Body Surfing: A Novel, by Anita Shreve and Lolita Davidovitch (Narrator)
No! This is not a book about body surfing. It is a beautiful story of a woman named Sydney who is seeking what she believes to be a perfect life -- to love and to be loved, to share moments of pleasure with the right companion. She had all that on two occasions, being married twice. Each started happily, but both ended sadly, leaving her heartbroken for years. Now approaching thirty years old, she is fearful of getting involved again since she is both a divorcee and a widow. When she takes a summer job as a tutor for 18-year-old Julie, she finds herself living in the family's beach house on the coast of New Hampshire. Mr. and Mrs. Edwards also have 2 sons, both much older than Julie. Ben, 35, is a corporate realtor, and Jeff, 31, is a political science professor at MIT. Both compete for Sydney's affection, causing her to be swallowed up and tossed out of the family circle, much like a body surfer challenging the waves of a powerful sea.
Anita Shreve uses her excellent descriptive words so well that they seem magical. The listener senses standing with Sydney on the porch, hearing the sound of the waves as they roll up on the beach, feeling the evening breeze as it riffles through her hair and tasting the salt on her tongue. Lolita Davidovitch, the movie actress, does a remarkable job in bringing each character alive, each with individual voices defining their personalities. Hearing her narration, the listener can sense the love in Mr. Edwards and see his sparkling eyes as he talks about his rose garden. It is also possible to imagine the tightness in Mrs. Edwards' face as she coldly addresses Sydney, not bothering to conceal her dislike for the tutor.
As always, Anita Shreve has created an engrossing
story with sympathetic characters who exhibit the normal strengths
and weaknesses of us all. Her beautiful, spare prose paints
a landscape that is easy to slip into as the plot unfolds.
Between her masterful use of the language and Lolita Davidovitch's
skilled narration, this is a memorable audio book that will
appeal to a wide audience. The story will stand on its own,
but factor in the history of Shreve's familiar beach house
and her provocative characters, and the book becomes outstanding.