Views on Anita Shreve please

(37 Posts)
MaKettle Thu 24-Jan-13 22:36:02

I read a couple of her books about 15 years ago, and just picked up Testimony in the library today. Would it be fair to say that she's kind of a cross between Anita Brookner and Joanna Trollope? (But American, obv.)

anonymosity Fri 25-Jan-13 04:23:03

I don't know about a cross - but I had to read one for work purposes (possible TV conversion from novel) and its romance for women really. Its sometimes fantastical / supernatural in a minor way. From a personal point of view, I didn't enjoy reading her, I felt cheated by her "surprise" endings that didn't sit with the rest of the tales. Sorry.

mimbleandlittlemy Fri 25-Jan-13 12:24:39

I think it really depends on the particular book. She's quite variable - I liked Sea Glass, The Weight of Water, Light on Snow but not so much Eden Close and a few of the others I can't remember the titles for at all.

I haven't read one for a while though - I used to quite like them for lying by the pool and getting through in a day, which is how I used to think about Joanna Trollope too, come to think about it.

HormonalHousewife Fri 25-Jan-13 12:29:11

I think read one and you have read them all.

Still it obviously works for her so why change a ££ winning formula ?

mimbleandlittlemy Fri 25-Jan-13 15:31:24

Hormonal - I think you might have just hit the nail on the head of why I don't read them any more!

HousewifeFromHeaven Fri 25-Jan-13 15:34:54

Mmm I've just finished one and have to say it wasn't a favourite. Fortune rocks. Not too keen on the subject either!

pinkpaperpiggy Fri 25-Jan-13 15:42:55

I used to be a big fan and still love several of her novels but I think the recent ones are very formulaic and not as well written.

My favourites are Strange Fits of Passion, The Weight of Water and Eden Close.

I think there are similarities to Anita Brookner - the protaganist is often a disappointed woman.

I've tried a few Joanna Trollopes and couldn't get into them at all.

Not great! I read one in the summer - can't even remember what it was, which says it all. Absolutely no desire to bore myself bother again.

Weak.

domesticslattern Fri 25-Jan-13 16:45:43

Y y, Hormonal has got it in one.
I loved The Pilot's Wife, then read Sea Glass- great too. Then I worked my way through most of the others from the library and they got pretty samey after a while. I don't bother with her new releases any more. Still, if you want to know what you're getting and you want something for on holiday or similar, worth a punt.

pinkpaperpiggy Fri 25-Jan-13 16:51:04

I think they are formulaic in terms of type of happy ending and character types but you have to admit she does use a variety of setting etc.

The Pilots Wife vs Light on Snow vs Fortunes Rocks - all very different.

I think the earlier ones especially are worth a read if you are looking for something light for holidays or a bit of escapism.

WowOoo Fri 25-Jan-13 16:55:49

I've never managed to get through to even halfway of any that I've tried.

Chandon Fri 25-Jan-13 17:06:21

Oh, I think The Last Time they Met was truely amazing, her other books less so.

It starts off qute bring really, and gets better and quite dark and sad, it is one of my top reads. That last chapter and the twist in the tale, blew me away.

I like Joanna Trolope too, and Anita Brookner, but do nt think she is like either of them.

bigTillyMint Fri 25-Jan-13 17:10:41

I think theat they are probably quite formulaic, but I have found them very readable - I got a set from the Book People and have read most of themblush

DD (12 at the time and her bf too) also enjoyed Light on Snow.

MaKettle Fri 25-Jan-13 19:10:28

Thank you, that's what I thought. But am waiting for my husband to finish reading Bringing up The Bodies - quite why I thought it was a good idea to let him read it first - and don't mind a quick read.

I've read two and thought they were very boring. One was recommended by a friend and the other I read in desperation on holiday when I'd read all my own books and was reduced to reading what people had left in the apartments.

Bland and pointless, I thought.

But I actually think that most modern female authors are the same, sadly.

gailforce1 Fri 25-Jan-13 21:02:41

I read Light on Snow which was ok and have Pilots Wife on my to read pile. Has anyone tried Sue Miller or Anne Tyler?

drjohnsonscat Fri 25-Jan-13 21:21:17

Not great. I was naffed off by the twist in The Pilot's Wife which I thought was pretty crass and romanticised without any real understanding of the issues. Trying not to give away the plot but suffice to say it would be ok for those Americans who don't have any information or understanding about politics outside the US.

