Amy and Isabelle

Elizabeth Strout, Author
Elizabeth Strout, Author Random House Inc $22.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-375-50134-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-40496-2
Hardcover - 303 pages - 978-0-7434-6792-6
Paperback - 303 pages - 978-1-84983-304-2
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-1-4000-7773-1
Paperback - 978-0-375-75246-9
Paperback - 978-0-676-59948-0
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-375-70519-9
Hardcover - 405 pages - 978-1-56895-728-9
Paperback - 978-0-676-80905-3
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4711-2867-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-07453-8
Hardcover - 303 pages - 978-0-684-86159-3
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Stories of young women who suffer the sexual advances of an authority figure (in this case, a high school math teacher) seem ubiquitous these days. But in Strout's gently powerful, richly satisfying debut, the damage shows less within the heart of the teenaged girl in question than in the wreckage of the previously tranquil relationship she had enjoyed with her mother. Amy Goodrow, 16, is the shy only child of Isabelle, a single mother. Isabelle's shame over the secret of her daughter's illegitimacy and her hunger for respectability keep her painfully isolated from the community of the New England mill town where she has made her home. Even before Amy's relations with her teacher become known, her beauty and her burgeoning sexuality arouse uncomfortable feelings of competitiveness in Isabelle, as well as dread at the prospect of her daughter's flight from Isabelle's carefully constructed nest. Amy, meanwhile, is in love; Strout lays out her teacher's charms as clearly as his caddishness, and her portrait of a young woman stumbling on the shattering power of lust--her own and others'--balances delicacy with frankness and breathtaking acuity. In the end, it is Isabelle who stays with the reader; devastated by her daughter's betrayal, riven with regrets over a life left largely unlived, she must somehow make amends to herself. This beautifully nuanced novel steers a course somewhere between the whimsy of Alice Hoffman and the compassionate insight of Anne Tyler and Sue Miller, and is sure to delight fans of all three. Agent, Lisa Bankoff at ICM. (Jan.)
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