Body Surfing: A Novel by Anita Shreve

Body Surfing: A Novel

byAnita Shreve

Kobo ebook | April 24, 2007

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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.

Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. After graduating from Tufts University, she taught high school for a number of years in and around Boston. Anita Shreve is the author of the international bestseller "The Pilot's Wife", which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club, and of ...
Title:Body Surfing: A NovelFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:April 24, 2007Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:031600457X

ISBN - 13:9780316004572

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thoroughly Entertaining Anita Shreve crafts an excellent novel about the Edwards, an upper middle class Massachusetts WASP family who enjoy their summers at their coastal New Hampshire property, purchased a few years prior from none other than Kathryn Lyons, the heroine of Shreve's acclaimed novel, "The Pilot's Wife". Each summer of "Body Surfing's" three major divisions (2002,2003@ 2005) culminates with an event which enhances plot, reveals hitherto unknown truths, and has significance for all going forward. Readers become acquainted with the family through the lens of Sydney Sklar, twenty-nine years old as the novel opens and a live-in hired to tutor the Edwards' beautiful eighteen year old daughter, Julia, who has learning difficulties, but is a potentially gifted artist. Sydney is interesting in her own right. A child of divorced parents, she has gone through a divorce and was recently widowed. Graduate work in psychology is on hold and she is content to drift (or body surf), at least for awhile. She establishes close bonds with Julia and the unassuming Mr Edwards, a kind and gentlemanly sort who seems too good a match for the snobbish and aloof Mrs Edwards. Yet none of the dynamics are as fascinating as the interaction between Sydney and the thirty something brothers, Ben, the eldest, a corporate realtor, and Jeff, a political science professor. Both are enigmatic although we learn more about Jeff as the novel progresses. Ben is arguably the most distant character as well as the most misunderstood, at least until the novel's end after much (alas, not everything) has been revealed. Every scene includes Sydney with events beyond her perception only revealed to readers as they become evident to her. And kindness is a leitmotif although disturbing undercurrents lurk beneath the surface. Sadly, novels seem incomplete these days without gratuitous politically correct virtue signalling. Lesbians are favourably portrayed and a peripheral character expresses support for gay marriage in a conversation with Mr Edwards, who occasionally rails against the perceived ineptitude of Bush 43. Unfortunately, passing references to Jeff's specialization (Africa) as well as his views about NATO's viability are made without more detailed elaboration. On the other hand, readers will appreciate the beautifully described coastal scenes and the get-togethers with family and friends for lobster suppers. There is also strong depiction of the pathos evoked from memories which surface when cleaning out a house which has been sold. On a concluding note, "Body Surfing" is thoroughly entertaining. Mr Edwards, Julia, Ben, and Sydney are sympathetic characters and all are quite believable, even Sydney, her horrible luck with marriages notwithstanding.
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Tutoring Triangle Sydney is a private tutor for Julie. When she meets Julies older brothers, Jeff and Ben, Sydney's world changes rapidly. However the plot thickens as deceit and jealousy appear in her new family. I'm not usually a fan of books written in the present tense, but the story concept for this one kept me intrigued enough to keep reading. Also, I will not spoil a story by giving specifics, however I will say that the ending on this one felt weak and left a lot of questions.
Date published: 2010-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page Turner This is the first of Anita Shreve's books that I have read, but it was fantastic! The house that is apparently a character of its own in all of her books got my attention from the get go. The love triangle that unfolds is amazing and definitely gives you a twist near the end. I have and will continue to recommend this book to my friends!
Date published: 2009-07-28