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Publisher's Summary

In her luminous and long-awaited new novel, best-selling author Elizabeth Strout welcomes readers back to the lovely landscape of northern New England, where the events of her first novel, Amy and Isabelle, unfolded. In the late 1950s, in the small town of West Annett, Maine, a minister struggles to regain his calling, his family, and his happiness in the wake of profound loss. At the same time, the community he has served so charismatically must come to terms with its own strengths and failings, faith and hypocrisy, loyalty and abandonment, when a dark secret is revealed. Tyler Caskey has come to love West Annett, "just up the road" from where he was born. The short, brilliant summers and the sharp, piercing winters fill him with awe, as does his congregation, full of good people who seek his guidance and listen earnestly as he preaches. But after suffering a terrible loss, Tyler finds it hard to return to himself as he once was. He hasn't had The Feeling, that God is all around him, in the beauty of the world, for quite some time. He struggles to find the right words in his sermons and in his conversations with those facing crises of their own, and to bring his five-year-old daughter, Katherine, out of the silence she has observed in the wake of the family's tragedy.
A congregation that had once been patient and kind during Tyler's grief now questions his leadership and propriety. In the kitchens, classrooms, offices, and stores of the village, anger and gossip have started to swirl. And in Tyler's darkest hour, a startling discovery will test his congregation's humanity, and his own will to endure the kinds of trials that sooner or later test us all.
In prose incandescent and artful, Elizabeth Strout draws readers into the details of ordinary life in a way that makes it extraordinary. All is considered, life, love, God, and community, within these pages, and all is made new by this writer's boundless compassion and graceful prose.
©2006 Elizabeth Strout; (P)2006 Books on Tape
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Critic Reviews

"Strout has crafted a harrowing meditation of exile on Main Street." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Kathryn on 10-18-07

Understated and powerful

This is a subtle, quiet book, but it spoke volumes to me. Although it was about a minister who was widowed at a young age, it certainly isn’t what I’d call “Christian Fiction” – in otherwords, it would be enjoyed and appreciated by anyone of any faith. Yes, there are a lot of scripture references, but they reflect what is going on internally with Tyler Caskey, not statements to the readers. I loved how this book flowed, and the way each character was fleshed out. This book has many messages, and I really fell in love with this book. It seemed a bit slow going at first, if I recall, but it hooked me and I was eager to listen to the story every day, even going to the hardback version and reading what I’d already listened to! Highly recommended.

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24 of 24 people found this review helpful

By CJ on 09-17-09


I really enjoyed this book - so much in fact that I listened to it twice. Elizabeth Strout captures characters just like those we have all met, and gives the little New England town in the book a personality of its own. It's both a novel with a good story - of a minister in a small town recovering from the death of his wife and dealing with the problems of his congregation - and a thoughtful book. The ideas -- which are big ones such as the nature of God, forgiveness and redemption, euthenasia -- are all there, but in a lovely approachable way so that you can wrestle with them as much or as little as you like.

The narration was fine and unobtrusive - which is perfect for this type of book.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Sally Stacey on 09-22-17


A lovely, moving and inspirational story. I felt so much affection for the main characters.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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