Mado has been adrift for too long. After ten years in Paris, she returns to the small island of Le Devin, the home that has haunted her since she left. Le Devin is shaped somewhat like a sleeping woman. At her head is the village of Les Salants, while its more prosperous rival, La Houssiniere, lies at her feet. Yet even though you can walk from one to the other in an hour, they are worlds apart. And now Mado is back in Les Salants hoping to reconcile with her estranged father. But what she doesn't realize is that it is not only her father whose trust she must regain.
Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television. In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and in 2022 was awarded an OBE by the Queen. Her hobbies are listed in Who's Who as 'mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion'. She also spends too much time on Twitter; plays flute and bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16; and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.
Пръски от пяната на разбушувано есенно море върху остър, скалист бряг без ни едно зрънце пясък. Вкус на сол, самота и вечност.
Дали човек е самотен остров? Или капка в океана? Припомних си защо харесвам Джоан Харис. Тръпчива, злостна на моменти, иронично насмешлива и дълбоко подмолна история на едно семейство, едно рибарско селце и един остров близо до животворния Гълфстрийм. Място, където времето не оставя следи, и което малцина избират да упорстват да запазят като свой дом. А рибарските мрежи са препитание от незапомнени времена. Без грам идилия, нито едно розово облаче на хоризонта. Само грохотът на бурите, навестяващи бреговете на острова.
И, да, стереотипно прелъстителна книга. В смисъл - стереотипите са основната градивна единица в книгата. Новаторство или дори особена задълбоченост напълно липсват. Но понякога това е много отморяващо.
*** ”Грешката ми беше в това, че вярвах, че трябва да се спечели. Да се заслужи. Това беше островът в мен, разбира се: представата, че всичко си има цена, за всичко трябва да се плаща. Но заслугите нямат нищо общо. Иначе бихме обичали само светци.”
3,5 звезди, и понеже дойде много лека в подходящ момент, закръглям нагоре
Apparently, I am on a kick where I read books that don't turn out to be that enjoyable. Having enjoyed two other books by Joanne Harris, I thought this would probably be a good one too. Not so much.
This is the story of a group of families who live in a village on an island off the coast of France. The narrator, Mado (short for Madeleine), returns to the island after her mother's death in Paris to visit her childhood home and see her father. (She and her mother left years before.) Upon returning home, she finds that most of the people she remembers are still living there, still fighting the same age-old feuds, and still harboring the same suspicions towards outsiders.
The writing is descriptive, and parts are pretty interesting, but I never really felt like I cared much what happened to any of the characters. There are all kinds of struggles among the people, for land, money, love, etc., but I couldn't really work up the interest for what was happening. The ending was especially unsatisfying, as far as I was concerned.
There are people I know who would probably like it a lot more than I did, but in general, I can't say I would recommend it.
I have to say that I was frustrated to fuming for a good part of the time spent reading this. Why? Because I had such high expectations from Joanne Harris. I am frustrated with myself for not realizing this already. She is writing to the masses. I know for a fact that French natives hate her books. Worse yet, all her goddamned stories are the same. Not every single one, perhaps. But most of them.
I suppose this could be deemed overly emotional- as these are "only books", one might say. But. Only books, I say? Books are practically a fourth of my life! Literally. Minus 8 hours of sleep, out of 16 coherent hours, I spend (on average) 4 of those reading. A quarter of my life, I tell you!
Regardless. My favorite from her is actually "Gentlemen and Players". Although it has a similar setting to other Harris novels, the premise and type of book (psychological thriller, mystery, revenge, dark foreboding, murder) is completely different than her typical. Go figure.
What is her usual? Any reader of more than one of her novels should know this.
Food as an emotional aid/hindrance; food as a character. (It should be a note of interest that Harris actually suggests from a form of Synaesthesia, in which she experiences colors as scents: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/a...). Location/setting as characters. Dark pasts and secrets. Emotionally resilient women. Identity. Motherhood. Magic in everyday things; appreciating the little things in life. Black sheep, discrimination, "outsiders", racism. Faith, religion, and superstition. Guilt and reconciliation.
