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The Narrowboat Summer di Anne Youngson
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The Narrowboat Summer (edizione 2021)

di Anne Youngson (Autore)

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
809269,539 (4.07)6
Titolo:The Narrowboat Summer
Autori:Anne Youngson (Autore)
Info:Flatiron Books (2021), 325 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca

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Three Women and a Boat di Anne Youngson

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This delightful summer read is blend of a pilgrimage story and a little bit of epistolary book, though the "epistles' take the form of phone calls. Three women in late middle age, heretofore unknown to one another, are at turning points in their lives. Eve is an engineer who finds herself out of work. Sally is a homemaker who had decided to leave a loveless marriage, and Anastasia is facing a health crisis. Anastasia needs someone to get her narrowboat to the repair shop while she gets treatment for lung cancer. Eve and Sally volunteer to take on the narrowboat over 300 miles of canals while Anastasia uses Eve's apartment during her treatment.

As Sally and Eve learn the ropes of boating Britain's historic canals, they do the kind of reflection that only comes with travel and separation from one's everyday routines. The author does a brilliant job of sharing those reflections as they learn to appreciate their differences as well as developing insight into themselves.

A number of other characters enter to create a community. The story is reminiscent of the Mason Missouri books by Elizabeth Berg ([The Story of Arthur Truluv], [Night of Miracles], [The Confession Club]) I suspect that Maureen Corrigan might classify this one as geezer lit....and that's okay with me. ( )
  tangledthread | Aug 1, 2021 |
This book about three unlikely friends was kind of charming, slow, and peaceful (like the canals). Three middle-aged women are each at a crossroads in their life and they bond over the course of a summer. Two of them navigate the inland waterways on Number One while its owner is laid up in hospital. Lives are reflected upon and bonds are formed. (That sounds cheesy; it kind of is.)

The story is not that compelling, and this is because despite some attempts at nuance, the three main characters are all kind of cliches in their various ways. But I was happy just to go along with them. There are so few books set on the canals and it's a pleasure to find one that evokes that well. Youngson did a really nice job evoking the mode of travel. Not just the sights and sounds of the canal but the actual bodily feeling of navigating and being on a narrowboat are well written.

I don't think it will be a particularly memorable book, but it was enjoyable while it lasted. ( )
  sansmerci | May 28, 2021 |
The Narrowboat Summer - Youngson
Audio performance by Helen Lloyd
4 stars

This was a nice vacation. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the narrowboat lifestyle. I had to accept the unlikely meeting and even more unlikely friendship of three different women, but it was relaxing to read a book about people who take care of each other. I loved the female curmudgeon, Anastasia, and her dog, NOah. I liked them enough to overlook my minor complaints with character development and dialog. ( )
  msjudy | Apr 16, 2021 |
This quiet, charming book was a welcome reprieve from the heavy reading I’ve been doing.

Eve has just been fired from her long-time job with an engineering firm. Sally has just walked away from her marriage. The two meet each other and another woman, Anastasia, who makes her home on a canal boat. Anastasia needs to receive some medical care in Uxbridge so Eve and Sally agree to take the boat to Chester for maintenance. As they navigate the canals (and locks and tunnels), Eve and Sally embark on a journey of self-discovery.

The inciting incident requires some suspension of disbelief. The meeting of the three women is certainly a chance event. Two women who don’t know each other agree to travel together for weeks and navigate a canal boat for not a short distance? Anastasia entrusts her beloved boat to two strangers with no experience of boats? I remember being taught that the inciting incident is the one event that can rely on chance or coincidence if it brings together people to develop theme. That’s definitely the case in this book.

The book brings together Eve and Sally who are opposites in many ways. Eve has always been the one in control, whereas Sally feels she has not really had any control over her life. The canal trip forces them to slow down and gives them time to reflect on their lives. They face new challenges and come to realize they have abilities they didn’t know they had. They take up new interests and a friendship develops between them.

Anastasia is an unforgettable character. Fierce and fiercely independent, she has to learn to accept help from others. Her bluntness is off-putting, but the reader gradually sees new depths to her character. The other characters the women encounter (especially Trompette, Arthur, and Owen) are all distinct. Each has an interesting backstory. Even Noah, Anastasia’s dog, provides humour and suspense.

The novel is about the power of friendship and about second chances. The women are middle-aged but they learn and grow. The challenges they face in an unfamiliar situation bring them together, despite their opposite personalities. They also realize they are capable people who can create new lives, hopefully lives that will bring them more contentment.

Reading this book is like taking a leisurely canal journey. It has its challenges, some funny and some more serious, but overall is enjoyable. Though not action-packed, the novel is thoughtful. And its overarching message is that we are all extraordinary in ordinary ways. I listened to this as an audiobook on my morning walks and it was a perfect way to begin each day.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog ( and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | Apr 3, 2021 |
This is a very gentle read and I mean that in the best possible way.
Dear Anne Youngson, I would like to officially request a book two. I really hated to leave this group of friends. ( )
  Mnpose | Mar 10, 2021 |
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