YARMOUTH — The late Bass Harbor author Ruth Moore’s 1962 gritty novel “Second Growth” is now back in print for the first time in nearly five decades, increasing the number of classic Moore novels reissued by Islandport Press to four, as the independent book publisher moves to reestablish the standing and visibility of a woman who stands as one of Maine’s greatest novelists.
Moore was born and raised on Gotts Island off Mount Desert Island. Her second novel, “Spoonhandle,” in the company of George Orwell, was on the New York Times bestseller list for 14 weeks in 1946.
When originally published, The Saturday Review called the book “an honest piece of storytelling. In the rugged company of Faulkner, Caldwell and Steinbeck. Ruth Moore holds her own without seeming to raise her voice in strident urgency.”
“Second Growth” follows the lives of Hillville residents and the sometimes sullen, resentful violence that pervades the down-and-out town. Moore successfully explores a dramatic range of human experience from the innocence of childhood to the wisdom of age, from the sweetness of young love to the sorrow of death in both body and spirit. In this once prosperous Maine town, everyone is now desperately looking for the revitalization spawned by a second growth.
Last year, Maine-based Islandport Press acquired the rights to the Ruth Moore catalog – which includes 14 novels – and has been redesigning and reissuing many of those books, including “The Weir,” “Spoonhandle” and “Candlemas Bay.” The publishing house also announced it will create new works, including “Voices off the Ocean,” a collection of writing from Moore’s books, and has launched an online presence for Moore at www.ruthmooremaine.com.
“Ruth Moore is not only a Maine treasure, but a critical literary voice for the state of Maine and the coast,” said Dean Lunt, editor-in-chief at Islandport and the editor of “Voices.” “We are thrilled to begin playing a role in reviving interest in Moore’s work and her life story and expanding her reach into the literary world.
Islandport Press is an award-winning publisher dedicated to stories rooted in the essence and sensibilities of New England.