Led by matriarch Kathleen, a charismatic, cruel, and complicated woman now in her 80s, the Kelleher family has spent decades of summers at their Maine summer property. Maine alternates chapters between four women in the Irish Catholic family as they converge at the summer house and confront each other. While the book’s title is Maine, there are also many references to Boston history and locations. Maine is a good book to take on your own summer vacation, with a little more substance than the average beach book.
“I have never stayed at this cottage in Maine, or any cottage in Maine, but no matter: I now feel I know what it’s like being in a family that comes to the same place summer after summer, unpacking their familiar longings, slights, shorthand conversation, and ways of being together. J. Courtney Sullivan’s Maine is evocative, funny, close-quartered, and highly appealing.” —Meg Wolitzer, author of The Uncoupling
“Ah, family. Isn’t it satisfying to leave your own briefly behind to drop in on another—and see how thoroughly they bungle it all up? This is the pleasure of Maine, J. Courtney Sullivan’s second novel, which delves into the secrets and simmering emotions of one dysfunctional family over the course of a single summer month. . . . The dialogue sizzles as the tension between the women’s love and anger toward one another tightens. . . . You don’t want the novel to end.” —Lily King, The New York Times Book Review