Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge

Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Gouge book Cover, spine, pile of books, book stack, novel, Book Recommendation

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I came across this book used and almost left it on the shelf.  The title drew me in initially, and the blue cover.  The somewhat unusual author’s note gave me pause. I wondered if the plot might be thin.  The book was worn enough that I wasn’t sure how long it would hold up, anyway.  I laid it back on the shelf, but picked it up again.  It was cheap (I don’t remember how cheap), it had Green Dolphin in the title, and the cover was blue.  I love the ocean, and anyone who loves the ocean and books would have done as I did.  What did I have to lose?

Since then, I’ve read this book several times.  It’s an atmospheric book, with magic in its corners.  The nature descriptions are often resplendent, and are not necessarily descriptions of nature as much as one of the characters…If the wind rattles a window, the person noticing it is likely “rattled…”  In this work, the longings of a person’s soul are often shown in their surroundings.  That said, if you don’t enjoy lengthy descriptions of this sort and skim here and there, I won’t tell!

The story unfolds from childhood to old age, showing how the characters stagnate or grow, agonize, fail.  They fumble along in a way that makes them very real.  They are prejudiced, selfish, loving, sublime–and all this in a juxtaposition of the swirl of human thought and longing to the stirring power of nature all around.   The main characters are two sisters and the man they love (which is why I wondered if the plot would be thin), but in a way that part of the story is also just a backdrop to the larger concerns of life.  There are many other interesting characters, with as many themes and thought points are there are people.  One idea that I really pondered was that if we truthfully acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses, we might take a moment where we showed our strength (as William shows his kindliness to Marianne) and use it as the inspiration to overcome our weaknesses.

There is a thing in this book that is my favorite thing about it. I love the ways this book shows what goes into all the ways that humans can love.  And with that, I hope you find yourself at home in your own country.  You’ll have to read the book to know what I’m referring to-Perhaps.


This Abibliophobe