Trudy, who can argue Kant over dinner and play a respectable portion of Mozart's Serenade in G major, has been raised to marry her childhood friend and assume a life of bourgeois comfort in Milwaukee. Read more...
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Trudy, who can argue Kant over dinner and play a respectable portion of Mozart's Serenade in G major, has been raised to marry her childhood friend and assume a life of bourgeois comfort in Milwaukee. She knows she should be pleased, but she's restless instead, yearning for something she lacks even the vocabulary to articulate. When she falls in love with enigmatic and ambitious Oskar, she believes she's found her escape from the banality of her preordained life.
But escape turns out to be more fraught than Trudy had imagined. Alienated from family and friends, the couple moves across the country to take a job at a lighthouse at Point Lucia, California--an unnervingly isolated outcropping, trapped between the ocean and hundreds of miles of inaccessible wilderness. There they meet the light station's only inhabitants--the formidable and guarded Crawleys. In this unfamiliar place, Trudy will find that nothing is as she might have predicted, especially after she discovers what hides among the rocks.
Gorgeously detailed, swiftly paced, and anchored in the dramatic geography of the remote and eternally mesmerizing Big Sur, "The Edge of the Earth "is a magical story of secrets and self-transformation, ruses and rebirths. Christina Schwarz, celebrated for her rich evocation of place and vivid, unpredictable characters, has spun another haunting and unforgettable tale.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-01-28
- Reviewer: Staff
In her impressive fourth novel, Schwarz (Drowning Ruth) illuminates the difficult lives led by lighthouse keepers in the late 1890s. Well-schooled Trudy (Gertrude) Schroeder abandons both her well-ordered life as a teacher in Milwaukee, Wis., and her engagement to childhood friend Ernst Dettweiler after she falls for and marries his cousin, Oskar Swann. An unconventional dreamer, Oskar decides to move to California to work in a lighthouse. Life at isolated Point Lucia is both austere and an exciting adventure, as Trudy and Oskar join chief lighthouse keeper Henry Crawley and his family. Trudy sets up a makeshift classroom for Henry’s four delightful children to study marine life, shortly afterward starting a business that supplies the illustrations and specimens she’s collected to biologists around the country. Schwarz captures fascinating details of how people survived in the late 19th century in such barren settings, but she goes off course when she introduces a new character, a mysterious Native American woman whom the children mistake for a mermaid. The disconcertingly abrupt tragedy that concludes this plot thread is disruptive, but fortunately, it doesn’t detract too much from an otherwise compelling period story. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.)
Self-discovery with no guiding light
Be careful what you wish for—this adage rings true for The Edge of the Earth protagonist Trudy, a young, educated girl living in Wisconsin in the late 1800s. Her upbringing is sheltered and traditional: After college, she is expected to marry her childhood friend, Ernst, and enter into a life of security and domesticity. Feeling overwhelmed by these preordained arrangements, Trudy is caught off guard when Ernst’s cousin, Oskar, returns to town. Naïve and vulnerable, she quickly falls for the intelligent and adventurous Oskar, abandoning the safe path that lies before her, and the two marry.
When Oskar takes a job as a lighthouse keeper, the couple moves across the country to Point Lucia, California. Their new home is surrounded by choppy waters, rugged mountains and impenetrable fog. Isolated from all but the other lighthouse keeper and his family, Trudy finds her world quickly changed. Burdened by work, Oskar grows distant and cold, and Trudy relies on letters from her parents and her childhood friend, Lucy, to keep her afloat. She becomes fascinated by the sea and its inhabitants, embarking on a scientific quest that uncovers some of the island’s secrets and alters each character’s fate.
Author of the 2000 bestseller Drowning Ruth, Christina Schwarz has created a haunting story. While many surprises are revealed within the final chapters, Schwarz slowly and beautifully describes the depths of each character throughout the novel. Set in a murky, isolated portion of the Pacific coastline, The Edge of the Earth paints a rich picture of mountainous landscapes and the aquatic life that Trudy comes to know so well. Told in brilliant detail, this is a memorable tale of an uncommon woman who embarks on the road less traveled.