These two new May releases are not connected in any way. In fact, they are quite opposite from one another. One is a debut novel from a very promising young author and the other a final piece from an author cherished by many. But to avoid any spoilers, these reviews will be short as they release on the same day. I loved them both for different reasons.
The Shore by Sara Taylor (May 26) is a collection of short stories linked together to follow the legacy of one family and connected characters over the span of 150 years. While the setting takes place on one of three islands off the coast of Virginia with wild ponies, sandy beaches and skylarks dipping overhead, the storyline and characters are dark. It opens with a bang and ends the same way and in between are eleven additional snapshots of time which really highlight strong, resilient women and their familial bonds in the face of abuse, drug addiction, poverty and identity.
It was a shockingly, gorgeous read for me. Some might not like the connected, short story structure of the book or the themes involved. All I can say is it left me speechless in the beginning, the end and most of the middle. I am excited to see what Taylor comes up with next.
Changing gears completely is the final work of Kent Haruf (who died last year) with Our Souls At Night (May 26). In Holt, Colorado (the setting for all his books) Addie Moore visits her long time neighbor Louis Waters and proposes they spend their nights together. To talk. To sleep. To not be alone. Being widowers for many years and in the final chapter of their lives, they simply want to spend time paying attention to what’s going on around them during the days and share their fears and stories at night. The sparse prose, simple dialogue and lack of drama direct the focus on the ordinary characters and their final journey.
What another gorgeous read for completely different reasons. After reading this tiny book, under 200 pages, I went to the library to find other works by Haruf.
*Thanks to Knopf and Edelweiss for the uncorrected ARC of Our Souls at Night as well as Hogarth and Edelweiss for the uncorrected ARC of The Shore. I was not required to post these reviews nor compensated for doing so. I enjoyed these books so much that I will have to own a copy of both and hope The Shore has a family tree in the final production!