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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 Houssinière, 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.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061828010
List price: $10.99
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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.more
Following her mother’s death, beautiful young artist Mado returns to her childhood island home to take care of her taciturn, distant father. (I mention that she’s a beautiful young artist because what are the odds she’d be a plain, dumpy, 40-year-old shorthand typist?) Tiny as Le Devin is, its two communities are nonetheless locked in ancestral rivalry, with yet more, and even more bitter rivalries between the families that make up those communities. Mado’s home of Les Salants is badly run down and depressed but, with the help of attractive drifter Flynn (there is always an attractive drifter; given how commonplace they apparently are, it’s strange I’ve never met one. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a beautiful young artist), Mado sets events in motion that bring life back to the village and its people. But good things don’t last forever, and there are forces at work that Mado never imagined.A pleasant, lightweight read, with no major surprises. I had some difficulty keeping track of the characters, and who was related to whom, but the island itself, and island life, is given an affectionate depiction.more
Mado returns to the Island of her birth, to her father and the village she left behind.She finds the village in a poor way.Mado works out what the problem is, why the village is flooding and the beach has gone. She enlists the help of Flynn, but who is he really helping? The village goes from despair to hope - but will it last?An interesting book if you know that corner of France, I could picture the Island, and it was a good fix of France to see me through the winter! But it is written in quite a difficult style, and I kept losing track of who was who and their relationships, so the characters can't have been that memorable.more
Imagine an island with two villages, one at the head of the island, one at the foot. It takes less than an hour to walk from one village to the other, but their distance apart is great. One village thrives because it has a beach, and the beach draws tourists and their money. The other village is poor, “backward,” and without prospects. The inhabitants of the two villages have been at odds with each other for a long, long time. This is the setting for Joanne Harris’ Coastliners. The main character, Mado, has returned to her home on the island, and realizes that the flooding in Les Salants, on her end of the island, is due to the recently extended dike at the rich end of the island, near the village of Les Immortelles. The breakwater has changed the flow of the current, and the tides have been turned so that sand is deposited at the foot of the island. The mackerel have also moved from Les Salants to Les Immortelles. She realizes the shift of the current will eventually destroy her village of Les Salants.Mado confronts the leading business man from Les Immortelles. She tries to tell him about the flooding and how the extended dike will destroy Les Salants. He is duly sympathetic, but rational. “Imagine a pair of Siamese twins,” he says. “Sometimes it’s necessary to separate them so that one may survive.”Mado considers there must be a way for Les Salants to save itself. One night the villagers believe their saint has miraculously appeared and has called them to take action, and they devise a plan to build their own breakwater, expressing their faith that the tides will again turn in their favor. As secrets and subterfuge unfold, the reader will discover messages about relationships and ripple effects, about two groups, divided by beliefs, economics, and manmade barriers, and art and life mirrored in the tidewaters.Deb Carpenter-Noltingmore
feels a bit contrived...especially the denouement...some good characters ...but the story line close to gothicmore
Fabulous book, one of my favourites from Joanne Harris. I love her writing style. Read in one sitting.more
Not a book I really got into. I found it a little dreary, since many of the characters on the French island seem to have a downer on each other as well as the ongoing animosities between the two towns as well.more
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 chocolate.One and a half stars for the idea of 'stealing' a beach. That bit did impress me.more
Not fun. Downbeat and technical -- more than I'd ever want to know about tides.more
Set on a French island. Beset by tides and currents, one half of the island is slowly declining, while the other half prospers. Interesting tale of discouragement, empowerment, romance, and loss. Too many characters for tracking, plus many French words without contextual reference. Not as exciting as Harris' Gentlemen and Players, but unusual in setting and characters.more
Beautifully written by Joanna Harris, as usual, I loved this book. It conjured up so many pictures in my mind, and you really felt involved with the characters in the book.more
A young woman returns to her home on the Brittany Coast to find things have not changed to the better... from the Harris novels I read so far, this is certainly the weakest.more
A tale of homecoming and small island life.more
