Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

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Synopsis

National Bestseller

In her stunning first novel, Amy and Isabelle, Elizabeth Strout evokes a teenager's alienation from her distant mother—and a parent's rage at the discovery of her daughter's sexual secrets. In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year-old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every glance. And eating, sleeping, and working side by side in the gossip-ridden mill town of Shirley Falls doesn't help matters. But when Amy is discovered behind the steamed-up windows of a car with her math teacher, the vast and icy distance between mother and daughter becomes unbridgeable.

As news of the scandal reaches every ear, it is Isabelle who suffers from the harsh judgment of Shirley Falls, intensifying her shame about her own secret past. And as Amy seeks comfort elsewhere, she discovers the fragility of human happiness through other dramas, from the horror of a missing child to the trials of Fat Bev, the community peacemaker. Witty and often profound, Amy and Isabelle confirms Elizabeth Strout as a powerful new talent.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Elizabeth Strout

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Elizabeth Strout is the author of Abide with Me, a national bestseller and Book Sense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. She is on the faculty of the MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and lives in New York City.
 
Published December 16, 2003 by Vintage. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Amy and Isabelle

Kirkus Reviews

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Strout nicely interweaves these elements within the record of Amy and Isabelle’s increasingly charged relationship.

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Publishers Weekly

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Stories of young women who suffer the sexual advances of an authority figure (in this case, a high school math teacher) seem ubiquitous these days. But in Strout's gently powerful, richly satisfying d

Nov 30 1998 | Read Full Review of Amy and Isabelle

Publishers Weekly

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Stories of young women who suffer the sexual advances of an authority figure (in this case, a high school math teacher) seem ubiquitous these days. But in Strout's gently powerful, richly satisfying d

Nov 30 1998 | Read Full Review of Amy and Isabelle

Book Reporter

Beginning with innocence and ending with betrayal, the relationship between Amy and Mr. Robertson can only have a tragic ending --- everyone knows this but Amy.

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Entertainment Weekly

Amy's secret belongs to her recent past, the school year gone by, and a certain substitute math teacher, while Isabelle's belongs to a time many years ago and a certain visiting family friend, but they are linked by the common thread of desire twined with shame.

Jan 15 1999 | Read Full Review of Amy and Isabelle

People

This is an impressive debut novel for Elizabeth Strout, a 43-year-old short-story writer (Redbook, Seventeen, The New Yorker) and Brooklyn resident whose style has been compared with Anne Tyler's and Alice Hoffman's.

Feb 08 1999 | Read Full Review of Amy and Isabelle

Sycamore Reviews

Amy and Isabelle is the story of a mother and her daughter, each "coming of age" in a different way over one long summer.

Feb 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Amy and Isabelle

Reader Rating for Amy and Isabelle
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