Synopses & Reviews
"Always readable-sometimes compulsively so-Shreve's novels are typically emotionally resonant, nicely paced, and populated by memorable characters." -People
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing, she has signed on to tutor the teenage daughter of a well-to-do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage.
But when the Edwardses' two grown sons arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destructive web of old tensions and bitter divisions. As the brothers vie for her affections, the fragile existence Sydney has rebuilt is threatened.
With the subtle wit, lyrical language, and brilliant insight into the human heart that has led her to be called "an author at one with her métier" (Miami Herald), Shreve weaves a novel about marriage, family, and the supreme courage it takes to love.
"Shreve excels at nuance and detail. She skillfully illuminates the tiniest of moments, offering readers a peek at the complex undertones coursing through the characters throughout the story." -Rocky Mountain News
"There is something satisfyingly clean, well functioning, pale, and delicious about an Anita Shreve novel. . . . Shreve's characters, grappling with desire, juggling their shame against their regret, are entirely welcome." -Boston Globe
"Shreve's writing is textured, reflective, and generally flows with ease, to the point where the reader may be surprised at how quickly the pages turn." -Newsday
"Deceptive love and stark betrayal form the icy core of this dark 12th novel from Oprah-anointed (The Pilot's Wife), Orange Prize finalist (The Weight of Water) Shreve. Set adrift at 29 by the sudden death of her second husband (her first divorced her), smart, underemployed Sydney (no last name) signs on for a quiet New England oceanfront summer of tutoring 18-year-old Julie, the intellectually slow but artistically talented and strikingly beautiful daughter of the fractious Edwards clan. The family includes Julie's brothers 35-year-old Boston corporate real estate man Ben and 31-year-old M.I.T. poli-sci professor Jeff and the three children's parents. Sydney is half-Jewish, and Mrs. Edwards is anti-Semitic. Family tensions escalate when Julie disappears, then resurfaces in Montreal as the lesbian lover of 25-year-old Helene (a body surfer who frequented the beach near the Edwardses' home). Jeff and Sydney bond during their search for Julie, nights of passion leading to plans for a joyous wedding, which get very complicated when the couple returns to Edwards central. Shreve's devastating depiction of the family's dissolution the culmination of sublimated jealousies suddenly exploding into the open is wrenching. Shreve's omniscience is asserted with such ease that it often feels like she's toying with her characters, but her control is masterful, particularly in the sure-handed and compassionate aftermath." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"In simple yet eloquent style, Shreve portrays the arc of a complicated romantic relationship, from infatuation to betrayal. What's more, she builds in a palpable sense of suspense as well as a deep empathy for human frailty. The ever-skillful Shreve delivers yet another gripping read that will satisfy her many fans and earn her some new ones." Booklist
"Shreve's beautifully drawn tale of family and connection will leave readers feeling a bit slammed themselves: against the vagaries of life and the rocky shoals of love. A winner." Library Journal
"[A] thoughtful, tightly woven meditation on marriage and mortality, family devotion and dysfunction, with subtle, skillful segues into class and religion." USA Today
"Descriptions of fog, sunlight, swimming, eating, conversation, gardening, intimacy, and frustration are rendered in lucid, lean prose, so the story of an almost-disaster in the midst of such beauty moves quickly, slyly, toward its revelation." Providence Journal
"The characters don't bleed and the plot doesn't rise above cliche. In the end Shreve is too good a writer to be satisfied with a role in romance fiction." Chicago Sun-Times
"Not one of this crowd-pleasing author's best, but a solid, workmanlike B-plus effort." Kirkus Reviews
A spellbinding novel about a young widow torn between two brothers she meets one New England summer, Body Surfing is from the bestselling author of A Wedding in December and The Pilot's Wife, an Oprah Book Club selection.
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing once again, she has answered an ad to tutor the teenage daughter of a well to do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage. But when the Edwards' two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destructive web of old tensions and bitter divisions. As the brothers vie for her affections, the fragile existence Sydney has rebuilt for herself is threatened. With the subtle wit, lyrical language, and brilliant insight into the human heart that has led her to be called "an author at one with her métier" (Miami Herald), Shreve weaves a novel about marriage, family, and the supreme courage that it takes to love.
About the Author
Anita Shrere is the author of the acclaimed novels Eden Close, Strange Fits of Passion, Where or When, Resistance, The Weight of Water and The Pilot's Wife. She teaches writing at Amherst College and divides her time between Massachusetts and New Hampshire.