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Favorite regional fiction:

All Things New England

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1avaland
Edited: Mar 3, 2008, 7:32am Top

Instead of just making a list here, I thought we might share some of our favorite fiction set in New England, especially (but not limited to) books by local New England authors.

'Regionalism' is a specific literary genre that harkens back to the 19th century with authors like Sarah Orne Jewett of Maine. Here's a wikipedia piece on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regionalism_(literature)

So, I'm using the term 'regional' loosely now, mostly to refer to fiction that specifically captures the local flavor or color of New England or any specific area within it. Certainly, Richard Russo accomplished this in Empire Falls, and Hawthorne did it with any number of literary works.

edited to correct mistakes and expand the idea a bit more (didn't mean to limit it to 'Maine' - a typo.

2vpfluke
Feb 28, 2008, 11:10am Top

I guess Stephen King is the best known Maine author.

I'd like to throw in an old favvorite of mine from massachusetts: Nathaniel Hawthorne (wonky Touchstone). His biggest three in LT:

The scarlet letter 7227 copies, 54 reviews
The house of the seven gables 1897 copies, 16 reviews
The Blithedale romance 502 copies, 2 reviews

And then I want to append The Celestial Railroad, which I greatly liked when I read it in High School. I also liked The Marble Faun (#4 in LT), but that is set in Rome, Italy, not New England.

3LydiaHD
Feb 28, 2008, 12:32pm Top

Joseph C. Lincoln wrote romances in the first half of the twentieth century that took place in Cape Cod. I've got a review of one of them, Rugged Water, here on LibraryThing.

4avaland
Mar 3, 2008, 7:23am Top

For Maine, there is, of course, the historical fiction of Kenneth Lewis Roberts of Arundel. I read all of these before high school as they were in the house and I needed something to read (which is also how I came to read a medical encyclopedia of some sort from the 1950s and too many RD condensed books).

As far as more contemporary writers, there is Richard Russo, Carolyn Chute, and Monica Wood. Elizabeth Hand lives in Blue Hill and has set some of her recent novels in the state, such as Generation Loss.

A regional Massachusetts author I have enjoyed is Michael C. White who wrote A Brother's Blood set in Maine, and Blind Side of the Heart and Garden of Martyrs were both set in Massachusetts, I think. I see now he has a new novel out, ack! I'm behind two now. I thought William Weld's Stillwater about the flooding of the towns in central Massachusetts for the Quabbin was pretty good. I thought he captured rural New Englanders well.

There there is Jeffrey Lent whose In the Fall and Lost Nation were very good. He has a new book out also. In New Hampshire there is Jodi Picoult who, although I would not deem a 'regional writer', may have set one or more of her novels in the state. John Griesemer is also from New Hampshire, his Signal and Noise, about the laying of the trans-Atlantic telegraph cable, was partially set in New England.

5avaland
Mar 3, 2008, 7:38am Top

****I have rewritten my first post of this thread as I noticed I inadvertently limited the conversation to Maine (what was I thinking!).

Also, for the Lake Champlain area there is Elizabeth Inness-Brown's powerful debut novel, Burning Marguerite. Inness-Brown. She's a native of upstate New York but now lives on an island in the lake in VT where the book is partially set.

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