Woman or man goes back to some small community in France. Always a small city, far from week populated areas. Everyone knows everyone else in town. Gossips abound. Protagonist mentioned is not as well received as he/she expected.
They proceed to do all the right things to learn about their past/reconcile differences from the past/secrets/"shadows". Family ties always a part of this, alive or dead. A romance of some sort is included in the story, but always secondary to that of the protagonist coming to terms with their past and finding their way back into the community.
Always, they return home "adamant" that they will stay for only a few days or weeks. Somehow this turns into months and then permanent residence.
Surprise, surprise. The community welcomes them back. They decide to stay. If nothing else went well, they have "reunited" the community. Everything was worth it and a happy ending!
"Coastliners" fits right into this description. The fluff surrounding it involves the protagonist Madeline (who goes by Mado) trying to save said community from disappearing. It is a beach city, divided between the wealthy upper class (La Houssiniere) and the less fortunate middle to low classes (Les Salants). Mado has returned to get hometown after living in Paris to reconcile her differences with her father GrosJean, who has taken a vow of silence, speaking maybe a handful of words the entire book. She contrives to save her village, whose citizens have lost their motivation to do anything to that effect, bitter over the years of losing to the wealthier. This is extremely unbelievable, the way she gives up everything, risks everything, for a town she barely seems to care about. With little chance of success and little to no support.
There plot here was uninteresting. It was a struggle to stay interested, to continue caring about the bland characters, others which include Flynn- her undefined and unrequited love interest- a stranger to the island who helps her father out and grudgingly Mado herself by building an artificial reef to prevent the flooding that is slowing eroding Les Salants.
The pacing is erratic at best, with several twists crowded into the last few chapters after an entire book of drawn out scenes going nowhere. They feel entirely forced.
Expected better from Harris. From now on, I am only reading books from her which I have somewhat researched the premise and determined then to be different from her usual.
I hate when I don't care for a book that I was expecting to love. This one was a chore to get through despite the wonderfully different setting, interesting island characters, and a dramatic story.
This book may force me to break up with Joanne Harris. Should I say, "it's not you, it's me"? In this case, I think it's not me, it's the book. I've loved her writing for the feast to the senses she's always offered.....books full of smells, tastes and magic. I know authors must get tired of repeating themselves, but when you're the virtuoso who created Chocolat and Five Quarters of the Orange, why write about a tiny French island without celebrating the cuisine? There was only one discussion of recipe preparation and that featured the protagonist refusing to improve a baked fish when the antagonist's suggestions were making my mouth water. I ask you, how can I like this stupid character?! Maybe that was the whole point....who knows?
Меня тут спрашивали, что почитать летом, когда голова выключается. Вот отличная книжка, которую я всегда рекомендую тем, кто собирается в отпуск: очень приключенческая, очень морская и соленая, а за сюжетом только поспевай, но без ущерба для выразительных средств языка.
Ка�� часто у Хэррис, в центре внимания - красивая странствующая брюнетка с багажом, состоящим в основном из семейных тайн. В данном случае девушка не убегает, а возвращается домой - на маленький французский остров, где издавна враждуют два поселения. Одно из них бедное, другое - зажиточное, в каждом имеется пара-тройка потрясающе харизматичных персонажей, которые ведут борьбу за туристов и прожиточный минимум, при этом в описываемое время бедным серьезно не везет: их периодически то смывает, то сдувает, и вот Мадо, как Чип и Дейл, приходит на помощь соотечественникам и отцу, который почему-то не хочет с ней разговаривать.
