To the New Owners: A Martha's Vineyard Memoir
Madeleine Blais (Author)
DescriptionIn the 1970s, Madeleine Blais's in-laws purchased a vacation house on Martha's Vineyard for the exorbitant sum of $80,000. A little more than two miles down a poorly marked one-lane dirt road, the house was better termed a shack--it had no electricity or modern plumbing, the roof leaked, and mice had invaded the walls. It was perfect. Sitting on Tisbury Great Pond--well-stocked with oysters and crab for foraged dinners--the house faced the ocean and the sky, and though it was eventually replaced by a sturdier structure, the ethos remained the same: no heat, no TV, and no telephone. Instead, there were countless hours at the beach, meals cooked and savored with friends, nights talking under the stars, until in 2014, the house was sold. To the New Owners is Madeleine Blais's charming, evocative memoir of this house, and of the Vineyard itself--from the history of the island and its famous visitors to the ferry, the pie shops, the quirky charms and customs, and the abundant natural beauty. But more than that, this is an elegy for a special place. Many of us have one place that anchors our most powerful memories. For Blais, it was the Vineyard house--a retreat and a dependable pleasure that also measured changes in her family. As children were born and grew up, as loved ones aged and passed away, the house was a constant. And now, the house lives on in the hearts of those who cherished it.
Atlantic Monthly Press
July 04, 2017
5.8 X 1.1 X 8.3 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author
Madeleine Blais was a reporter for the Miami Herald for years before joining the faculty of the School of Journalism at the University of Massachusetts. She is the author of In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle, Uphill Walkers, and The Heart Is an Instrument, a collection of her journalism. Madeleine Blais lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Praise for To the New Owners "[An] evocative memoir . . . Blais comes to her subject with two major advantages: She's a deft and witty Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and her husband's parents were well-connected powerhouses . . . To the New Owners sparkles when Blais focuses on her family's frequently funny experiences . . . Blais pointedly showcases the simpler, more modest and, alas, rapidly disappearing old Vineyard she loves. Unfortunately, the changes she mourns are happening everywhere. Which makes records like this all the more valuable."--Washington Post "For anyone who has ever been curious about life on the Vineyard, or fantasized about settling in, Blais offers a diverting portrait . . . Blais has stitched together [the memoir] from the writings and stories of others, as well as her own wistful, often wry observations . . . Throughout, Blais exhibits a veteran reporter's instinct for even-handedness."--Boston Globe "A bittersweet ode to a Martha's Vineyard home . . . The chapter on formidable Vineyard doyenne and Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham is the most charming in the book, positively luminous with nostalgic affection. And the broader canvas of Vineyard life--the shops, the storms, the wry local humor--is painted with exactly the kind of skill and evocation readers would expect from the author of the bestselling In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle."--Christian Science Monitor "To the New Owners is a love letter to good times spent on Martha's Vineyard . . . Friends, some of them famous, put in cameo appearances and broaden the scope of this family memoir to something akin to a cultural history. Blais is a vivacious storyteller."--Omnivoracious "Witty and charming . . . To the New Owners is full of beguiling stories and memories . . . A deeply felt memoir."--National Book Review "A highly readable valentine to a much loved [dwelling] . . . We find fascinating portraits of such eminences as the late Katherine Graham and the couples' good friend, the writer Phil Caputo."--John Greenya, Washington Times "Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Blais affectionately recounts the summers she spent since the 1970s on Martha's Vineyard . . . Blais beautifully documents summers shared with family and friends enjoying unhurried days spent reading, visiting the quirky island towns, and basking in the natural environment . . . A bittersweet account of a wonderfully unplugged summer life."--Publishers Weekly "The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle (1994) pays tribute with affection and humor to [a] shabby but supremely well-located Martha's Vineyard house . . . Keeping nostalgia in witty check, while occasionally allowing it to shape a lyrical portrait of the place, she takes the reader on a verbal tour of the island . . . Blais fills her book with sentences to savor and memories so clear they seem to become the reader's own."--Booklist "A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author gives a familial face to the mystique of Martha's Vineyard in this unfailingly charming reminiscence of summers spent on the island . . . An engaging tale . . . Much gentle humor and a certain elegiac sweetness . . . Touching."--Kirkus Reviews "[Blais's] voice is intimate, loving, but the opposite of sentimental. She knows how to tell a story by letting the story tell itself . . . All of us living through Trumpworld are searching for a Martha's Vineyard of the mind where we can get our bearings. Maddy has given us that place."--Joseph Ellis "Blais writes with eye, mind, and heart in equal measure. I laughed aloud, teared up at least once a chapter, and sighed with recognition throughout. Coming to the end was as bittersweet as Labor Day."--George Howe Colt, author of The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home "Madeleine Blais knows the secret of a superb memoir: a wry sense of humor and an honest sense of gratitude leaven the inevitable pain of To the New Owners. Anyone who has lived in a house and had to leave it will laugh and be moved by this brilliantly written book."--Anita Shreve, author of The Stars are Fire "What a pleasure--to be ferried to this storied island by an outsider-turned-insider, reporting so wittily and affectionately from the front lines of marriage, in-law-hood, real estate, celebrity neighbors and literary houseguests. How did To the New Owners manage to make me nostalgic for a place I hardly know? All credit to the heart, mind, and prize-winning pen of Madeleine Blais."--Elinor Lipman, author of On Turpentine Lane and The Inn at Lake Devine "Anything Madeleine Blais writes, I want to read, and know that I will read it with a smile. In To the New Owners she again reminds me why. This is a funny, warm and illuminating book that, like all of her work, finds the universal in the particular. It is about the meaning of place in all of our lives."--David Maraniss, author of Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story Praise for In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle A National Bestseller Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction "Beautifully written . . . a celebration of girls and athletics."--USA Today "Joyful . . . The reader gets a real sense of these girls and their dreams."--New York Times Book Review "Tender and upbeat . . . Wonderfully wry . . . A delight to read."--Philadelphia Inquirer "Flows like a novel . . . These basketball players show us what women can do when they work together as a team."--Atlanta Constitution "Engrossing . . . Better than the best pep talk, this book will kindle your pride in your own unique, feminine strength."--New Woman "A special book . . . Alternately funny, exciting and moving, the book should be enjoyed not only by girls and women who have played sports but also those who wanted to but let themselves be discouraged."--Publishers Weekly "A much-needed addition to sports writing for women . . . Extremely readable and compact . . . Compelling."--School Library Journal