Anita Shreve, a bestselling novelist whose novels explored change, loss and troubled marriages, often against the background of a real historical event, died Thursday at her home in Newfields, NH. She was 71.
Her publisher, Alfred A Button, said the cause is cancer. Shreve was born on October 7, 1946. She was a freelance magazine writer and a high school teacher before she tried her hand at writing novels. Her first, "Eden Close," about a long-time committed crime and its consequences, was published in 1989.
"& # 39; Eden Close & # 39; is not a novel of suspense but a sense of sensitivity," wrote Carolyn Banks The New York Times. "His insights are astute, his language measured and insistent."
In a 2002 interview with The New York Times, Ms. Shreve said that some of her books, including "The Pilot's Wife," had been inspired, in a sense, by a particular white clapboard house at the Coast of Maine, near where she spent her summer vacation.
She did not own the house, and she had never actually been there, she said, but she took a picture of it, hung it over her desk and – depending on her story – moved the house – imagined people living there lived, and the events that changed their lives.
Often these events were based on actual events. "The pilot's wife," she said, sprouting as she heard a conversation about a plane crash at a party. "Sea Glass" (2002), another book that used the house as a backdrop, was juxtaposed with the Great Depression.
"Testimony" (2008) was inspired by real scandals with boarding schools. And their last book, "The Stars Are Fire," which was released last year, is based on devastating forest fires that hit Maine in 1947.
A complete obituary will appear soon.