AmaDablam Sat 26-Jan-13 19:16:14

I've read several of her books and I'd say they're a good "easy" read, if you're on holiday for example and want to get immersed without having to concentrate too hard. Agree with Chandon that The Last Time They Met is definitely a notch above the rest, although the twist at the end is definitely a bit "marmite"!

Gailforce I have read and enjoyed many of Anne Tyler's who I think is slightly superior to Anita Shreve. I also LOVE Helen Dunmore's novels, her books are far grittier and more gripping than either Shreve or Tyler, IMO.

Chandon Sun 27-Jan-13 11:00:20

I Love most Anne Tyler books.

She has a gentle sense of humour, a sense of the absurd in everyday life, always slightly odd characters that do not fit in, but that you really care for.

Then again, my best friend thinks her books are dull. They are very much about characters and relationships, not a lot of action. Anyone who likes Brookner would like Tyler too, I reckon. It is a subtle pleasure.

Off to google helen dunmore!

mimbleandlittlemy Sun 27-Jan-13 11:18:27

gailforce, Anne Tyler is a very different kettle of fish to Anita Shreve. I don't think Anita Shreve is ever going to win a Pullitzer prize. Tyler has an incredible deftness of touch and certainly isn't hovering on the borders of the Shreve/Trollope saga style. Well worth a go.

gailforce1 Sun 27-Jan-13 11:25:17

Thanks mimbleandlittlemy, is there one of Tyler's books I should try first?

Anne Tyler does nothing for me either, thb. Or Helen Dunmore. All dull.

Chandon Sun 27-Jan-13 15:27:24

I really liked "back when we were grown ups", I liked Rebecca and the book has one of the best opening lines :" once upon a time there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person."

If this sounds appealing, you will like the book. If yo think WTF, leave it be!

awaynboilyurheid Sun 27-Jan-13 21:20:49

Thought pilots wife not really great so havent read any more don't feel she had really a grasp of the subject

BaconAndAvocado Sun 27-Jan-13 22:00:50

IMO her books have now become a bit tame and samey (tamey perhaps....)

Loved Fortune's Rock, Seaglass and The Pilot's Wife.

anonymosity Mon 28-Jan-13 00:06:14

Also really enjoy Tyler and Dunmore. They're definitely not "mass appeal" fiction writers and their works are largely not plot driven - so not thrilling / overly romantic etc. Dumore is also a poet and you can see that in her work, its very lyrical. But both these writers qualify as "literature" and have won prizes accordingly. I do agree they are far more low key and probably don't appeal to everyone.

mimbleandlittlemy Mon 28-Jan-13 12:29:12

gailforce, try The Patchwork Planet, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant or The Amateur Marriage as starters. I don't love every one of Anne Tyler's books but (puts on posey hat), I think she usually has something interesting to say about the human condition (takes off posey hat).

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 28-Jan-13 19:35:38

I loved "Back When We Were Grown Ups." And most of Anne Tyler's books. I also liked "A Slipping Down Life" and "Ladder of Years." Anita Shreve's earlier books were better, I think, although I quite enjoyed "Body Surfing." Must try some Helen Dunmore.

Chandon Mon 28-Jan-13 20:04:06

Nice to see someone else who likes the same books smile

AnyFucker Mon 28-Jan-13 20:08:32

I love all these. I like my fiction melancholy and introspective, much like the films I enjoy watching. I hate books/films with lots of action and loads going on. I still find these novels suspenseful even though not all that much happens, really smile

AnyFucker Mon 28-Jan-13 20:10:33

Helen Dunmore also does brilliant short stories which are perfect for reading imbetween every cocktail/dip in the pool on holiday smile

I recently reread "Love of Fat Men" and really enjoyed it again

Shybairns Mon 28-Jan-13 20:21:08

I loved Fortunes Rock! One of my all time favourite books. Wasn't so amazed by the rest.

Chandon Mon 28-Jan-13 20:39:58

Ah, melancholy and introspective...that would include all Brookner novels then.

I have recently discovered Alice Munro, and loved the Hateship, Friendship courtship one. Very beautiful stories. A bit sad, but somehow uplifting in its subtle humanity.

What is fortune's rock like?

AnyFucker Mon 28-Jan-13 20:44:00

Yep, another thumbs up for Alice Munro.

Never heard of Anita Brookner.... >>>heads to Amazon

AnyFucker Mon 28-Jan-13 20:44:35

any particular recommendations by AB ?

pinkpaperpiggy Mon 28-Jan-13 20:57:30

I'd recommend hotel du lac. It's years since I read any Brookner but I know I liked that one.

AnyFucker Mon 28-Jan-13 21:29:54

thanks, will look it up

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