Monday, April 6, 2009

Body Surfing: Anita Shreve

Anita Shreve writes like a poet. This was a rich, decadent novel to read simply because of the writing. Shreve has the ability to invoke so much of the story through tone and language. From the very first words I was swept into a very specific time and place. The writing is such that I instantly felt as though I was finally reading a book written for adults.

Sydney is the hired tutor for the "slow" 18-year-old daughter of a well off family. The family is summering at their New Hampshire beach house where Sydney is expected to tutor Julie and otherwise stay out of the way. Shreve sets up a fascinating family dynamic that grows convoluted with Sydney's presence.

Body Surfing has something for everyone--romance, fraternal warring, mystery, and even a coming out story when Julie exposes herself as a lesbian. It's not the best story line I've ever read, but without a doubt, Shreve is one of the best writers I've read in a very long time. It was reminiscent of A.L. Kennedy, who is one of my favorite poets-turned-author.


  1. Just finished reading it myself after having stayed away from Shreve for a while - she is rather melancholy - and I really enjoyed it. I did feel that as with so many of her books, the writing is the thing. There wasn't much of a story really.

  2. I have a couple other Shreve books on my shelf waiting to be read. She is definitely a little melancholy and she also writes the same story over and over again.