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Tidal Flats

Cynthia Newberry Martin is a tremendous writer, with a Woolfian talent for taking the full measure of small moments. Her work is both subtle and revelatory, and I’ve been waiting a long time for this book.” ―Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers and Music for Wartime.

In her debut, Tidal Flats (Bonhomie Press, September 2019), Cynthia Newberry Martin explores a marriage in crisis, the possibility of being able to give all of yourself to another and the mark parents leave on their children.

Mary Cassatt Miller falls in love with Graham, a famous photojournalist who chronicles tragedies and life in war torn Afghanistan. Cass wants a husband to come to, but doesn’t want to give up her career and life in Atlanta. He wants the adventure and sense of purpose to showing the world with a photograph of what happens during times of turmoil and war. Graham wants children and she doesn’t, because of the neglect she had a child from her parents and doesn’t want to continue the cycle of pain and heartbreak.

Graham finally agrees to give up his career, for Cass and their marriage, since both face temptations home and abroad from other people. But then he is given another reason for leaving for an important job abroad and Cass has to find out what she wants most of all in life.

 Praise for Tidal Flats:

“Exquisite! A gorgeously observed account of one woman’s life, lived in our era of global reach, of international obligations, of domestic worries and domestic triumphs too. Cynthia Newberry Martin has found the perfect story through which to share her rare wisdom. Brava!” ―Robin Black, author of Life Drawing

“Cynthia Newberry Martin’s TIDAL FLATS is written out of the rough wisdom that knows that love is a peculiar, dynamic force, and all we can do against it is to be alert and open and awake. This is a story of making and unmaking and making again, with no neat resolutions or pat answers. It’s a beautiful book.” ― Paul Lisicky, author of Later and The Narrow Door

“For once, a novel of big ideas that is also filled with bold and uncommon events. In Tidal Flats, Cynthia Newberry Martin, a storyteller at the top of her game, creates a universe of betrayal, compassion, and regret in which two people’s love for each other is surpassed only by their loyalty to their convictions. I was glued to the page.” ―Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

“With deep insight and unending sensitivity, Cynthia Newberry Martin shows us to ourselves: our penchant for choosing lives that will crack us open, our resilience when our deepest fears come true. In scenes both vivid and emotionally complex, Tidal Flats excavates the interior of a long term marriage, how it demands the impossible, offers the unimaginable. This book is a stunning, heart-expanding debut. ―Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country

I admire Martin’s capacity to render her characters with the dignity of complexity. And I double-admire that she takes that same care with her settings, turning place into a player that has its own “human” heart. The novel swirls with light and love. ―Joshua Mohr, author of Sirens and All This Life


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CYNTHIA NEWBERRY MARTIN holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has served as the Review Editor for Contrary Magazine and the Writing Life Editor for Hunger Mountain. Her website features the How We Spend Our Days series, over a decade of essays by writers on their lives. She grew up in Atlanta and now lives in Columbus, Georgia, with her husband, and in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in a little house by the water. Tidal Flats is her first novel.