Anita Shreve is the master of the subtle narrative. In Body Surfing, she gently draws you into the story;
before you know it, you are completely engrossed.
Twenty-nine-year-old Sydney is trying to find her way through the turmoil of
the past few years. She has been both divorced and widowed, and she doesn’t exactly know what direction her life should take.
She has put her graduate studies on hold for the time being and accepted a job as a tutor to Julie Edwards, a gorgeous but academically slow girl whose mother desperately wants her to get into a good college. The summer job is located in a New Hampshire house, right on the beach. (Shreve fans will note that this house has a rich history in her other novels and will appreciate the current “owner’s” research into the house’s illustrious past).
Sydney gets along beautifully with Mr. Edwards, a friendly architect who loves his children and working in his garden. But Mrs. Edwards gives Sydney the cold shoulder, bordering on rude. Everything about Sydney’s life changes when the Edwards’s adult sons, Jeff and Ben, show up for their vacation.
There are enough twists and turns in this book to keep the reader’s interest piqued throughout. Lolita Davidovich gives Sydney a wonderful voice and a poignant air to
her emotional journey. Evocative language from Shreve, coupled with Davidovich’s anguished voice, make for a heart-wrenching journey for the reader as well.
Body Surfing is a deeply touching novel, and its themes are not all apparent on the surface. It
is once the reader takes time to ponder the novel as a whole that the meanings come to light.