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Coastliners: A Novel by Joanne Harris

Coastliners: A Novel (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Joanne Harris

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1,250346,338 (3.3)41
Title:Coastliners: A Novel
Authors:Joanne Harris
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2003), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, 2012, France, Conservation

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Coastliners by Joanne Harris (2002)

  1. 00
    Wildcat Moon by Babs Horton (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: Totally different stories, but whilst reading 'Wildcat Moon' I was constantly reminded of 'Coastliners'. Something subliminal there definitely

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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Coastliners deals with the return of a daughter to a small village on an island off the coast of France, near Nantes. There is a lot of small town politics, French style, family feuds, and resentment at the richer part of the island until the villagers have to pull together to stop nature. Harris, once again, gives a good flavor of the personalities involved. I would like to see a sequel, because I did think that there were some loose ends that could be tied up. The narrator in the audio version was an excellent reader. I noted the elegance with which she delivered the names of the people and places. The end of the audio version also includes an interview with Joanne Harris, which was very interesting. ( )
  jlapac | Aug 14, 2013 |
Coastliners wasn't the rich, magical read that Chocolat is, and it isn't at all sensual in that way. It's a story of eking out a living, an arid story, with little hope. Even the ending is a bleak. The characters are the same: stony people, fighting to survive. From Joanne Harris, that's not what I expect -- though Gentlemen & Players and blueeyedboy aren't exact cosy and loving, either...

Still, while it's compelling enough to keep reading -- Joanne Harris' prose is always clear and easy -- there was nothing there to love with anything other than the same kind of arid, hard-won, embittered love as the characters feel, and I didn't feel the same magic as I usually do with Harris' work. ( )
1 vote shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
This was easier to read than I expected. Not my favorite of our book club selections, but far from my least favorite. The real focus seems to be on family and how people relate to one another and the fact that everything returns.

March 2010 COTC Book Club Selection. ( )
  JenJ. | Mar 31, 2013 |
The style and the story were unimagiative and long-winded. Very soon I started to suspect the descriptions of cultural bits and pieces, since they did not seem authentic at all, however unique this island is supposed to be. And of course, at some point I though I was going to scream if I read about anyone scoffing any more devinnoiseries and guzzling devinnoises (how can one keep these apart anyway?)... While googling about that, I found this excellent, and really funny, article about the book: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/mar/09/fiction.reviews1 ( )
1 vote flydodofly | Oct 4, 2012 |
Following her mother’s death, beautiful young artist Mado returns to her childhood island home to take care of her taciturn, distant father. (I mention that she’s a beautiful young artist because what are the odds she’d be a plain, dumpy, 40-year-old shorthand typist?) Tiny as Le Devin is, its two communities are nonetheless locked in ancestral rivalry, with yet more, and even more bitter rivalries between the families that make up those communities. Mado’s home of Les Salants is badly run down and depressed but, with the help of attractive drifter Flynn (there is always an attractive drifter; given how commonplace they apparently are, it’s strange I’ve never met one. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a beautiful young artist), Mado sets events in motion that bring life back to the village and its people. But good things don’t last forever, and there are forces at work that Mado never imagined.

A pleasant, lightweight read, with no major surprises. I had some difficulty keeping track of the characters, and who was related to whom, but the island itself, and island life, is given an affectionate depiction. ( )
3 vote phoebesmum | Jul 14, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joanne Harrisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leveelahti, SatuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main - John Donne To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, And Eternity in an hour. - William Blake
to my mother Jeannette Payen Short
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060958014, Paperback)

After three novels which centered around gastronomic pleasures, Joanne Harris's Coastliners focuses on more astringent joys. Sea, gritty sand, and adverse weather conditions replace Chocolat, Blackberry Wine, and Five Quarters of the Orange. Set on a small, blustery fishing island off the coast of France, it tells the story of Mado, a young woman who returns to her childhood home to find the local community torn apart by family feuds, bad tides, and murky political machinations.

Passionate, stubborn Mado, whose "head is full of rocks," tries to save the livelihoods of the villagers of Les Salants by urging them to work together to save the beach from erosion, both natural and man-made. The villagers, written with endearing panache by Harris, are an eccentric, curmudgeonly bunch, who eventually cooperate with the help of Flynn, a charismatic stranger with a shady past. He's not the only man of mystery in Mado's life; her father, taciturn Grosjean, has a secretive heart that's as "prickly and tightly layered as an artichoke," and local, wealthy businessman Brismand also seems to be hiding something. Mado does her best to unravel these mysteries, while attempting to keep a hold on her own sense of self in the claustrophobic, close community. It's not only the shore line that takes a buffeting. The villagers and the island are so vividly described that it's impossible not to become engrossed in Mado's story. Coastliners is a book about longing to belong, and Joanne Harris charts that emotional voyage compellingly. --Eithne Farry, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:15 -0400)

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"On the tiny Breton island of Le Devin, life has remained almost unchanged for over a hundred years. For generations, two rival communities, the wealthy La Houssiniere and the impoverished village of Les Salants, have fought for control of the island's only beach. When Mado, a spirited local girl, returns to Les Salants after a ten-year absence, she finds her home threatened, both by the tides and the machinations of a local entrepreneur. Worse, the community is suffering from an incurable loss of hope. Mado is not so easily discouraged. Dogged by prejudice from the superstitious villagers, she is forced to enlist the help of Flynn, an attractive drifter. But Mado's attempts to transform the dying community have unforeseen consequences. As Les Salants returns slowly to life, so do past tragedies, including the terrible secret that still haunts Mado's father. And is Flynn really who he says he is?" -back cover.… (more)

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