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WRITING on the Edge

by Stephan Lee

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ver h er d eca d es - l o n g w r it in g ca r eer , Luanne Rice ’77 has amassed a large, devoted following. Most of her 31 novels feature breezy titles, like “Dream Country” and “The Perfect Summer,” with covers featuring softly hued images of young women staring off toward the sea. Those perusing bookshelves might be quick to classify them as “beach reads,” but with those pastel-colored sunsets come turbulence and unpredictability. It’s the prevailing metaphor of Rice’s fiction — and her life. Rice herself projects the serenity of a calm sea. Gulls wail in the background as she reminisces about her life from inside the beach cottage in Old Lyme, Conn., that her grandparents built in 1938. It’s a scene pulled straight from her novels — readers will recognize the half moon-shaped Point O’ Woods Beach as the fictional Hubbard’s Point, the setting of several of the novels that define the most prolific part of Rice’s career. She has a way of drawing you in like an old friend, and even the sound of her smooth, measured voice is soothing. But there’s a roiling intensity to Rice’s inner life, and that placid exterior belies the razor-sharp intelligence she packs into her work. From her debut novel, “Angels All Over Town,” to her most recent, “The Lemon Orchard,” her characters struggle with family and loss, all the while being drawn inevitably to the ocean. “I’m interested in the way people live on the edge, the borderline. There’s something about stepping off that intrigues me,” she says. “Also, there’s hardship and beauty — the light and the tides and the currents of things that are swept in and swept away.” Continued next page >

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CC: Connecticut College Magazine  

Fall 2014

CC: Connecticut College Magazine  

Fall 2014