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The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah…

The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896)

by Sarah Orne Jewett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6661514,402 (3.89)149
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» See also 149 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Read during Summer 2003

Delightful story of the writer's summer in a Maine costal village in the late 1800s. The characters are all very real and the place came alive for me.
1 vote amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
These sparse, vignette style stories about early 20th century coastal Maine were mildly interesting to me, but not strongly captivating. ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Since there is no trip to the coast of Maine upcoming this summer, spending a few hours in the company of Mrs. Todd, Mrs. Blackett and assorted denizens of Dennett Landing and Green Island is the next best thing. The flavors, scents, sights and sounds of that most excellent of locales drift out of the pages of this slim volume like magician's smoke. The book reads like a memoir, the unnamed narrator giving us interconnected sketches of 19th century summer life in a simple time where everything is tied to the rhythm of the tides, and an herbalist's skill is respected at least as much as that of a "modern" doctor. Appropriately, there is humor of the most wicked variety, often aimed at the church and the clergy. My favorite line, however, was Mrs. Todd's observation about one of the hymn singers at a family gathering: "I couldn't help thinkin' if she was as far out o' town as she was out o' tune, she wouldn't get back in a day." My edition has some stunning black and white photographs of the place and time serving as preface to the story. ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Jul 4, 2013 |
Life is busy in the 21st century. Much of it is our own making, but that's how we live. We need information now; can't wait 10 seconds for the page to load; too long, didn't read; kids going in different directions. I just seem to go, go, go. Go, dog, go! Reading is a way to slow things down, but I often read mysteries, or thrillers. Books that engage me and have me frantically turning pages so I don't fall asleep, because if I stop, I might fall asleep. However, as I read The Country of the Pointed Firs, this small, charming book, I could feel my body slow down and my brain slow down as I adjusted to life as told in small tales from a 19th century fishing village on the shores of Maine.

There isn't much to this story, not really a plot, just collected stories from the unnamed narrator as she spends a summer in Dunnett Landing, meeting friends and family of her landlady. There is herb gathering, family reunions, and boat trips for the day - depending on the wind direction. There are stories from sea-faring days, and even laments of how life is changing by the end of the 1800s. But overall, there is a peacefulness, and calm that comes with Mrs Todd and the stories related in this quiet book. I'm so delighted to have discovered this gem.

on entertaining:
Tact is after all a kind of mindreading, and my hostess held the golden gift. p59

on old friends:
There, it does seem so pleasant to talk with an old acquaintance that know what you know. Conversation's got to have some root in the past, or else you've got to explain every remark you make, an' it wears a person out. p73

on life near an ocean:
[The view] gave a sudden sense of space, for nothing stopped the eye or hedged one in, - that sense of liberty in space and time which great prospects always give. p58 ( )
1 vote raidergirl3 | Mar 23, 2012 |
A quiet, peaceful read, The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett conveys both a timeless quality and a feel of yesterday. Exploring the value women place in the friendship of other women, along with the strong community ties that existed in rural regions, this short read is one to savour.

A young woman writer spends her summer in the small coastal Maine town of Dunnet Landing. She develops a friendship with her landlady, Mrs. Todd, and through her meets other women of the area. These women tell stories of both the inhabitants of Dunnet and the surrounding islands, and their vivid descriptions of both people and places naturally includes the beauty and ruggedness of the country.

There is no direct plot, instead the book consists of the weaving together of these stories. These reminiscences tell of a simple world with straight forward values that encourage the reader to dream of their own yesterdays. Originally published in 1896, this book still resonates with spiritual quality and merit in our busy lives today. ( )
7 vote DeltaQueen50 | Nov 9, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Orne Jewettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Whitman, Sarah WymanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There was something about the coast town of Dunnet which made it seem more attractive than other maritime villages of eastern Maine.
My heart was gone out o' my keepin' before I ever saw Nathan; but he loved me well, and he made me real happy, and he died before he ever knew what he'd had to know if we'd lived long together. 'Tis very strange about love. No, Nathan never found out, but my heart was troubled when I knew him first. There's more women likes to be loved than there is of those that loves. I spent some happy hours right here. I always liked Nathan, and he never knew. But this pennyr'yal always reminded me, as I'd sit and gather it and hear him talkin'—it always would remind me of—the other one."
In these days the young folks is all copy-cats, 'fraid to death they won't be all just alike; as for the old folks, they pray for the advantage o' bein' a little different."
I hoped in my heart that I might be like them as I lived on into age, and then smiled to think that I too was no longer very young. So we always keep the same hearts, though our outer framework fails and shows the touch of time.
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Book description

I The Return

II Mrs. Todd

III The Schoolhouse

IV At the Schoolhouse Window

V Captain Littlepage

VI The Waiting Place

VII The Outer Island

VIII Green Island

IX William

X Where Pennyroyal Grew

XI The Old Singers

XII A Strange Sail

XIII Poor Joanna

XIV The Hermitage

XV On Shell-heap Island

XVI The Great Expedition

XVII A Country Road

XVIII The Bowden Reunion

XIX The Feast's End

XX Along Shore

XXI The Backward View

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486281965, Paperback)

A classic of American fiction, memorializing the traditions, manners, and dialect of Maine coast natives at the turn of the 20th century. In luminous evocations of their lives, Maine-born Jewett created startlingly real portraits of individual New Englanders, and a warm, humorous, and compassionate vision of New England character.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:34 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"A sequence of short stories about a writer who tries to finish work" --Provided by publisher.

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