BY THE SHORE by Galaxy Craze


Email this review


Indie film star Craze debuts with a coming-of-age story set in an English coastal resort. “It can be dangerous to live by the shore.” Especially during the off-season, as 12-year-old narrator May finds out when her mother buys a seaside B&B. For the London-bred May, the danger is mainly a matter of loneliness, learning to adjust to an environment so different from the one she left behind. May’s father Simon has stayed on in the City, and May and her baby brother Eden see very little of him. Her mother Lucy is something of a superannuated child herself, giving to dating rock stars and spending entire days hanging out or talking on the phone with her friends Annabel and Suzy. There’s not much to do at a summer resort in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and May’s early-teenaged ennui has become rather morbidly inflamed by the time an unexpected guest calls from London looking for a room. A middle-aged writer looking for a place quiet and out-of-the-way, Rufus arrives a few days later—and is given May’s room. As if that weren—t bad enough, he begins flirting with her mother almost as soon as he moves in—even though his editor and girlfriend Jessica is a regular visitor. Jessica senses something amiss, and she begins, whenever she drops by, to pump May for information. Later on, May’s father drops in for an extended visit himself. Simon is something of a rogue, a charming, unreliable character in a nice suit and a red Porsche who has great plans for a wine bar he’s trying to open in London. He wants them all to come back and live with him, but May’s mother seems dubious. Is she suspicious of her husband’s big venture? Or is there really something between her and Rufus? Sometimes it takes a child to see what all the grownups are missing. A good-natured, likable story with plenty of flavor but very little substance: not bad, though, for the first time out.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-87113-746-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1999