По мне, это один из лучших романов Хэррис: не слишком мистифицированный, очень человечный, очень обаятельный. Сюжет запутан грамотно и распутан умно, то есть в конце все оказывается совершенно не так, как вы предполагали, но девушка при этом не оборачивается внезапно замаскированным двуглавым драконом или матерью собственной сестры, например. Понравилось, что толково прописаны не только главная героиня, но и дюжина второстепенных, у всех есть особенная родинка на носу и логичная мотивация, всем веришь и всех любишь, но в разные моменты времени. Минус - после прочтения невыносимо хочется во Францию и вкусно пообедать.
Having read a few books by Joanne Harris, I knew a bit of what to expect. A great love of travel, and some wonderful setting in France would be a background to the tale, and a heroine in search of herself to pull us through the story. Coastliners only exception is the fact that rather than set in France proper this story finds a home on an island still part of France, but not connected by anything but nationality. These islanders don’t even connect with the different sides of the island. One has modernized and has tourists, while the other is sleepier and has faded through the last few decades. When our heroine Madeleine returns her quiet coast is almost completely fallen asleep. There are no jobs to bring in money and no one really seems to care. This is of course only the surface story. Madeleine has inner demons seeing her father who has never gotten over the loss of a brother, and then there is the mysterious gentleman in town. Who may be a help in the trouble going on and may be a hinderance, and then again may be related somehow. Some how Mrs. Harris makes all the coastal manipulations work, she allows us to pull for these islanders, and feel their joy and pain. Candy and wine may not be dripping through this story as it was for some of her other works, but her catholic roots and strong french heritage keep me enthralled without being overwhelmed.
You know when you read a bunch of books by a fabulous author and you hit that one novel that just doesn't measure up to the rest? Coastliners is French author Joanne Harris' lackluster effort.
Coastliners is the story of the inhabitants of an island in France called Le Devine. The island is sharply divided between two villages. The village of La Houssiniere is prosperous, modern and located on the side of the island with a nice beach that attracts tourism. By contrast, the village of Les Salants is poor and filled with residents who keep with more traditional island ways. Les Salants pushes to change their luck, when a young woman named Madeline returns home to the island after living in Paris and motivates the villagers to work towards bringing tourism to their side of the island.
Coastliners is good on a technical level. Harris is a very adept writer and often writes absolutely beautiful and very sensory passages.
The problem with Coastliners is it simply isn't very interesting. I found it difficult to connect to the characters and their plight. The main character, Madeline, has a very vanilla personality. In fact, none of the characters were very memorable.
The pacing is very slow and in the last fifty-odd pages there are so many plot twists that it feels very contrived. The last bit of the novel played out like a mystery with a lot of "A-ha" and "But wait a minute" moments. The story is essentially a drama and the melodramatic ending was out of place and unnecessary.
The story has a cold tone to it. The island is a character in the story and I felt like as a reader I was supposed to care about this island that the inhabitants hold so dear. However, this is definitely not an island that I would want to visit. Ultimately, the island is the main character and Harris did not endear me to it, making me feel distant from the entire story.
Harris is a really wonderful author and absolutely worth reading. However, Coastliners is not the finest example of her talents and I can't recommend it.
Please visit my blog for more reviews and musings.
A young woman, Mado, returns to the island of her birth following the death of her mother in Paris. She has been scraping a living as a painter, but the small, split community of the Brittany island of Le Devin seems to be calling to her. She wants to care for her depressed father, Grosjean, who continually rejects her kindness to such extent that he refuses to speak to her.
Life has never been easy at the poorer end of the island, Les Slants, to which Mado belongs. To make matters worse, the beach has completely disappeared over recent years. Quite the opposite has happened at the rich end of the island, La Houssiniere, and their improved fortunes appear to be something to do with the wealthy, but sinister, M. Brismand.
There are ancient family feuds, and mystery and secrecy abound. Against the odds, and in unlikely alliance with an outsider, Flynn, Mado set out to literally turn the tide.
There are a few twists at the end, some of them tragic, but these are little consolation for the slow pace of the story. The book is worth reading, but there are plenty that I would recommend ahead of it.
