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San Miguel by T.C. Boyle
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San Miguel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by T.C. Boyle

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2782040,824 (3.74)17
Member:bcquinnsmom
Title:San Miguel
Authors:T.C. Boyle
Info:Viking Adult (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library, US fiction/literature
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Tags:US fiction/literature, tbr

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San Miguel by T.C. Boyle (2012)

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English (19)  German (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed the writing/imagery/characters....but wanted a bit more to the story (depth). ( )
  Julia.Reeb | Jul 23, 2014 |
didnt finish. writing not interesting enough ( )
  eileenmary | Apr 2, 2014 |
It’s been a while since the last time I read anything by Boyle. There was a period when I read a lot of him, but then I got caught up with new authors and well, you know how it goes. San Miguel had been on my wishlist for while so I just went for it and despite the mixed reviews it’s received, I enjoyed my time with it. I think I’ve said this before of Boyle, that he works better when he doesn’t have to drive a plot. When he can just tell a tale of what happens next with some really interesting characters, living in interesting places, doing interesting things. Even routine things he can make interesting and that’s what he does here. It reminded me strongly of Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose because of the setting and spirits of the women he wrote about. Some wanted to be where they were and pursuing their hard-scrabble lives on San Miguel. One didn’t and it was the combination of those separate personalities that reminded me of Susan Ward and her duality.

Some reviews comment that the stories are too loosely connected, but I found it wasn’t necessary for me to enjoy them and especially liked when Jimmy started up a story about Edith and her time on the island. It didn’t feel forced since you had to take the Jimmy in Elise’s story as the same one in Edith and Marantha’s. Plus it finished her tale, which had ended so abruptly. A few other characters pop up as well, to thread the stories, but each one focuses on the inhabitants and even more closely on the women. Yes, Captain Waters is a force on the island, and Herbie just skewers you from an emotional perspective, but really these are stories of women and their respective states of convalescence, confinement and contentment. Well done and well told. ( )
  Bookmarque | Feb 21, 2014 |
After reading "The Women", I was anxious to read another T.C. Boyle novel. This one didn't disappoint. This is basically the story of an island: San Miguel, just off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. However, it's the story of an island as portrayed through the lives of fictional women who inhabited it. Marantha is the first women we meet, a women wracked with tuberculosis. Marantha comes to the island with her husband Will and her adopted daughter Edith. Marantha wants nothing more than to leave.

Her daughter Edith finds herself unwillingly brought back to San Miguel by Will and becomes virtually a prisoner on the island. A young woman who loves books and music, she hungers for a better life and is willing to take risks to escape which she is finally able to do. Edith's life after the island is cleverly told in the third section of the book with only enough detail to "make you wonder."

I felt the story truly became live with the telling of Elise's experience on the island years later. Growing up in New York, married late in life, Elise embarks on a unimagineable venture coming to San Miguel with her husband Herbert. Never thinking she would have children, she soon gives birth to two daughters. TheAfter reading "The Women", I was anxious to read another T.C. Boyle novel. This one didn't disappoint. This is basically the story of an island: San Miguel, just off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. However, it's the story of an island as portrayed through the lives of fictional women who inhabited it. Marantha is the first women we meet, a women wracked with tuberculosis. Marantha comes to the island with her husband Will and her adopted daughter Edith. Marantha wants nothing more than to leave.

Her daughter Edith finds herself unwillingly brought back to San Miguel by Will and becomes virtually a prisoner on the island. A young woman who loves books and music, she hungers for a better life and is willing to take risks to escape which she is finally able to do. Edith's life after the island is cleverly told in the third section of the book with only enough detail to "make you wonder."

I felt the story truly became live with the telling of Elise's experience on the island years later. Growing up in New York, married late in life, Elise embarks on a unimagineable venture coming to San Miguel with her husband Herbert. Never thinking she would have children, she soon gives birth to two daughters. The island undergoes changes as the world changes: communication, transportation, World War II. The island is affected by all, but Elise's steadiness remains. The story builds to a dramatic but not totally unexpected ending. island undergoes changes as the world changes: communication, transportation, World War II. The island is affected by all, but Elise's steadiness remains. The story builds to a dramatic but not totally unexpected ending. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 23, 2013 |
I enjoyed this book but I thought that the two distinct stories could have been tied together a bit better. ( )
  castironskillet | Aug 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters; how well they understood Its human position: how it takes place While someone is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along. --W. H. Auden, "Musee des Beaux Arts"
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For Milo, who careened down the dunes and provided the electricity.
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She was coughing, always coughing, and sometimes she coughed up blood.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670026247, Hardcover)

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Women, a historical novel about three women’s lives on a California island

On a tiny, desolate, windswept island off the coast of Southern California, two families, one in the 1880s and one in the 1930s, come to start new lives and pursue dreams of self-reliance and freedom. Their extraordinary stories, full of struggle and hope, are the subject of T. C. Boyle’s haunting new novel.

Thirty-eight-year-old Marantha Waters arrives on San Miguel on New Year’s Day 1888 to restore her failing health.  Joined by her husband, a stubborn, driven Civil War veteran who will take over the operation of the sheep ranch on the island, Marantha strives  to persevere in the face of the hardships, some anticipated and some not, of living in such brutal isolation. Two years later their adopted teenage daughter, Edith, an aspiring actress, will exploit every opportunity to escape the captivity her father has imposed on her.  Time closes in on them all and as the new century approaches, the ranch stands untenanted. And then in March 1930, Elise Lester, a librarian from New York City, settles on San Miguel with her husband, Herbie, a World War I veteran full of manic energy.  As the years go on they find a measure of fulfillment and serenity; Elise gives birth to two daughters, and the family even achieves a celebrity of sorts. But will the peace and beauty of the island see them through the impending war as it had seen them through the Depression?

Rendered in Boyle’s accomplished, assured voice, with great period detail and utterly memorable characters, this is a moving and dramatic work from one of America’s most talented and inventive storytellers.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:36 -0400)

The lives of three women on turn-of-the-20th-century San Miguel are shaped by ambition and circumstance, including the wife of a Civil War veteran who hopes to recover her health, her rebellious aspiring actress daughter and a librarian who wonders if the island's peace will endure in the face of looming war.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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