The Outer Beach

The Outer Beach

A Thousand-mile Walk on Cape Cod's Atlantic Shore

Book - 2017 | First edition
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Those who have encountered Cape Cod- or merely dipped into an account of its rich history- know that it is a singular place. And nowhere within its borders is this truth more vivid and dramatic than along the forty miles of Atlantic coast -what Finch has always known as the Outer Beach. The essays here represent nearly fifty years and a cumulative thousand miles of walking along the storied edge of the Cape's legendary arm. Finch considers evidence of nature's fury: shipwrecks, beached whales, towering natural edifices, ferocious seaside blizzards. And he ponders everyday human interactions conducted in its environment with equal curiosity, wit, and insight: taking a weeks-old puppy for his first beach walk; engaging in a nocturnal dance with one of the Cape's fabled lighthouses; stumbling, unexpectedly, upon nude sunbathers; or even encountering out-of-towners hoping an Uber will fetch them from the other side of a remote dune field. Throughout these essays, Finch pays tribute to the Outer Beach's impressive literary legacy, meditates on its often-tragic history, and explores the strange, mutable nature of time near the ocean. But lurking behind every experience and observation- both pivotal and quotidian- is the essential question that the beach beckons every one of its pilgrims to confront: How do we accept our brief existence here, caught between overwhelming beauty and merciless indifference? Finch's affable voice, attentive eye, and stirring prose will be cherished by the Cape's staunch lifers and erstwhile visitors alike, and strike a resounding chord with anyone who has been left breathless by the majestic, unrelenting beauty of the shore.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780393081305
Branch Call Number: 508.74492 FIN 2017
Characteristics: xvi, 327 pages : map ; 25 cm


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PimaLib_NormS Oct 25, 2017

Cape Cod, the flexing arm-shaped peninsula sticking out from the eastern side of Massachusetts, has a rich literary history. Robert Finch adds to that with “The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk on Cape Cod’s Atlantic Shore”. He lovingly and with great detail expresses the depth of his feelings for this particular place with this collection of essays, written over the course of a half century of living on the Cape. One can almost feel the insistent ocean breezes and see the frequent changes in the Cape’s topography over time due to the awesome, relentless power of the tides and the waves and the wind. The Cape is environmentally fragile, and some of it is protected by the Cape Cod National Seashore. Nature’s destructiveness is often on display here, yet it is wonderfully resilient. Robert Finch’s alluring descriptions of both the mundane and the magical happenings on the Cape, made me feel as if I have experienced them in person. But, sadly, I have not. His insightful observations and specific memories of the Atlantic side of Cape Cod, known as the Outer Beach are not mine, but after reading “The Outer Beach”, it feels as though they are.

Jul 29, 2017

This is probably a better book to buy than to borrow, because you want to read a few essays from time to time, rather than read the whole book at one time. You don't need to be familiar with Cape Cod to enjoy the book.

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