Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Join Now
PetHero: Save 25% at the vet; get toys, treats, and a 24/7 lost pet conciergeLearn More


Compass Rose

Posted on

John Casey | Compass Rose by John Casey

Compass Rose

Current Status:
In Season
John Casey

We gave it an A-

When I heard John Casey had written a sequel to his splendid 1989 novel, Spartina — which The New York Times hailed as ”possibly the best American novel about going fishing since The Old Man and the Sea, maybe even Moby-Dick” — I was dismayed. Sequels, I think we can agree, are not necessarily a good thing. Would Casey evoke his irascible seaman Dick Pierce, and his windy stretch of Rhode Island shore, with the same tender skill in Compass Rose? Not to worry. Dick has faded, but Casey has brought the women in his life to the forefront: his wife, May; his girlfriend, Elsie; and especially his prickly teenage daughter, Rose. (That Rose is Elsie’s daughter, not May’s, drives much of the story.) Though the plot is a bit overcluttered — Casey has stuffed it with deaths, land grabs, scandals, mother-daughter feuds — the characters shine so brightly that it’s easy to forgive a little narrative excess. This isn’t a great novel, like Spartina. But it’s a very good one. A?

See all of this week’s reviews