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Vintage, 1997
In this mesmerizing novel, Susanna Moore displays a naturalist's eye for the landscape of her native Hawaii and an uncanny sensitivity to the despairing love between mothers and daughters. Lily Shields grows up amid the fragrance of night-jasmine and burning sugar cane, and the heady atmosphere of her mother's madness. For if Anna Shields is an island unto herself--fragile, glamorous, and fearfully needy--Lily is the bridge that connects her to reality.

But now Lily is a young woman and a mother herself, self-exiled from Hawaii but still attached to Anna's tragedy. And as she tries to untangle those threads of love and loyalty, Moore gives us a novel of shimmering beauty and sadness. My Old Sweetheart is a small classic, perfectly formed and mysteriously wise.


Kirkus ReviewsOctober 1982
himmering with a siren resonance, this sleek, arresting first novel--set in the lush, pristine landscape of 1950s Hawaii--explores the fantastic depths of a woman's obsession with her lost, all-too-vividly remembered mother...With luxurious imagery and prose that sparkles and snaps like sea grass: one of the year's most alluring, impressive fiction debuts. "

The New York Times, November 1982
"''My Old Sweetheart'' is filled with memorable scenes...They also make one look forward to whatever Miss Moore will write when she gets her narrative technique under more secure control."

"Susanna Moore's novel astonished me--one of those brilliant objects that come along only rarely, all light on clear water, and then one realizes the faster currents underneath, the terrible swiftness of sex and time. "
-- Joan Didion