The Right-Hand Shore: A Novel

Kobo eBook available

read instantly on your Kobo or tablet.

buy the ebook now

The Right-Hand Shore: A Novel

by Christopher Tilghman

Farrar, Straus And Giroux | November 7, 2013 | Hardcover

Not yet rated | write a review

A masterful novel that confronts the dilemmas of race, family, and forbidden love in the wake of America's Civil War

Fifteen years after the publication of his acclaimed novel Mason's Retreat, Christopher Tilghman returns to the Mason family and the Chesapeake Bay in The Right-Hand Shore.

It is 1920, and Edward Mason is making a call upon Miss Mary Bayly, the current owner of the legendary Mason family estate, the Retreat. Miss Mary is dying. She plans to give the Retreat to the closest direct descendant of the original immigrant owner that she can find. Edward believes he can charm the old lady, secure the estate and be back in Baltimore by lunchtime.

Instead, over the course of a long day, he hears the stories that will forever bind him and his family to the land. He hears of Miss Mary's grandfather brutally selling all his slaves in 1857 in order to avoid the reprisals he believes will come with Emancipation. He hears of the doomed efforts by Wyatt Bayly, Miss Mary's father, to turn the Retreat into a vast peach orchard, and of Miss Mary and her brother growing up in a fractured and warring household. He learns of Abel Terrell, son of free blacks who becomes head orchardist, and whose family becomes intimately connected to the Baylys and to the Mason legacy.

The drama in this richly textured novel proceeds through vivid set pieces: on rural nineteenth-century industry; on a boyhood on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; on the unbreakable divisions of race and class; and, finally, on two families attempting to save a son and a daughter from the dangers of their own innocent love. The result is a radiant work of deep insight and peerless imagination about the central dilemma of American history.

The Right-Hand Shore is a New York Times Notable Book of 2012.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 9.22 × 6.48 × 1.26 in

Published: November 7, 2013

Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0374203482

ISBN - 13: 9780374203481

Found in: Fiction and Literature

save 84%

  • In stock online

$5.00  ea

Online Price

$31.00 List Price

eGift this item

Give this item in the form of an eGift Card.

+ what is this?

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

Item can only be shipped in Canada

Downloads instantly to your kobo or other ereading device. See details

All available formats:

Check store inventory (prices may vary)

Reviews

– More About This Product –

The Right-Hand Shore: A Novel

The Right-Hand Shore: A Novel

by Christopher Tilghman

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 9.22 × 6.48 × 1.26 in

Published: November 7, 2013

Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0374203482

ISBN - 13: 9780374203481

About the Book

Fifteen years after the publication of his acclaimed novel "Mason's Retreat," Tilghman returns to the Chesapeake Bay estate. This richly textured novel proceeds through 19th-century industry and centers on two families attempting to save a son and daughter.

Read from the Book

1 We see Miss Mary Bayly and her distant and much younger cousin Mr. Edward Mason sitting on the porch of the Mansion House on her ancestral farm, Mason’s Retreat. Edward Mason has crossed his legs; one foot, Mary feels, is poised in order for her to admire his English shoes. There is a bit of mud, or worse (or better, as far as Mary would be concerned), on the left toe. The vast porch is bare except for the two wicker armchairs into which they have settled and the butler’s table placed between them, on which his tea, untouched, and hers, unwanted, are getting cold. There is a slight breeze fruited with odors of the Chesapeake: sea grass pollen, clay flats, fish living and dead. It is September 8, 1920, eight o’clock in the morning, and the air above the Chester River is clear enough to reveal the rooflines of the waterman’s village on Kent Island, the silhouettes of the loblollies of Hail Point, the spars and poles of the oyster dredgers. The chairs have been placed so that neither one of them can be distracted by this view.“Certainly,” says Edward Mason. “Indeed. A very sensible arrangement.”What a fool, thinks Miss Mary. She stares at Edward Mason long enough for him to show discomfort, as if those three empty and useless utterances might have contained the seeds of a bad mistake. His mustache, his flushed skin and red hair, his broad, big-eared, needy Mason face; his grand arrival on the porch where she had been waiting for him. Madam. He thinks he is being courtly, as i
read more read less

From the Publisher

A masterful novel that confronts the dilemmas of race, family, and forbidden love in the wake of America's Civil War

Fifteen years after the publication of his acclaimed novel Mason's Retreat, Christopher Tilghman returns to the Mason family and the Chesapeake Bay in The Right-Hand Shore.

It is 1920, and Edward Mason is making a call upon Miss Mary Bayly, the current owner of the legendary Mason family estate, the Retreat. Miss Mary is dying. She plans to give the Retreat to the closest direct descendant of the original immigrant owner that she can find. Edward believes he can charm the old lady, secure the estate and be back in Baltimore by lunchtime.

Instead, over the course of a long day, he hears the stories that will forever bind him and his family to the land. He hears of Miss Mary's grandfather brutally selling all his slaves in 1857 in order to avoid the reprisals he believes will come with Emancipation. He hears of the doomed efforts by Wyatt Bayly, Miss Mary's father, to turn the Retreat into a vast peach orchard, and of Miss Mary and her brother growing up in a fractured and warring household. He learns of Abel Terrell, son of free blacks who becomes head orchardist, and whose family becomes intimately connected to the Baylys and to the Mason legacy.

The drama in this richly textured novel proceeds through vivid set pieces: on rural nineteenth-century industry; on a boyhood on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; on the unbreakable divisions of race and class; and, finally, on two families attempting to save a son and a daughter from the dangers of their own innocent love. The result is a radiant work of deep insight and peerless imagination about the central dilemma of American history.

The Right-Hand Shore is a New York Times Notable Book of 2012.

About the Author

Christopher Tilghman is the author of two short-story collections, In a Father's Place and The Way People Run, and two novels, Mason's Retreat and Roads of the Heart. Currently the director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Virginia, he and his wife, the writer Caroline Preston, live in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Editorial Reviews

American literary fiction now offers far fewer pleasures than it did a few decades ago, but the novels and short stories of Christopher Tilghman go a long way toward making up for the failures of other writers.

Bookclub Guide

It's been more than a decade since Christopher Tilghman burst onto the scene with his critically acclaimed national bestseller, Mason's Retreat. In that stunning debut novel, Tilghman told the captivating story of a family's attempt to reclaim their wrecked ancestral estate on the eve of World War II. Now Tilghman returns to the lush Maryland landscape of the Retreat, enchanting us once again with his evocative storytelling and deeply felt explorations of the complex ties that bind us to our families and to the land. In The Right-Hand Shore, Tilghman traces the rich history of the Masons from their slaveholding past up to 1920 and the moment when Miss Mary Bayly learns she is dying and seeks a suitable heir for the land that has left her feeling both doomed and blessed.

Responding to Miss Mary's invitation to meet, Edward Mason, the closest relation Miss Mary can find, is unprepared for the stories that will forever bind him to ancestors he never knew and to beautiful acres he has never seen before. He hears of Miss Mary's grandfather brutally selling all his slaves in 1857 in order to avoid possible reprisals after Emancipation. He hears of the doomed efforts by her father, Wyatt Bayly, to establish a vast peach orchard. He learns of Abel Terrell, son of free blacks, who became head orchardist. And he hears of a fractured, warring household torn apart by race and class--all because of innocent young forbidden love. His visit concludes with revelations that will haunt him with self-doubt, laying the path for a homecoming nearly twenty years later.

The questions and discussion topics that follow are designed to enhance your reading of The Right-Hand Shore. We hope they will enrich your experience as you explore this masterly novel about the hold of family, the devastating legacy of slavery, and, ultimately, the possibility of redemption.