Pocketful of Names: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Pocketful of Names by Joe
Coomer is a fabulous book.  Hannah lives
alone on the small Maine island she inherited from her Uncle Arno, a
fisherman.  Hannah believes her art is
the driving force of her life.  She is
confident that she creates art for the sake of art alone, that she is not
influenced by praise or rejections. She believes she is truly independent, not
needing approval or help from anyone. 
Her perceptions are about to be challenged.  Life starts to change with the arrival of a
dog from the sea.  Soon people are coming
to her small island too.  Over the course
of a year she begins to realize that needing others is not weakness.  Joe Coomer writes with humor and beauty.

— Deon Stonehouse

Fall '08/Winter '09 Reading Group List

“Living alone on an island in Maine, Hannah is comfortable with her solitary life, convinced she doesn't need anyone or anything but her art. One day a dog washes up on Hannah's island and makes himself at home. When people start following, her isolation begins to crumble, and all her assumptions about life, art, and the need for connection are challenged. Coomer perfectly captures the spirit of an independent woman.”
— Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR


"Coomer is clearly an author of serious talent." —The Washington Post Book World

Inhabiting an island off the coast of Maine left to her by her great-uncle Arno, Hannah finds her life as a dedicated and solitary artist rudely interrupted one summer when a dog, matted with feathers and seaweed, arrives with the tide. He is only the first of a series of unexpected visitors and is soon followed by a teenager running from an abusive father, a half sister in trouble, a mainland family, and a forlorn trapped whale. In the engrossing drama that unfolds, Hannah's love of her island solitude competes with her instinctive compassion for others.

In this booksellers' favorite and two-time Book Sense pick, now available in paperback, Joe Coomer offers the rugged yet stunning beauty of Maine and the lobstermen and their families who are dependent on the sea for survival. Pocketful of Names is a deeply human tale about the unpredictability of nature, art, family, and the flotsam and jetsam that comprise our lives.

About the Author

Joe Coomer is the author of several novels, most recently One Vacant Chair. He lives in Texas, where he is an antiques dealer, and Maine, where he restores historic homes and boats.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781555974619
ISBN-10: 1555974619
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: May 1st, 2007
Pages: 304
Language: English