Há tantos anos que andava para ler este livro. Finalmente comprei-o num alfarrabista por uma bagatela, este ano, na feira do livro. Sou uma grande fã desta senhora, já li grande parte da sua obra, um dos meus livros favoritos foi escrito por ela, e sem dúvida que ela tem romances deliciosos. Este é um deles.
Traz-nos a história de Mado e da forma como todos nós, melhor ou pior, pertencemos a algum lado. E de que como somos capaz de tudo para defender a nossa casa. Onde está o nosso coração e aquilo que somos por dentro. O livro perfeito para ler nas férias. Uma história leve mas muito bem escrita.
No seu quarto romance, desta vez Joanne Harris traz-nos cores, sensações e texturas relacionadas com o mar. A história é a de uma pequena ilha, Le Devin, que se encontra dividida em duas partes: La Houssinière e Les Salants. Enquanto que a primeira prospera por ter uma praia, a segunda definha cada vez mais com as dificuldades económicas e as constantes inundações, esquecida no tempo. É neste contexto que entra a personagem principal, Mado, que, após a morte da mãe em Paris, regressa à sua terra natal, Les Salants. Depara-se então com o seu pai, o taciturno Grosjean, que se remeteu ao silêncio e vive no seu mundo. Face à completa apatia que se vive em Les Salants, Mado irá, juntamente com Flynn, um forasteiro desconhecido, tentar fazer com que Les Salants vingue. Este é o segundo livro que leio de Joanne Harris, tendo sido o primeiro "Chocolate". A história é original, a autora consegue criar uma atmosfera propícia à história que conta e a sua forma de escrita é bastante inteligente e descritiva. A história é absorvente e é o ideal para quem procura uma leitura light. Como ponto negativo, aponto apenas o que me pareceu ser um insuficiente desenvolvimento da grande maioria das personagens, que poderia ter conferido uma maior riqueza à história.
Its been ages since i read a Joanne Harris book, why I have no idea, because by can she write a good novel. I read all her early ones, Chocolate, of course, Three quarters of an Orange and my favorite Blackberry Wine - which has one of the best depictions of childhood in my opinion. Coastliners carries on her French traditional context and makes youu really feel what it is like to live in a small community with all its tensions, troubles, gossip, stories, monotony, festivals and interwoven lives. The crux of the story is who is Flynn? And I am not going to spoil that. But suffice to say just when you thought you'd worked it out something happens - good storytelling! The title is interesting - clearly the story focusses on wwhat is happening along the coast line and to the people who live thereby, but it also touches on the coast of people's own life and how that to is buffetted by the environment of other people, their lives, actions and attitudes. Neat. I came away thinking of the island communities I know and wanting to be back there. Good story, pretty evocative of place and character. Must read her later books
I have read many of Joanne Harris' books and have not been disappointed in any of them. I loved the atmospheric setting in this one so very much! I "read" via the audiobook which I found excellent. Not only is the story engaging, but I found the characters quite interesting. I don't understand the reviewers who disliked them so. Their character flaws were exactly what made them interesting to me. The themes of home and of sibling rivalry and of the misunderstandings behind those rivalries were what was important. Even the minor (not so minor) characters like the two nuns were delightful. I would definitely recommend this book.
It's interesting to see the range of reactions to this novel among those who have reviewed it. Often, reviews seem to be heavily coloured by what those writing them feel about other novels they have read by Joanne Harris. I've now read several and enjoyed all of them, albeit to different degrees and, perhaps more significantly, in different ways. I've seen this criticised for being slow but had it been any pacier, given what it deals with, its plausibility would have been diminished - and my experience of Harris's writing is that the writing itself is always enjoyable, regardless of pace, setting, characterisation or plotting. I certainly developed a very strong sense of the island location and of the distinctive characters. One reviewer described all of the characters as being "evil" but then added the caveat that maybe "flawed" was a more appropriate description. I'm glad that they made that adjustment because I didn't feel that there was a single evil character herein: certainly flawed, in a range of ways, but I'm not sure how interesting I'd find a novel, or indeed a play, populated by flawless characters. I would simply describe them as painfully human, ingredients, if you like, in a casserole that struggle, most of the time, to coalesce into one harmonious whole. Their relationship with their confined habitat is at the heart of the novel and rendered completely understandable, as are their consequent prejudices, fears, actions and relationships. I'd love to visit this fictional island and spend time among these often perverse but intriguing people. Oh, and am I alone in finding and appreciating the humour that runs throughout the novel, even amid the tribulations and conflict?
