11/15/10

Stiltsville, by Susanna Daniel

3 1/2 stars

Stiltsville is a real place, a group of houses built on stilts in the middle of The Biscayne Bay in south FL. They were built in the 1930's, many of them being destroyed over the years by hurricanes. I believe there are 7 houses left that are being preserved. There are several websites about them. It is very interesting!
"After traveling from Atlanta to Miami for a friend's wedding, twenty-six year old Frances is introduced to Dennis, a handsome and charming Miami native. Francis and Dennis have a slow and steady courtship, and are married. They spend the next thirty years coming close and drifting apart and sharing their lives with one another within the tropical climate of Miami. The couple welcomes a much-loved daughter into their lives whose heartaches and joys become their own, and Dennis leaves his career after many unhappy years as a lawyer resulting in his family struggling through months of unemployment. Frances, though in love with Dennis, has a few moments of weakness with other men and learns that by giving herself to Dennis, she has shut the door to other possibilities and directions that her life could have taken. As Frances and Dennis develop close relationships with Dennis' family and friends, they discover that these relationships are put to the test when the unthinkable happens and the couple's marriage is tested by ravaging disease and infirmity. In this thirty year chronicle of a marriage, the uplifting joys and devastating sadness of two people are examined through the intense and compassionate lens of Francis' eyes."
Although this is a fiction story of a family from beginning to end, there are a lot of historical facts about Stiltsville. The story was good, interesting in parts, but I found the writing style very scattered. At times I had to look back to see where I was and to make sure I was on the right page. I felt that it jumped around too much and it took from the feeling of the story. This is a very beautiful story of 2 people falling in love, becoming a family right up until - the end. It was very sad at the end. But other than that I really felt no emotion for any of these people. I felt the emotional development was lacking and the character development was OK, but I was not "in love" with anyone. I also thought that although the Author did a great job describing Stiltsville, she did not do a very good job describing Miami.

Although lacking in depth and style - for me. I still think this was a worthwhile read about a place I never knew existed!


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2 comments:

  1. I need to learn more about this.

    Great review!

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  2. I believe a chapter of this book was published in the short story magazine One Story earlier this year. Can't say anything about the rest of the book, but the chapter I read was wonderful. And it really fit as a standalone piece.

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