REMEMBERING BLUE by Connie May Fowler


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This time out, Fowler (Before Women Had Wings, 1996, later an Oprah Winfrey TV movie; etc.) lavishly evokes place and customs, but obvious foreshadowing weakens the intensity of her tale of lonely Mattie, who finds love and meaning when she marries Greek-American Nick. As narrator Mattie begins the story, she’s a widow in her mid-20s still grieving for her husband, Nick, lost at sea while out shrimping. Nick Blue—handsome, strong, and wonderfully romantic—has been the love of her life, the man who rescued her from her quiet, frozen self and taught her how to live and love with passion. Mattie’s father had walked out on his family when Mattie was a girl, and to her embarrassment her mother reacted by flagrantly chasing men. When her mother dies, Mattie, just out of high school, heads to Tallahassee, where she spends her days clerking in a convenience store and her nights reading widely. She meets Nick, a former shrimper, and the two are soon lovers, yet he is unhappy working on the land. Though he’s fearful of the sea, which has claimed so many lives, including that of his father, George, he can—t resist its siren call. He’s also fascinated with the family legend that has Blues metamorphosing into dolphins and returning home to their underwater city. Mattie goes along with Nick when he heads back to Lethe, the north-Florida island home of the Blue family. They marry, and soon Mattie is part of the extended clan, who help one another out, fish, and plant gardens. But Mattie has dropped so many hints about Nick’s demise that when this occurs, the emotional tension, even when ratcheted up by a hurricane, doesn—t transform his death into a box-of-Kleenex event. Luminous prose and beautifully rendered settings, but not enough to give life to this would-be fable of love, loss, and the mysterious workings of the sea and its creatures. (Book-of-the-Month Club featured selection; national reading tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-385-49842-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1999


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