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Outer Banks

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Anne Rivers Siddons begins her novel OUTER BANKS with a reference to the shipwrecks which have occurred with such frequency along the coast of North Carolina. Looking back from her forty-second year, clearly Kate Lee Abrams considers herself such a casualty. As a young woman, she lost her father, her dreams, and her lover; later, her only child died, and now she has cancer. When she goes to meet three college friends at the beach house on the Outer Banks where they were once so happy, Kate cannot guess that the reunion will enable her to banish the ghosts of her youth, to resume a friendship which has always brought her joy, and to recapture her love of life.

In her novels, Siddons dramatizes universal problems by placing them within a specific context of time and place. Whether they live in the Atlanta of PEACHTREE ROAD or attend Alabama’s Randolph University, as in HEARTBREAK HOTEL and OUTER BANKS, Siddons’ complex, believable characters find themselves dealing with changes in their societies and in themselves. Siddons is an impressive writer because she can understand both those bewildered people whose sense of identity depends on the status quo and the rebels or outsiders who most benefit from change.