Landslide: A novel By Susan Conley

    A little update for this little review. I realized after I now have Olivia Newton John's song now stuck in my head. Great.

    A slow moving story about a family who is imperfect. But wife/mother, Jill, has only come to realize this when their Dad, Kit, is in a fishing accident and is laid up in the hospital in Nova Scotia.
    Jill, struggles with bringing up 2 teenage “wolf” sons on an island in Maine, and finds out that her husband hasn’t been loyal to her.
    It’s a story about life. With all its imperfections. Of parenting and marriage. And the world we create and think we have but then the reality collides. It’s a coming undone and a rebuilding.
    Because family are your people.
    3.5☀️ 9780525657132 Not a bad book, but one that didn't really get me invested in the characters. The story captures some of the angst of parenting and dabbles with the things we tend to keep private until circumstances cause a fissure which forces release. 9780525657132 I can already tell you that 𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐃𝐒𝐋𝐈𝐃𝐄 by Susan Conley will end up on my Best Books of 2021 list. Everything about her latest story resonated with me. I know nothing about living on an island, or what it’s like to be married to a fisherman in a small Maine village, but all that was window dressing on what it’s like to be the mother of teenage boys in a marriage facing strains. These things I know.⁣

    Jill’s husband had been hurt in a fishing accident far from home, and was recuperating in a Canadian hospital. The strains of being married to a man frequently absent were compounded by his accident, which opened Jill’s eyes to more than she wanted to see. This I know. ⁣

    Jill affectionately thought of her sons as the “wolves,” a perfect metaphor for teenage boys. This I know. The relationship between Jill and her sons was where 𝘓𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘴𝘭𝘪𝘥𝘦 shone the brightest. It reminded me so much of my own mother-son relationships. Almost always one child seems more vulnerable or needs more from you than the other. For Jill it was her younger son. This I know. The constant worry, the guilt she felt, the sacrifices she made, the quandary that is teenage sons, this I know. Conley got it ALL exactly right.⁣

    “𝘐’𝘮 𝘴𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘳𝘺 𝘢𝘵 𝘚𝘢𝘮. 𝘚𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘳𝘺. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘶𝘵𝘸𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘴 𝘮𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘶𝘵𝘸𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘴 𝘮𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘺. 𝘐𝘵 𝘨𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘤𝘪𝘳𝘤𝘭𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴. 𝘈𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳. 𝘓𝘰𝘷𝘦. 𝘞𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘺.” This, too, I know. 9780525657132 I read a galley of this novel and it is exquisite. Can't wait for it to hit the world in Feb 2021. 9780525657132 This novel is set on an island off the coast of Maine, a small fishing village where livelihoods are jeopardized by warming waters. It’s a realistic portrait of a woman dealing with what appear to be typical teenage issues. One son has been smoking pot, the other is more focused on being alone with his girlfriend raising alarms to his mother that he planning on having sex with her. She walks on eggshells, wondering how she can keep her connection with them, while putting her foot down on the things she doesn’t want them to engage in. However, Jill Archer faces more than these seemingly typical issues. Her fisherman husband has been gone for three months fishing in waters north and has a life changing accident and is hospitalized in Canada. Jill also faces the possibility that something has changed in her marriage. In addition, it becomes apparent that the rebelliousness of sixteen year old Sam is exacerbated by the loss of his best friend and the emotional impact of that loss.

    This is such a realistic telling of a family on the verge of falling apart. It an introspective first person narrative with Jill questioning her ability as a parent, her relationship with her sons, her relationship with her husband, questioning who she is. It’s a story reflecting on the changing fishing industry due to climate change and the impact on people’s lives . I don’t often use the word atmospheric, but in this book we get an up close and in depth view of this fishing village in Maine and some of its inhabitants and I could feel and see the place. Their lives are different than mine, but yet the characters are relatable and I cared about them. This is the first book I have read by Susan Conley. It is so well written that I will definitely look at her other novels.


    I received a copy of this book from Knopf through Edelweiss. 9780525657132

    Landslide:

    I get the PTSD thing, the hardness of bringing up boys in isolated place and the harshness of fishermen lifestyle.
    Nevertheless, I don’t know what’s the point from this book. 9780525657132 Loved this. Every ounce of it. It's one of those reads that had me immersed and wanting to do nothing but read it, wanting to do nothing but get back to it when I had to set it down; yet, it's gentle and graceful. And, yes, I had Stevie Nick's apropos Landslide playing in my head for its entirety.

    I will read more by this author. 9780525657132 Landslide is a slowly dripping tale of a life that has been percolating for decades. Conley shares with us a woman's journey to self and acceptance amongst the men in her life; her fisherman husband, and the two 'wolves' they have for sons. The sparse writing style seemed poetic at times and lackluster at others.

    I'm going to skip the detailed review on this one, as it didn't grab me enough to write one. But it was named after my favourite song - you know the one, by Stevie Nicks - so that curried some favour. 9780525657132 Genre: Contemporary Fiction
    Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
    Pub. Date: Feb. 2, 2021

    Mini-Review

    This is a character-driven story about a family living on an island in Maine who are trying to survive the constant rough waters life throws at them. The husband is one of the few remaining fishermen in their declining coastal town. The wife is a documentarian. Nevertheless, her husband is the true breadwinner between them and money is always tight. While in Canada, a boat the husband is working on explodes. He is severely hurt and must remain in a Canadian hospital for weeks. Also, he may not be able to continue working once released. This worry and their lengthy separation threaten his already shaky marriage. The author does a good job showing the difficulty in a marriage when one of them is often away for days at a time. In essence, the novel is about a fisherman’s wife, alone with her two teenage sons—whom she calls ‘the wolves’—trying to cope in a home that is falling apart while her sons are acting out. The author nails the complexities of modern-day parenting, for a single mom, since she practically is one. However, the story’s true strength is that the reader gets an inside view of the current lives of coastal Mainers and the hardships that they endure as a local and not a tourist. The novel sometimes can read uneven bouncing back and forth from global warming, to living with a father-in-law who thinks that his daughter-in-law is too easy on his grandsons, to a marriage in crisis. Still, in limited prose, Cloney writes a compelling read.

    I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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    9780525657132 [4.25 stars]

    Landslide is the kind of novel that's an absolute gem, but that I fear won't get the attention it deserves because it isn't flashy or trendy. It's quiet and character-driven and gets to the heart of the age-old topics of motherhood (particularly to teenage boys, which she calls the wolves) and marriage (particularly when it's tested). I loved the background of the Maine fishing industry, which is dying amid government intervention. It has a bit of an internal monologue feel and, despite its quietness, it has short chapters and reads quickly. 9780525657132

    characters Landslide: A novel

    A gorgeous, jewel of a novel about a mother caring for her two sons while everything else—her marriage and the fishing industry her New England community relies on—threatens to crumble around her

    After a fishing accident leaves her husband hospitalized across the border in Canada, Jill is left to look after her two teenage boys—the wolves—alone. Nothing comes easy in their remote corner of Maine: money is tight, her son Sam is getting into more trouble by the day, and Jill begins to suspect her marriage isn't as stable as she once believed. As one disaster gives way to the next, she begins to think that it's not enough to be a caring wife and mother anymore—not enough to show up when needed, nudge her boys in the right direction, believe everything will be okay. But how to protect this life she loves, this household, this family?

    With remarkable poise and startling beauty, Landslide ushers us into a modern household where, for a family at odds, Instagram posts, sex-positivity talks, and old fishing tales mingle to become a kind of love language. It is a stunning portrait of a family, as compelling as it is moving, and raises the question of how to remain devoted when the eye of the storm closes in. Landslide: A novel