With comparisons to Flaubert, Chekhov, and Faulkner, O. Henry Award-winner John Biguenet earned wide acclaim for his debut short-story collection, The Torturer's Apprentice. In his astonishing first novel, Oyster, he demonstrates the same mastery of craft and rigor of vision that led critics across the country to join Robert Olen Butler in praising this "important new writer."
Set on the Louisiana coast in 1957, Oyster recounts the engrossing tale of a deadly rivalry between two families. To avoid ruin after years of declining oyster crops, Felix and Mathilde Petitjean offer their young daughter, Therese, in marriage to 52-year-old Horse Bruneau, who holds the papers on their boat and house. Bruneau has spent his life as Felix's rival for both the Petitjeans' century-old oyster beds and, as we learn, Mathilde. But as Therese explains to Horse one night as they float in a pirogue alone in the marsh, "I don't get bought for the price of no damn boat."
The spiraling violence of Oyster and the seething passions behind it drive an unpredictable tale of murder and revenge in which two women and the men who desire them play out a drama as elemental and inexorable as a Greek tragedy.
black & white illustrations
black & white illustrations
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This review is for the first Ecco Paperback edition published in 2003, 291 pages. Ecco Press is an imprint of HarperCollins.
OYSTER by John Biguenet is the story of two rival families, the Bruneau's and the Petitjean's, who have the largest oyster leases in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Fifty-two year old Darryl Bruneau holds loans on Felix Petitjean's home and boat. Felix is on the verge of default. To avoid losing everything, Felix agrees to give Darryl his eighteen-year old daughter, Therese.
Oops, Therese has other ideas. She tells Darryl, "I don't get bought for the price on no damn boat." In one of the most engaging first chapters I've ever read, Therese irrevocably upsets her daddy's plans. Go to the bookstore and read the first seven pages of OYSTER by John Biguenet; I'll wager that you buy the book.
With masterful dialogue and just enough sensory detail, John Biguenet captures the sounds and feel of the oysterman's plight in the fall...
This book is a wonderful read. A very gripping story set in tn the delta area of Louisiana. One learns a lot about the practice of harvesting oysters in the midst of this story about two clashing families.
I love the writing and the stories he tells. He can give you the feeling that he has been there and has a real story to tell. For me he is one of the best writers on this part of Amrica. The story is wonderfull and you regret it is finished.
Richard H.K. Pohlmann
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