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A simple, straightforward, and affecting novel about love and scalloping on Nantucket. Kevin White is a troubled Harvard grad student who has come to Nantucket, along with his girlfriend Sheri, to puzzle out what he's going to make of his future: Should he try for a career as a concert violinist, or take a good teaching job at his alma mater? Meanwhile, to support themselves, he and Sheri find work crewing on Captain Russell McGrady's scallop boat. On board is Russell's mate Frank Hussey, a Nantucket local in his late 50s who looks and acts as if he stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Sheri, neglected by the preoccupied Kevin, takes a shine to Frank; one night, when the two run aground on a shoal, they sleep together and are discovered in the morning by Kevin and Russell, who have come searching for them. The rest of the novel is a skillful exposÉ of the effect of Sheri and Frank's mini-tryst on a small, closed-in community. Frank's wife Suzanne is so hurt that she knows her relationship with him will be forever changed, yet she accepts him back. Kevin must finally face up to his neglect of Sheri (and his own emerging conviction that he will never make a concert violinist). And Russell McGrady and his own wife, Mary, come to understand the value of a good, strong marriage. Despite an unnecessarily melodramatic end and some simplistic plotting and characterization: a first novel of sneaky power and grace.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1988
Publisher: Walker