The Shore: a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Read more...
The Shore: a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it's a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian's bold choice to escape an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her, to a brave young girl's determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, the characters in this remarkable novel have deep connections to the land, and a resilience that only the place they call home could create. Through a series of interconnecting narratives that recalls the work of David Mitchell and Jennifer Egan, Sara Taylor brings to life the small miracles and miseries of a community of outsiders, and the bonds of blood and fate that connect them all. Spanning over a century, dreamlike and yet impossibly real, profound and playful, The Shore is a breathtakingly ambitious and accomplished work of fiction by a young writer of remarkable promise.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-23
- Reviewer: Staff
This searing debut novel comprises 13 nonlinear chapters that interweave past and future, realism and fantasy. Ranging from 1876 to 2143, their primary setting is the Virginia coastal islands (Chincoteague is the best known) that residents call simply the Shore. Taylor’s story centers on the family of fictional Shore resident Medora Slater, who can heal women powerfully but is scarred by male violence. The book opens in 1995, when her descendant, teenager Chloe Gordy—whose mother is dead and whose father is abusive and addicted—battles fiercely to keep her younger sister safe. In later chapters we meet her mother Ellie, who conceived Chloe amid a night of tragedy, and Medora herself. Chloe’s contemporary, Sally Lumsden, from another branch of the family, is a gifted herbalist with paranormal powers; she predicts the bleak future we see her great-niece Tamara struggling to survive. Though the parts of the book fit together in confusing ways, and two chapters set in the future are less convincing than the rest, the novel offers a promising new voice. Taylor excels at imagining outsider identities, female strength, the connection of people to place, and a world so perilous that damage and healing, brutality and resourcefulness merge. (May)