San Miguel

T. Coraghessan Boyle, Author
T.C. Boyle. Viking, $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-02624-1
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 09/18/2012
Paperback - 367 pages - 978-0-670-02629-6
Hardcover - 663 pages - 978-1-4104-5114-9
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-4088-3069-7
Paperback - 367 pages - 978-0-14-750975-8
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4088-3070-3
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-101-60122-8
Hardcover - 464 pages - 978-1-4088-4259-1
Hardcover - 445 pages - 978-1-4088-3137-3
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On New Year’s Day 1888, the ailing Marantha Waters sails across San Francisco Bay to remote San Miguel Island with her second husband and adopted daughter in hopes that the fresh air will restore her health. Marantha and her family, city folk by nature, risk the last of her inheritance on a farm lashed by wind and rain; removed from the pleasant distractions of late Victorian society and thrust into primitive living conditions, the Waters find themselves left with little to do but discover the strengths and weaknesses in themselves and in each other. Decades later during the Depression, Elise and Herbie Lester take over the farm and undergo their own transformations. Ripe with exhaustively researched period detail, Boyle’s epic saga of struggle, loss, and resilience (after When the Killing’s Done) tackles Pacific pioneer history with literary verve. The author subtly interweaves the fates of Native Americans, Irish immigrants, Spanish and Italian migrant workers, and Chinese fishermen into the Waters’ and the Lesters’ lives, but the novel is primarily a history of the land itself, unchanging despite its various visitors and residents, and as beautiful, imperfect, and unrelenting as Boyle’s characters. Agent: Georges Borchardt. (Sept.)
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