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Abide with Me
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About the Author

Elizabeth Strout is the author of the New York Times bestseller Olive Kitteridge, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; the national bestseller Abide with Me; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London. She lives in Maine and New York City.

Reviews

In Strout's graceful if languid second novel, set in the cold northern reaches of New England during the Cold War, Tyler Caskey is a young minister tending to the faith of his small, gossipy parish. He's also struggling with the aftermath of his wife's premature death, which has left him with two little girls to raise. What the plot lacks in pace and surprise, Strout makes up for with intelligent, revealing portraits of many characters, and Raphael's versatile voice makes them even more memorable. Her voice shrinks remarkably to speak the lines of Caskey's traumatized older daughter; turns gruff and unhappy for Charles Austin, a church deacon wrestling with his own secret demons; and ratchets up into startlingly cold and imperious territories for Caskey's meddling mother. Raphael deftly switches from the plummy, slightly British-accented voice she uses for most of the narration to speak in the drawn-out, nasal tones of Caskey's plainspoken, friendly housekeeper. Though the abridgment cuts out some of the background story, events are still sometimes drawn out. But fans of such closely observed period pieces will no doubt revel in Strout's evocative prose and in Raphael's richly textured interpretation. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 17). (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

In a small Maine town during the 1950s, a devoted minister is puzzled by the complications of life. He yearns to know God but remains oblivious to the needs of his family. Meanwhile, various members of his parish choose to deal with the monotony of days in their own ways: through gossip, fear, or sexual addictions. Strout (Amy and Isabelle) provides abrupt contrasts between the suffocating quality of Rev. Tyler Caskey's existence and the secret vices of the people around him. Although the descriptions of Maine's natural beauty are appreciated, on the whole this novel merely leads readers on a bleak, convoluted journey with pain-filled, uninteresting characters. Not recommended.-Susanne Wells, P.L. of Cincinnati and Hamilton Cty., OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Strout's greatly anticipated second novel . . . is an answered prayer."--Vanity Fair

"Superb . . . a shimmering tale of loss, faith, and human fallibility . . . You feel yourself in the hands of a master storyteller."--O: The Oprah Magazine "Deeply moving . . . In one beautiful page after another, Strout captures the mysterious combinations of hope and sorrow. She sees all these wounded people with heartbreaking clarity, but she has managed to write a story that cradles them in understanding and that, somehow, seems like a foretaste of salvation."--The Washington Post

"This lovely second novel confirms Strout as the possessor of an irresistibly companionable, peculiarly American voice: folksy, poetic, but always as precise as a shadow on a brilliant winter day."--The Atlantic Monthly

"Graceful and moving . . . The pacing of Strout's deeply felt fiction about the distance between parents and children gives her work an addictive quality."--People (four stars)

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