Amy and Isabelle (Vintage Contemporaries)

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9780375705199: Amy and Isabelle (Vintage Contemporaries)
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[ Amy and Isabelle Strout, Elizabeth ( Author ) ] { Paperback } 2000

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"It was terribly hot the summer Mr. Robertson left town." For Amy Goodrow and her mother, Isabelle, the heat of that summer is the least of their problems. Other citizens in the New England mill town of Shirley Falls are bothered by the heat and by "other things too: Further up the river crops weren't right--pole beans were small, shrivelled on the vine, carrots stopped growing when they were no bigger than the fingers of a child; and two UFOs had apparently been sighted in the north of the state." But Amy and Isabelle have a more private misery: a seemingly unbridgeable chasm has opened between this once-close mother and daughter and nothing will ever be the same again. For Amy has fallen in love with her high-school maths teacher, Mr. Robertson, who has gone way beyond the bounds of propriety by encouraging the crush. When Isabelle finds out, she is horrified to realise that her anger at him is dwarfed by her rage at her own daughter for "enjoying the sexual pleasures of a man while she herself had not."

Mother-daughter novels can, by virtue of their subject matter, often seem claustrophobic, a little overwrought; Elizabeth Strout masterfully avoids this problem by placing Amy and Isabelle in the larger context of the community they inhabit. Though her main focus is on the Goodrow women, Strout often detours into the lives and thoughts of her many secondary characters: Isabelle's coworkers Dottie Brown and Fat Bev; Amy's best friend, Stacy Burrows; Stacy's ex-boyfriend, Paul Bellows; and women from Isabelle's church such as Peg Dunlap and Barbara Rawley. She also introduces a chilling frisson of menace with the unsolved abduction of a12-year-old girl and a mysterious obscene phone caller. Like the best of Alice Hoffman, Amy and Isabelle offers up a moving yet resolutely unsentimental portrait of people coming to terms with their lives, finding unsuspected nobility in themselves and unexpected kindness in others along the way. Elizabeth Strout has written a gem of a novel. --Alix Wilber

Review:

"One of those rare, invigorating books that take an apparently familiar world and peer into it with ruthless intimacy, revealing a strange and startling place." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Strout's insights into the complex psychology bewteen [mother and daughter] result in a poignant tale about two coming of age." --Time

"Impressive....Strout writes with abundant warmth." --People

"Poignant...sensitively imagined...[Amy and Isabelle] recalls the elgegiac charm of Our Town." --The Christian Science Monitor

"Stunning....Every once in a while, a novel comes along that plunges deep into your psyche, leaving you breathless....This year that novel is Amy and Isabelle." --San Francisco Chronicle

"A novel of shining integrity and humor, about the bravery and hard choices of what is called ordinary life." --Alice Munro

"Excellent....Strout's collective portrait...remains unflaggingly engaging....[W]hat a pleasure to gain entry into the world of this book." --The New Yorker

"Lovely, powerful...a kind if modern 'Rapunzel.'" --Newsweek

"Amy and Isabelle is an impressive debut....with an expansiveness and inventiveness that is the mark of a true storyteller." --The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780375501340: Amy and Isabelle

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ISBN 10:  0375501347 ISBN 13:  9780375501340
Publisher: Random House USA Inc, 1999
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9780684861593: Amy and Isabelle

Scribner, 2000
Softcover

9780375752469: Amy and Isabelle

Random..., 1998
Softcover

9780684858234: Amy & Isabelle

Simon ..., 1999
Hardcover

9781849833042: Amy & Isabelle

Simon ..., 2011
Softcover

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