The Shore is a stunning novel set around a collection of small islands sticking out from the coast of Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean. The Shore takes the force of hurricanes, and grows so much food that it rots on the vine. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, storm-making, dark magic in the marshes. Those sentences might sum up this debut novel, however there is much more to it than that.
The novel features various generations over the course of 150 years in interconnecting stories and we observe a sequence of lives on the shore itself – the small miracles and miseries of a community of outsiders, and the bonds of blood and fate that connect them all. Beginning in the present day with a family down and out on their luck due to the economic downturn we weave back to 1876 before ending in the future in 2143 with a wonderful twist.
Amongst the many questions asked in the book, are we victims of our lives, are we born with our fate already determined or can we change our fate. Written in both the presence and past tense Taylor’s wonderful prose style keeps the reader gripped and brilliant descriptions of small town America. The book is full of wonderful sentences such as most can count to 9 even if they have to take their shoes off to do it.
Sara Taylor’s writing is accomplished and mature and she is clearly a wonderful storyteller. I have best described it to anyone who will listen as a brilliantly accessible story that will appeal to any lover of fiction.