3.48 (6,836 ratings by Goodreads)
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On the tiny Breton island of Le Devin, life has remained almost unchanged for over a hundred years. For generations, two rival communities have fought for control of the island's only beach.

When Mado returns home ot her village after a ten-year absence, she finds it threatened, both by the tides and by a local entrepreneur. Worse, the community is suffering from an incurable loss of hope. Taking up the fight to transform the dying village, Mado must confront past tragedies, including the terrible secret that still haunts her father.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 148.6 x 214.1 x 18.5mm | 358.33g
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • maps
  • 0552998850
  • 9780552998857
  • 229,370

Review Text

"Her writing is consistently evocative, sensual and atmospheric"
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Review quote

"Everything about her style is aerodynamic ... Harris writes well, and charming, cinema-friendly images and cinematic mysteries abound ... stylish and economical" * Sunday Times * "Harris is a writer of tremendous charm, who creates a winning blend of fairy-tale morality and gritty realism" * Independent * "Her writing is consistently evocative, sensual and atmospheric" * Mail on Sunday * "Her latest gripping tale ... An intoxicating mix of documentary realism and enchanting romance" * Daily Express * "Coastliners is another triumph for Joanne Harris who shows that her powerful imagery is not exclusive to food and uses the coastline, sea and beaches to heighten the senses, drawing the reader further in with each incoming tide. A must-read" * Punch *
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About Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris is one of our best-loved and most versatile novelists. She first appeared on the scene with the bestselling Chocolat (made into an Oscar-nominated film with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp), which turned into the sensuous Lansquenet trilogy (with Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Monsieur le Cure). She has since written acclaimed novels in such diverse genres as fantasy based on Norse myth (Runemarks, Runelight, The Gospel of Loki), and the Malbry cycle of dark psychological thrillers (Gentlemen & Players, Blueeyedboy, and now Different Class).

Born in Barnsley, of an English father and a French mother, she spent fifteen years as a teacher before (somewhat reluctantly) becoming a full-time writer. In 2013, she was awarded an MBE. She lives in Yorkshire, plays bass in a band first formed when she was sixteen, works in a shed in her garden, spends far too much time online and occasionally dreams of faking her own death and going to live in Hawaii.
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Rating details

6,836 ratings
3.48 out of 5 stars
5 15% (1,049)
4 33% (2,264)
3 38% (2,611)
2 11% (748)
1 2% (164)

Our customer reviews

Following the death of her mother, Mado returns to her childhood home in Le Devin, a tiny island off the French coast. After ten years away, she finds that the generations-old rivalry between the two island communities - Les Salants and La Houssinière - remains strong. Morale is low in Les Salants, for it has suffered repeated floods while La Houssinière thrives with growing tourism. Cue a mysterious stranger, plans to revive Les Salants and some father-daughter tensions and the stage is set for drama. The evocative atmosphere is the most memorable aspect of the book. Descriptions of the dunes, the beach and island life suffuse the novel and you get a great sense of place. Strangely and disappointingly, while Mado is a painter, there are virtually no descriptions of her craft. If you've read Chocolat (which in my opinion is better), you'll have an idea of what you're in for. Like Chocolat, the male love interest is a handyman drifter character and you have a small community whose personal dramas give meat to the main plot. Many scenes in the book are just comprised of various conversations between the villagers. They're all pretty much introduced at once, and though it's hard to keep track of them initially, you catch on. Le Devin is inhabited with many colourful personalities, and for me, they walked the line between flawed-yet-loveable characters and flat stereotyped placeholders (thankfully I still liked them). The main character, Mado, is largely easy to relate to, but sometimes her feelings and motivations are left kind of vague, which is vaguely frustrating. Whether you like the characters will be a fairly subjective matter, albeit one which contributes greatly to whether you'll enjoy the novel. I had thought this would be a breezy kind of read, but it's actually the kind of book where everything just plods along until the end, when suddenly things happen. The ending feels rushed, as if the author suddenly realised she had to tie up all the family drama plotlines and had only a limited number of pages in which to do so. All those "reveals" made me feel like I was reading a mystery, which maybe this was. While things are ~resolved~, I wasn't completely satisfied as the outcome seemed like a bit of a cop-out; further, I would have liked certain aspects, such as Mado's relationship with her father, explored in greater depth. The rushed ending makes me disinclined to accept that it's ~supposed to be ambiguous~. Coastliners is the kind of book you'd read when you're looking for something comfortable and easy, something relaxing to pass the time. The writing is smooth and the environment appealing. While the plot and the characters can feel somewhat shallow at times, the entire thing is suffused with a great deal of charm, making it a pleasant experience more
by Alex
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