I loved and enjoyed all previous books by Joanne Harris ("Chocolat", "The Lollipop Shoes", "Peaches for Monsieur de Carre", "Blackberry Wine"). I bought this from Waterstones, firstly because it was another book by J. Harris and secondly because it was a signed copy by the author. Now, the story was bleak and sad. It had some twists at the end and with a bitter-sweet (almost) open ending. I didn't really enjoyed this book as I enjoyed Chocolat, although the writing was beautiful; the story though was a kind of soap-opera but with more quality, and it's not my cup of tea or Devinois in this case. It had many annoying characters and situations, although you tend to like some of them in the end. 3 stars from me.
I have read many negative reviews about Coastliners that made me a bit nervous and afraid to read it. Maybe it's because I'm biased, since Joanne Harris is my favorite author so far, but I enjoyed this book more than I was expecting to. There's something about her books that draws and keeps me obsessed with them to the point I can't put them down for a second. I never thought that a story about an island and its inhabitants could be so interesting. Some people wished that the story would flow faster than it does and I disagree. I hoped that this book would last forever, that it would never end. Most of the action and drama happen near the end, that's true, nevertheless, I think the book is perfect the way it is. Again, maybe it's because I love Joanne's writing way too much.
This had been sitting on my shelf forever. It ended up being one of those books that you kick yourself for not reading earlier because you really enjoyed it. Writing this review 3 weeks after having finished it, I am still thinking about Les Salants and brisk, foggy mornings. This book solidified that there is a certain atmosphere that I really enjoy in books. While this wasn't a page turner (until the end, maybe), there is a setting you won't soon forget, depth of characters, and a development to the story that keeps you with it.
This is Joanne Harris's dud. On it's own it might get 3.5 or 4 stars but in comparison to her other books it just isn't as good. The characters aren't as real, the twists aren't as unexpected, the pace isn't quite as engrossing. I still read it in about four days, it's still a good book, not great.
For some reason, I usually struggle with Joanne Harris, the exception being Blackberry Wine. Sadly, this was the case for Coastliners. I think it may be the writing style that I find difficult to get to grips with.
I enjoyed this book though I can see from reviews here many did not. Yes, it's slow and not a lot happens but I liked the characters and, especially, its island setting off the French mainland south of Nantes. I am a Francophile and in the middle of a pandemic armchair travel is our only option. It was a delight to immerse myself in a little bit of France, the kind of place I choose for holidays- I need the sea, a beach, quaint, rustic charm so I'm exactly the target tourist for the rejuvenated island community featured in Harris' novel.
I listened to the audiobook version, often while enjoying walks along our stretch of Scottish coastline, an area that while not an island does share issues and concerns raised by this book, with colourful characters, resentment of prosperity and greater attractions in nearby communities more favoured by tourists while at the same time cherishing its 'hidden gem' lack of overcrowding and other less desirable aspects of mass tourism.
Self-reliance breeds lack of trust and repression, family dynamics, well kept secrets, jealousy and rivalry, a potent brew for engaging fiction, drawing in human strengths and weaknesses, our need to feel loved and to belong. The pressures of economics, coastal development and vulnerability to fickle fortune- sand comes and goes, fishing communities know too well how dangerous the sea can be, young people need jobs and opportunities while those older and more settled don't want change if it threatens a way of life they feel worth preserving. So, though set in a very particular location, the novel raises questions with global relevance. For me it worked.
