miami and the now defunct summer community of houses known as Stilstville built in Biscanye Bay. Why this novel is so effective is hard to say, but the setting and historical events form an effective background for the story. Keep a tissue handy.

Apr 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011, audio-2011
NOTE: I listened to this book on audio

Ugh, this was torturous. I can't believe I made it through the whole thing. This book was about nothing and full of boring and unlikable characters. There's really no storyline, no point, no drama, no nothing. I don't get it.

The reader of the audio book didn't help; she's the type of person who pronounces the H in words like "what." [shiver]
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great novel by a first-time published novelist who we will be hearing a lot more from. A great writer. And the back-story about the writing of the novel is a great story in of itself. Set in Miami it is a wonderful novel.
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written first novel that is a biography of a marriage.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
good story about family and changed--great beach read because it takes place near a beach house. Full review to come.
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a little lighter than what I usually read, but it was unexpectedly moving. It reminded me a little of Anne Tyler in a Miami setting.
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading some heavier novels such as Precious and In the Sanctuary of Outcasts, I was really looking forward to losing myself in a light-hearted, easy to read fiction novel. When I saw Stiltsville advertised in an issue of Shelf Awareness, I placed a hold for the novel at my local library thinking this would be it! I had very high hopes for this novel, looking forward to another author’s debut. Unfortunately, I feel like I read the whole thing wondering where was the meat of the story?

Oct 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Story starting in the late 60s and spanning a marriage. At 300 pages, that's a lot of living to pack in. The book started slow for me. The style of writing reads less like a story and more like the recounting of something that happened. (It sounds like your mom telling you a story). Also the structure is weird. There are a lot of unnecessary flashbacks. For example, the daughter comes home crying from a slumber party. Then the author backs up and talks about the weeks leading to the slumber part ...more
Aug 04, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is interesting. It seems like a superficial summer-read, but its really not. The writing is excellent. Wonderful descriptions of Miami ... One can tell the author loves the place. Stiltsville actually exists. There is a certain nostalgia in this book which gave me the constant feeling that I am reading a very sad and melancholic story. Some events live up to that, but in general, I think it might be a reflection of how the author feels about Miami, and how it has changed. There are sev ...more
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's hard for me to say whether I loved this book because of its many parallels to my life or because of the story itself or a combination of the two.

Like the main character's daughter Margo, I spent many weekends and summer days at the Red House in Stiltsville as a kid in the 1970s and a bit into the 1980s and some of my favorite memories were made there. The author spent time at the same house and her description of the house in the book made it feel like I was walking through my memory. Every
Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved the oblique and understated way this book unfolded, the development of the characters and the plot building slowly but solidly as the narrator goes over the changes in her life since the first time she visited the stilt house near Miami. She goes with a friend she has just met at a wedding and falls for the man her friend is crushing on - eventually they marry and Frances (the narrator) describes friendships, family crises, her marriage and the way their lives, their city, their world - ...more
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Author Susanna Daniel was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she spent much of her childhood at her family’s stilt house in Biscayne Bay.

Her debut novel, Stiltsville, was awarded the PEN/Bingham prize for best debut work published in 2010. Stiltsville was also named a 2011 Summer Reading List pick by, a Best Debut of 2010 by, a Best Book of 2010 by the Huffington Post, a
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“I did not understand, taking those pictures, that history must be collected while the subject exists. If not, what goes unrecorded can fill an ocean.” 3 likes
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