Posted by on Oct 5, 2012 in | 0 comments

A lonely teenage girl blossoms under the guidance of an older man during a summer on Cape Cod until a tragic event turns everything upside down.

Our NARRATOR is a middle-aged bachelor who leads a simple but contented life. He enjoys his long summers spent on Cape Cod. Having long since abandoned the “deeper feelings” of youth, his solitary life is altered when JOHANNA, a lonely teenage girl, is sent to care for him during a sudden illness. Johanna is a timid and utterly lonely orphan, sent to live with her relatives on a temporary basis. She blossoms under the tutelage of our narrator, learning for the first time about friendship, tenderness, and love. She even begins a wonderfully sweet and innocent romance with a local boy her age. Eventually, tragedy strikes when the boy dies in a boating accident. Our Narrator watches with growing concern as Johanna lives in a state of denial, reliving the events of the summer, backward, in her own mind. As he and a well-intentioned local priest struggle to help her, our narrator realizes that his true feelings for Johanna run much deeper. Esteemed author, Robert Nathan has woven a heartfelt story of innocence, tragedy, and, his most popular theme, the enduring power of love.

“Here is another of Robert Nathan’s porcelain miniatures, fashioned with the quiet perfection, the tenuousness of plot, and sure evocation of atmosphere which have become his hallmark… As a craftsman, Mr. Nathan is a delight. Sensitive to the rhythms of the spoken word and to nature, he knows how to carry them into his story with skill that seems effortless.”

Bradford Smith
Saturday Review of Literature