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About Anita Shreve
Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. Early literary influences include having read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton when she was a junior in high school (a short novel she still claims as one of her favorites) and everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote while she was a senior (to which she attributes a somewhat dark streak in her own work). After graduating from Tufts University, she taught high school for a number of years in and around Boston. In the middle of her last year, she quit (something that, as a parent, she finds appalling now) to start writing. "I had this panicky sensation that it was now or never."
Joking that she could wallpaper her bathroom with rejections from magazines for her short stories ("I really could have," she says), she published her early work in literary journals. One of these stories, "Past the Island, Drifting," won an O. Henry prize. Despite this accolade, she quickly learned that one couldn't make a living writing short fiction. Switching to journalism, Shreve traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, where she lived for three years, working as a journalist for an African magazine. One of her novels, The Last Time They Met, contains bits and pieces from her time in Africa.
Returning to the United States, Shreve was a writer and editor for a number of magazines in New York. Later, when she began her family, she turned to freelancing, publishing in the New York Times Magazine, New York magazine and dozens of others. In 1989, she published her first novel, Eden Close. Since then she has written 14 other novels, among them The Weight of Water, The Pilot's Wife, The Last Time They Met, A Wedding in December, Body Surfing, Testimony,and A Change in Altitude.
In 1998, Shreve received the PEN/L. L. Winship Award and the New England Book Award for fiction. In 1999, she received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey, and The Pilot's Wife became the 25th selection of Oprah's Book Club and an international bestseller. In April 2002, CBS aired the film version of The Pilot's Wife, starring Christine Lahti, and in fall 2002, The Weight of Water, starring Elizabeth Hurley and Sean Penn, was released in movie theaters.
Still in love with the novel form, Shreve writes only in that genre. "The best analogy I can give to describe writing for me is daydreaming," she says. "A certain amount of craft is brought to bear, but the experience feels very dreamlike."
Shreve is married to a man she met when she was 13. She has two children and three stepchildren, and in the last eight years has made tuition payments to seven colleges and universities.
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From the New York Times best-selling author of The Weight of Water and The Pilot's Wife (an Oprah's Book Club selection): an exquisitely suspenseful new novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event and its devastating aftermath--based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine's history
In October 1947, after a summer long drought, fires break out all along the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Kittery and are soon racing out of control from town to village. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her husband, Gene, joins the volunteer firefighters. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie's two young children, Grace watches helplessly as their houses burn to the ground, the flames finally forcing them all into the ocean as a last resort. The women spend the night frantically protecting their children, and in the morning find their lives forever changed: homeless, penniless, awaiting news of their husbands' fate, and left to face an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists. In the midst of this devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms--joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain--and her spirit soars. And then the unthinkable happens--and Grace's bravery is tested as never before.
As a pilot's wife, Kathryn has learned to expect both intense exhilaration and long periods alone, but nothing has prepared her for a late-night knock that lets her know her husband has died in a crash.
Until now, Kathryn Lyons's life has been peaceful if unextraordinary: a satisfying job teaching high school in the New England mill town of her childhood; a picture-perfect home by the ocean; a precocious, independent-minded fifteen-year-old daughter; and a happy marriage whose occasional dull passages she attributes to the unavoidable deadening of time.
As Kathryn struggles with her grief, she descends into a maelstrom of publicity stirred up by the modern hunger for the details of tragedy. Even before the plane is located in waters off the Irish coast, the relentless scrutiny of her husband's life begins to bring a bizarre personal mystery into focus. Could there be any truth to the increasingly disturbing rumors that he had a secret life?
The Fortune Rock's Quartet collects four of Anita Shreve's most beloved novels-Fortune's Rocks, The Pilot's Wife, Sea Glass, and Body Surfing-for the first time. The novels highlight Shreve's ability to illuminate women's lives across different eras and share a delightful detail: they are all set in the same coastal New England home, one that has inspired Shreve for over a decade. Any house with age to it can tell a million stories about the families who have lived there, and Shreve has been quoted as saying, ''You could base an entire life's work on the people who come in and out of a house.''
Fortune's Rocks depicts a spirited young woman at the turn of the 20th century who falls into a passionate, illicit affair with an older man. In Sea Glass, a young couple's new marriage is rocked to the core by the 1929 stock market crash. The Pilot's Wife brings us to the present day, where Kathryn is unprepared her for the late-night knock that lets her know her husband has been killed in a plane crash. Sydney, the heroine of Body Surfing has already been once divorced and once widowed by the age of 29, and finds the fragile existence she has rebuilt for herself threatened when two brothers vie for her affections.
"There's something addictive about Shreve's tales," according to USA Today, and this quality is on full display in the critically acclaimed novels of The Fortune Rock's Quartet. No one writes more compellingly than Anita Shreve about marriage, family, the depths of our strength and resolve, and the supreme courage that it takes to love.
This realization comes perhaps too late to the husband of Etna Bliss-a man whose obsession with his young wife begins at the moment of their first meeting, as he helps Etna and her companions escape from a fire in a hotel restaurant, and culminates in a marriage doomed by secrets and betrayal.
Written with the intelligence and grace that are the hallmarks of Anita Shreve's bestselling novels, this gripping tale of desire, jealousy, and loss is peopled by unforgettable characters as real as the emotions that bring them together.
When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.
A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his houseguest. Stella had been working as a nurse's aide near the front, but she can't remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.
In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.
*The New Yorker
Everyone believes that Maureen and Harrold English, two successful New York City journalists, have a happy, stable marriage. It's the early '70s, and no one discusses or even suspects domestic abuse.
But after Maureen suffers another brutal beating, she flees with her infant daughter to a coastal town in Maine. The weeks pass slowly, and just as Maureen settles into her new life and new identity, Harrold reappears, bringing the story to a violent, unforgettable climax.
Nearly nineteen years later, a cache of documents regarding Maureen English is given to her daughter by a journalist. The truth should lie within them, but the papers raise far more questions than they answer...
Andrew, after many years, returns to his hometown to attend his mother's funeral. Planning to remain only a few days, he is drawn into the tragic legacy of his childhood friend and beautiful girl next door, Eden Close. An adopted child, Eden had learned to avoid the mother who did not want her and to please the father who did. She also aimed to please Andrew and his friends, first by being one of the boys and later by seducing them. Then one hot night, Andrew was awakened by gunshots and piercing screams from the next farm: Mr. Close had been killed and Eden blinded.
Now, seventeen years later, Andrew begins to uncover the grisly story––to unravel the layers of thwarted love between the husband, wife, and tormented girl. And as the truth about Eden's past comes to light, so too does Andrew's strange and binding attachment to her reveal itself.
A British couple invites the newlyweds to join on a climbing expedition to Mount Kenya, and they eagerly agree. But during their harrowing ascent, a horrific accident occurs. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Margaret struggles to understand what happened on the mountain and how these events have transformed her and her marriage, perhaps forever.
A Change in Altitude illuminates the inner landscape of a couple, the irrevocable impact of tragedy, and the elusive nature of forgiveness. With stunning language and striking emotional intensity, Anita Shreve transports us to the exotic panoramas of Africa and into the core of our most intimate relationships.