Good, but not as good as her other novels... maybe I just miss the food fiction aspect, though.more
Read all 16 reviews

Reviews

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.more
Following her mother’s death, beautiful young artist Mado returns to her childhood island home to take care of her taciturn, distant father. (I mention that she’s a beautiful young artist because what are the odds she’d be a plain, dumpy, 40-year-old shorthand typist?) Tiny as Le Devin is, its two communities are nonetheless locked in ancestral rivalry, with yet more, and even more bitter rivalries between the families that make up those communities. Mado’s home of Les Salants is badly run down and depressed but, with the help of attractive drifter Flynn (there is always an attractive drifter; given how commonplace they apparently are, it’s strange I’ve never met one. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a beautiful young artist), Mado sets events in motion that bring life back to the village and its people. But good things don’t last forever, and there are forces at work that Mado never imagined.A pleasant, lightweight read, with no major surprises. I had some difficulty keeping track of the characters, and who was related to whom, but the island itself, and island life, is given an affectionate depiction.more
Mado returns to the Island of her birth, to her father and the village she left behind.She finds the village in a poor way.Mado works out what the problem is, why the village is flooding and the beach has gone. She enlists the help of Flynn, but who is he really helping? The village goes from despair to hope - but will it last?An interesting book if you know that corner of France, I could picture the Island, and it was a good fix of France to see me through the winter! But it is written in quite a difficult style, and I kept losing track of who was who and their relationships, so the characters can't have been that memorable.more
Imagine an island with two villages, one at the head of the island, one at the foot. It takes less than an hour to walk from one village to the other, but their distance apart is great. One village thrives because it has a beach, and the beach draws tourists and their money. The other village is poor, “backward,” and without prospects. The inhabitants of the two villages have been at odds with each other for a long, long time. This is the setting for Joanne Harris’ Coastliners. The main character, Mado, has returned to her home on the island, and realizes that the flooding in Les Salants, on her end of the island, is due to the recently extended dike at the rich end of the island, near the village of Les Immortelles. The breakwater has changed the flow of the current, and the tides have been turned so that sand is deposited at the foot of the island. The mackerel have also moved from Les Salants to Les Immortelles. She realizes the shift of the current will eventually destroy her village of Les Salants.Mado confronts the leading business man from Les Immortelles. She tries to tell him about the flooding and how the extended dike will destroy Les Salants. He is duly sympathetic, but rational. “Imagine a pair of Siamese twins,” he says. “Sometimes it’s necessary to separate them so that one may survive.”Mado considers there must be a way for Les Salants to save itself. One night the villagers believe their saint has miraculously appeared and has called them to take action, and they devise a plan to build their own breakwater, expressing their faith that the tides will again turn in their favor. As secrets and subterfuge unfold, the reader will discover messages about relationships and ripple effects, about two groups, divided by beliefs, economics, and manmade barriers, and art and life mirrored in the tidewaters.Deb Carpenter-Noltingmore
feels a bit contrived...especially the denouement...some good characters ...but the story line close to gothicmore
Fabulous book, one of my favourites from Joanne Harris. I love her writing style. Read in one sitting.more
Not a book I really got into. I found it a little dreary, since many of the characters on the French island seem to have a downer on each other as well as the ongoing animosities between the two towns as well.more
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 chocolate.One and a half stars for the idea of 'stealing' a beach. That bit did impress me.more
Not fun. Downbeat and technical -- more than I'd ever want to know about tides.more
Set on a French island. Beset by tides and currents, one half of the island is slowly declining, while the other half prospers. Interesting tale of discouragement, empowerment, romance, and loss. Too many characters for tracking, plus many French words without contextual reference. Not as exciting as Harris' Gentlemen and Players, but unusual in setting and characters.more
Beautifully written by Joanna Harris, as usual, I loved this book. It conjured up so many pictures in my mind, and you really felt involved with the characters in the book.more
A young woman returns to her home on the Brittany Coast to find things have not changed to the better... from the Harris novels I read so far, this is certainly the weakest.more
A tale of homecoming and small island life.more
Good, but not as good as her other novels... maybe I just miss the food fiction aspect, though.more
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