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The Resource Maine : a novel, J. Courtney Sullivan

Maine : a novel, J. Courtney Sullivan

Label
Maine : a novel
Title
Maine
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
J. Courtney Sullivan
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Sullivan’s follow-up to Commencement (2009) introduces, as it did, four female characters, this time bound by the serpentine tangle of family. At the beginning of summer, three generations of Kelleher women descend on the family’s beach home in Maine, as they have for half a century already. Changing point-of-view from one to another of the four protagonists, Sullivan creates deeply observed and believable, if not altogether sympathetic, characters, and as much is learned about one woman through the eyes of the three others as from her own perspective. Moody matriarch Alice, her uninvolved hippie daughter Kathleen, brown-nosing daughter-in-law Mary Ann, and newly-single, thirtysomething granddaughter Maggie each has a simmering-below-the surface inner-monologue that lights a spark, and Sullivan makes sure we can only anticipate an explosion. Sullivan gracefully meets the challenge of crafting a cast clearly pulled from the same DNA soup, without a clunk or hitch in the machinery. Expect interest from book clubs and fans of its popular predecessor. -- Bostrom, Annie (Reviewed 06-01-2011) (Booklist, vol 107, number 19, p36)
  • Sullivan follows debut Commencement with a summer spritzer that's equal parts family drama, white wine, and Hail Marys. The story follows the struggles of three generations of Kelleher women: drunken Alice, the mass-going matriarch; her rebel daughter, Kathleen, a Sonoma County farmer; Kathleen's sister-in-law, the dollhouse aficionado Ann Marie; and Kathleen's daughter, Maggie, an aspiring writer. Rather than allowing the characters to grow or the plot to thicken, the novel's conflict derives almost entirely from the airing (or not) of various grievances (Alice believes herself responsible for her sister's death; Maggie is pregnant, single, and terrified; Kathleen is still the bitter person she was before she sobered up; Ann Marie has a martyr complex). The Kelleher summer home on the Maine coast is the putative center around which the drama revolves, yet it is the women's common love for Daniel, the patriarch rendered faultless in death, who does the most to bring the women together. The book's tension is watered down at best, like a sun-warmed cocktail: mildly effective, but disappointing. When conflict finally does break the surface, the exhilaration is visceral but short-lived. Late in the story, Kathleen tells Maggie, "It's going to be okay," to which she responds, "It has to be." Unfortunately, the reader never gets much chance to worry otherwise. (June) --Staff (Reviewed March 14, 2011) (Publishers Weekly, vol 258, issue 11, p)
  • Beautiful, fractious, and 83 years old, Alice Kelleher rules her children—especially her daughter, Kathleen, and her daughter-in-law, Anne Marie—with her cruel and callous speech. Granddaughter Maggie fares a little better, largely owing to her desperate need to serve as peacemaker. At the heart of this compelling novel of three generations of women emotionally stunted by fate and willful stubbornness is the family vacation property in Cape Neddick, ME, where the Kellehers have convened for six decades. Thirty-two-year-old Maggie is single, newly pregnant, and abandoned. Her mother, the abrasively immature at sixtyish Kathleen, leaves her California "worm poop" farm and lovely partner, Arlo, to get Maggie to come to her senses regarding this pregnancy. As for Anne Marie, she struggles to maintain the outward appearance of the saintly martyr watching over Alice, who could slay an elephant with her narcissism. VERDICT In her second novel (after Commencement ), Sullivan brilliantly lays out the case for the nearly futile task of these three generations of badly damaged Irish Catholic women seeking acceptance from one another while failing badly at self-acceptance. [See Prepub Alert, 11/29/10.]— Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI --Beth E. Andersen (Reviewed April 15, 2011) (Library Journal, vol 136, issue 7, p89)
  • Everyone has dark secrets. It's why God invented confession and booze, two balms frequently employed in Sullivan's well-wrought sophomore effort. Alice Brennan is Irish American through and through, the daughter of a cop, a good Catholic girl so outwardly pure that she's a candidate for the papacy. But Alice, more than that, is an Irish rose, "one of the most special young women out there, just waiting for someone to take notice." When Sullivan (Commencement, 2009) introduces to her, someone has taken notice, and decades have rolled by, and Alice Kelleher is now reflecting on 60 years of life at a beachside cottage that her husband won at gambling. She spends her days drinking red wine, reading, "watching the waves crash against the rocks until it was time to make supper," and avoiding her children's pointed demands that she not drink so much—and especially that she not drive once she'd had a few belts. As Sullivan's tale unfolds, there are plenty of reasons that Alice might wish to avoid taking too close a look at her life: There's tragedy and heartbreak around every corner, as there is in every life. So it is with the intertwined tales of her daughter and granddaughter, who are more modern creatures, all bound up in confessional groups of their own, yoga, homeopathy and all the other stuff of the contemporary examined life. Sullivan spins a leisurely yarn that looks into why people do the things they do—particularly when it comes to drinking and churchgoing—and why the best-laid plans are always the ones the devil monkeys with the most thoroughly. The story will be particularly meaningful to Catholic women, though there are no barriers to entry for those who are not of that faith. Mature, thoughtful, even meditative at times—but also quite entertaining.(Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2011)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
384339
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Sullivan, J. Courtney
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3619.U43
LC item number
M35 2011
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Women
  • Family secrets
  • Maine
Label
Maine : a novel, J. Courtney Sullivan
Instantiates
Publication
Dimensions
25 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
385 p.
Isbn
9780307595126
Lccn
2011003396
Label
Maine : a novel, J. Courtney Sullivan
Publication
Dimensions
25 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
385 p.
Isbn
9780307595126
Lccn
2011003396

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      85 Literary Lane, Newnan, GA, 30265, US
      33.38561 -84.669793
    • A. Mitchell Powell Jr. BranchBorrow it
      25 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA, 30263, US
      33.387732 -84.816797

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