SEA GLASS – Book Review

Anita Shreve’s “Sea Glass”, starts out in idyllic terms. A loving husband, hard-working couple, a first home, a satisfying hobby. This book has its own mini world infused with gadgets from the past like the precursor of the photocopier, a copiograph machine etc. and an unfortunate habit of past, making all your own dresses. This novel seems to be another one of those historical romances that view the past (especially 20s and 50s) as the safest time and more innocent time-period than the one we live in now.

The headlines Honora (one of the characters in the novel) reads every morning suggests a world just as scary and unpredictable as our own times, a world just as aloes to spinning out of control as the one we are familiar with today. The character of Sexton Beecher may be seen as the most believable by some readers. Sexton is good with people, loves his wife but when they are apart he feels lonely and he is not opposed to a little recreation with another woman. A look-you-straight-in-the-eye kind of guy and has no problem in doling out the lies that make business relationships, yet most of readers will not despise him. Rather they will understand his hunger and might be courting in his favor.   The world created by this novel has people who live together without getting married, cheat on their employers and think about having extramarital affairs, just as characters in a contemporary novel world. One of the accomplishments of Shreve’s book is that she is able to capture a time gone by in authentic and believable detail without making her characters cute, quaint or unrealistically virtuous.

This is a perfect novel with fragments of past as a fictional story, but so true to human psychology that the reader may feel it contains more truth than a newspaper or any other report.

“In the wet sand by her foot, a bit of colour catches her eye. The glass is green, pale and cloudy, the colour of lime juice that has been squeezed into a glass. She brushes the sand off and presses the sea glass into her palm, keeping it for luck”.


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