Gosto muito da maneira de escrever desta autora, até agora cada livro que leio vou ficando viciada na sua maneira de narrar as histórias que tão bem cria. Uma autora muito descritiva, mas que cada descrição é uma verdadeira poesia, que me leva a ficar presa nas suas histórias sempre fabulosas. A Praia Roubada é um livro que nos fala sobre a união que liga a populacão de uma pequena ilha com costumes e rituais antigos, e que vivem com ressentimentos antigos, mas que irão unir-se nas horas mais difíceis que irão viver. Mado que nasceu e viveu na ilha na sua infância, vai regressar para também tentar fazer as pazes com o seu passado e rever o seu pai que não via desde criança. Também ela vai viver intensamente os dias que vai passar na ilha, onde irá passar por muitas emoções e revelações. Um livro com uma bonita história, com personagens fascinantes, e de leitura viciante. Gostei bastante.
Ok, so here's my thing. If you are going to have a book written in English and read in English, do not make your French pronunciation/accent so strong that I cannot understand what you are saying! The same goes for Russian, Spanish, whatever. If this book is narrated in a foreign (to me) language, then okay, but not if it is narrated into another language, such as English. You have to gear your accent to that language so that a non-bilingual person will have an idea of what you are saying. I call it when someone speaks in an American accent and then throws in a word in another language with a heavy accent as "getting fancy". This book was way, way, way too fancy for me. I don't know if that is Vivienne Benesch's fault or if her director is to blame, but it was irritating and I couldn't get beyond the first cassette.
I read this immediately after finishing Five Quarters of the Orange, and while I didn't enjoy it as much (probably because it's all beach and dunes instead of confit and pastry), I found myself musing again on how everyone in the novel was a bad person. I suppose you could argue "flawed" instead of "evil," but when you boil it down, the central trait of every character was a negative one: this one is scheming, that one is lying, the other one is holding a decades old grudge. All in all it's a bit unsettling in what is otherwise basically a story about coming home and finding the place where you've always belonged. A familiar theme, executed in a mildly disturbing way, with an incongruously happy ending.
Coastliners wasn't the rich, magical read that Chocolat is, and it isn't at all sensual in that way. It's a story of eking out a living, an arid story, with little hope. Even the ending is a bleak. The characters are the same: stony people, fighting to survive. From Joanne Harris, that's not what I expect -- though Gentlemen & Players and blueeyedboy aren't exact cosy and loving, either...
Still, while it's compelling enough to keep reading -- Joanne Harris' prose is always clear and easy -- there was nothing there to love with anything other than the same kind of arid, hard-won, embittered love as the characters feel, and I didn't feel the same magic as I usually do with Harris' work.
I love Joanne Harris and have read most of her books but this one was probably my least favorite. It is similar in flavor to many of her books but it didn't draw me in as it usually does. She always manages to bring the setting and people to life in a very realistic way while still peppering some romanticism and fantasy to it as well. She does the same here but, for some reason, it fell flat for me here. Maybe I just don't appreciate the detailed description of life on a small coastal town as much as I do detailed descriptions of chocolate. It is still an enjoyable read, though.
I was quite disappointed with this. Harris' novel 'Chocolat' surprised me - it's a great book - but this one was full of faceless characters (about six or seven of the male characters merged together in my head, by the end of the book I still didn't quite know who was who), events it was hard to care about, and a plot that felt, well, a bit familiar. As though she had rewritten Chocolat without any of the brown stuff. One star for the idea of 'stealing' a beach. That bit did impress me.
Mado regressa a sua ilha natal, depois de alguns anos a viver em Paris. Ao regressar a Les Salants, descobre que o tempo não curou todos os problemas pessoais e familiares. A apatia generalizada foi o principal motivo da fuga mas, será contra ela que Mado terá de lutar.