[amazon_image id="0061963089" link="true" target="_blank" size="large" ]Stiltsville: A Novel (P.S.)[/amazon_image]
[amazon_link id="0061963089" target="_blank" ]Stiltsville: A Novel[/amazon_link]
Author: Susanna Daniel
Publication Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Susanna Daniel deftly weaves together the portrait of a marriage, amidst the backdrop of the coming-of-age of Miami throughout the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s. The author explores the highs and lows of a long-term relationship and how a couple (Frances and Dennis) can beat the odds despite many forces that try to separate them. The reader is taken on a journey from the beginning of the relationship to the end, chronicling the major life events in between (the initial meeting, the first kiss, the marriage, the baby, the empty nest, the son-in-law, etc.).
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting with this novel. At times I felt that it meandered a bit and was waiting for something to happen. Other times, I couldn’t stop reading, waiting to see what was around the next corner. I guess that is what real-life marriage is really like. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and butterflies. It’s not all excitement and happiness and fearlessness. Marriage is hard work. The author lovingly captures the emotions of the characters and easily brings the reader into their lives, making us seem like a fly on the wall of a real marriage.
On the outskirts of the marriage is the coming-of-age of Miami, which I found fascinating. Topics such as the slow increase of drugs, murder, and Cuban immigrants are intricately weaved into conversations in the novel, which adds depth and character to the book. Miami is almost a character unto itself.
And then there is Stiltsville. Dennis’s father built a stilt house in the 1940′s, one of a handful of houses still remaining at the start of this novel (1969) after storms blow through each year. The house is an oasis for Frances and Dennis and is actually the place where they initially meet. It becomes the backdrop of their marriage; a place of refuge and relaxation; a place of hope and renewing. I could just picture them laying on the porches, dragging out mattresses to sleep under the stars each night. It sounds like paradise. It reminds me of my time spent on the Outer Banks each year and how I long for it when I’m away.
This is a beautifully written novel exploring a true-to-life marriage and the troubles it can face throughout all of life’s important struggles. I would definitely recommend it.
About Susanna Daniel
Susanna Daniel was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she spent much of her childhood at her family’s stilt house in Biscayne Bay. She is a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was a Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.
Her stories have been published in Harcourt’s Best New American Voices Anthology, One Story, Epoch, The Madison Review, and SignificantObjects.com.
Susanna lives with her husband and son in Madison, Wisconsin, where during the long winter she dreams of the sun and the sea, and of jumping off the stilt house porch at high tide. She is the author of the book Stiltsville, and is at work on a second novel.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through TLC Book Tours for my participation in a virtual book tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”