Body Surfing: A Novel

Mass Market Paperback | July 1, 2009

byAnita Shreve

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At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing, 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's 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 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 metier" (Miami Herald), Shreve weaves a novel about marriage, family, and the supreme courage it takes to love.

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At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing, 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's two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydn...

Anita Shreve is the critically acclaimed author of twelve books, includingThe Pilot's Wife, which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club, andThe Weight of Water, which was a finalist for England's Orange prize. She lives in Massachusetts.

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Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 6.75 × 4.12 × 1 inPublished:July 1, 2009Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316036285

ISBN - 13:9780316036283

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Customer Reviews of Body Surfing: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from not my favourite Shreve book I have been an Anita Shreve fan for several years – well, okay, decades. I read her first novel, Eden Close back in the 70s when it first came out and remember really liking it. Her novel The Pilot’s Wife was an Oprah pick and, thus, huge. But I’m partial to the quieter novels: Where or When, The Last Time They Met. Body Surfing is the story of Sydney, a once-divorced, once-widowed woman who comes to live on the New Hampshire coast to tutor the beautiful but intellectually challenged Julie, youngest daughter of icy matriarch Mrs. Edwards and kind architect, Mr. Edwards. Her summer at the seashore is disrupted by the arrival of Julie’s older brothers, Ben and Jeff. Soon, Sydney is caught in the undertow of the strange and antagonistic relationship between the brothers. I found the novel odd and oddly compelling. Shreve unfurls Sydney’s story in short elliptical passages, layering Sydney’s day-to-day routine with memories of her divorce and dead husband. It’s hard to say what she is searching for because most of the time she isn’t even aware of it. Perhaps she is looking for family – but the Edward’s have issues of their own despite the appearance of perfection. Whatever she is looking for, it is complicated and there aren’t any easy answers. Shreve is a good writer, but I wouldn’t say that Body Surfing is her best book. Of course, even on a bad day, she’s still a cut above the rest.
Date published: 2011-09-16