For the Oliviera family – mum Carol, daughters Angel and Marie – autumn 2009 in the once-prosperous beach town of Ashaway, Rhode Island is the worst of times. Money is tight, Carol can’t stay away from unsuitable men, Angel’s world is shattered when she learns her long-time boyfriend Myles has been cheating on her with classmate Birdy, and Marie is left to fend for herself. As Angel and Birdy, both consumed by the intensity of their feelings for Myles, careen towards a collision both tragic and inevitable, the loyalties of Carol and Marie will be tested in ways they could never have foreseen.
Stewart O’Nan’s expert hand has crafted a crushing and propulsive novel about sisters, mothers and daughters, and the desperate ecstasies of love and the terrible things we do for it. Both swoony and haunting, Ocean State is a masterful work by one of the great storytellers of everyday American life.