One sunny morning in 1969, Frances Ellerby finds herself in a place called Stiltsville, a community of houses built on pilings in the middle of Biscayne Bay. It's the first time the Atlanta native has been out on the open water, and she's captivated. On the dock of a stilt house, with the dazzling Miami skyline in the distance, she meets the house's owner, Dennis DuVal—and a new future reveals itself.
Turning away from her quiet, predictable life back home, Frances moves to Miami to be with Dennis. Over time, she earns the confidence of his wild-at-heart sister and the approval of his oldest friend. Frances and Dennis marry and have a child—but rather than growing complacent about their good fortune, they continue to face the challenges of intimacy in the complicated city they call home.
With Stiltsville, Susanna Daniel weaves the beauty, violence, and humanity of Miami's coming-of-age with an enduring story of a marriage's beginning, maturity, and heartbreaking demise.
“A deeply engrossing tale of love, family, friendship, and motherhood, Stiltsville is both an elegantly crafted work of art and a great read. The love story effortlessly spans decades, and the characters are as real and vivid as the novel’s South Florida backdrop. Susanna Daniel is an extraordinary writer.”
“A quietly remarkable novel. . . . Reminiscent of Marilynn Robinson’s Home.”
“Both structurally and in tone, the book recalls linked short-story collections such as Alice Munro’s The Beggar Maid, following one character chronologically through a long period. Each piece can stand alone, but the whole is enriched when they are read together. . . . Lovely.”
“I fell in love in the opening pages of Stiltsville. There was nothing I wanted more than to spend time in the company of these vivid characters and keep reading Susanna Daniel’s lovely, lucid prose.”
“I fell in love with Susanna Daniel’s characters, Dennis and Frances. The dialogue, the pacing, and the tenderness between this married couple is so authentic and true. But it’s the setting of Florida, and especially the place that is Stiltsville, that literally elevates this story to magic.”
“In this wise and luminous novel, Susanna Daniel does something truly rare: she creates characters so real that you feel they’ve entered the very room where you sit reading. Before you know it, they’ve also entered your heart, and are breaking it…. A work of tremendous maturity, empathy and humanity.”
“Set against the wild and changeable landscape of South Florida, Stiltsville is a wise and loving portrait of a marriage, written with keen insight into the ways two lives grow together over the years. This is a rare first novel. Susanna Daniel writes beautifully of matters of the heart.”
“This soulful novel will inspire you to reflect on your own definitions of house, home, and what really makes a couple close.”
“A wise and loving portrait of a marriage….Susanna Daniel writes beautifully of matters of the heart.”
— Jennifer Haigh, author of The Condition
Against a vivid South Florida background, Susanna Daniel’s Stiltsville offers a gripping, bittersweet portrait of a marriage—and a romance—that deepens over the course of three decades. Called “an elegantly crafted work of art and a great read” by Curtis Sittenfeld (American Wife, Prep) Stiltsville is a stunningly assured debut novel sure to appeal to readers of Anita Shreve, Sue Miller, and Annie Dillard, or anyone enchanted by the sultry magic of Miami.